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Amber Henrie
Performance Reviews
Alvin Ailey Dance Theater
New York City Center

Alvin Ailey Dance Company - IFE/My Heart, Reminiscin', Love Me or Leave Me

by Amber Henrie
December 17, 2005
New York City Center
130 West 56th Street
(Audience Entrance is on West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues)
(Entrance for Studios and Offices is on West 56th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues)
New York, NY 10019

Featured Dance Company:

Alvin Ailey Dance Theater
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
405 West 55th Street
New York, NY 10019
(212) 405-9000

Alvin Ailey Dance Company - IFE/My Heart, Reminiscin', Love Me or Leave Me

Amber Henrie
December 17, 2005

I love and admire Alvin Ailey Dance Company. In 2005 I saw five of the company's performances, the last being on December 17th at the New York City Center. Just the week before, I watched an "All Ailey" performance culminating with the amazing "Revelations." On December 17th, I enjoyed a performance full of all new works.

"IFE/My Heart" choreographed by Ronald K. Brown, was the opening number. "Witness," an original Ailey number restaged by Masazumi Chaya was next. As the curtains opened, many in the audience whispered "wow" to see candles across the stage, three benches, and Dwana Adiaha Smallwood in a beautiful white dress. It was quite a captivating site and also a captivating and moving number. Then "Urban Folk Dance," choreographed by Ulysses Dove and restaged by Chaya, continued to triumph with complicated lifts.

I was anxious to see Judith Jamison's world premiere of "Reminiscin'." I enjoy other works choreographed by Jamison but continually yearn to see "Revelations." In "Reminiscin'" the compilation of jazz ballads was splendid with artists Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Diana Krall, Regina Carter, Roberta Flack and Nina Simone.

"Reminiscin'" is loaded with expression, sentiments, personality, love, friendship, energy and strength. Set at night in a bar, the choreography depicts a group of friends uniting together. Girls will be girls, and boys gotta show off.

A duet featuring Clifton Brown and Hope Boykin dancing to the sultry voice of Diana Krall in "Case of You," left me in tears. The passion and chemistry demanded by the movement captures astounding sentiment. The emotions flowed in this captivating love story, reaching my inner soul.

The final number, a light swing (Simon's "Love Me or Leave Me") captured the playfulness, unity, joy, and happiness in friendships. All dancers gathered on stage for a joyful and happy finale full of energy, love, expression and liberty in a continually fluid combination. I wanted to jump on stage and join in, similar to my lack of desire to stay seated in the finale of "Revelations."

Alvin Ailey created and urbanized a talented group of dancers not afraid to take risks and gain movement without limits. Ailey dancers and performances never lack enthusiasm, devotion, energy, strength, and passion. The company always delivers more than one could expect when the curtain opens. Jamison continues to push the company to interact with the audience; to move seamlessly and united. I feel Jamison's choreography capitalizes on the influence of the arms in transitional movement. The extension of the body is greater and bigger, providing an even grander depth of movement.

In 2006 I'd like to see "Reminiscin'" and "Revelations" in the same performance. I would have to stay in my seat for a moment after the show to collect my emotions. Truly, the supreme artistry Alvin Ailey Dance Company delivers is a gift to our society.

For a schedule of Alvin Ailey's 2006 tour, visit www.alvinailey.org.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Matthew Rushing and Renee Robinson in Judith Jamison's Reminiscin'.
Photo courtesy of Paul Kolnik

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Hope Boykin and Clifton Brown in Judith Jamison's Reminiscin'.
Photo courtesy of Paul Kolnik

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