Revelation in dance from Alvin Ailey

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Birmingham Hippodrome


SO what can you say about Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater? If you have seen them then you know all you need to know about them – they are just dazzling.

If you haven’t seen them and have the slightest interest in dance then you really should add them to your bucket list.

They are widely regarded by those who know as simply the best contemporary dance company in the world and I wouldn’t argue with that.

Opening night at Birmingham Hippodrome saw the range of their talents starting with Open Door which opens with the sort of sophisticated, laid back jazz piano you hear in smoky clubs in the early hours in 1940’s films.

Choreographed by Ronald K Brown, we move on through various beats and rythyms to the music of Arturo Farill and the Afro-Latin Jazz orchestra with 10 dancers in pairs, trios, ensembles slinking around the stage.

Good dancers make it all look so natural and so easy, so much so you might even think you might even be able to try it at home – and you may well be back on your feet again by Christmas if you are stupid enough to try it.

The dances are smooth as silk, flowing and physical with the body becoming fluid.

Next comes Piazzolla Caldera choreographed by Paul Taylor. If Argentina is to give the world nothing else, it has played its part in culture with the tango and its distinctive music, which infuses each dance with passion and sensuality.

The set is a dull red all under a forest of bare, hanging, industrial lights. There is also some clever lighting from Jennifer Tipton to throw huge shadows of two dancing drunks on to the rear of the stage.

And that brings us to Alvin Ailey’s signature dance, Revelations, danced to a collection of spirituals with anguish, hope and finally a glorious celebration with the entire company in the rousing Rocka My Soul in The Bosom of Abraham

If you are not tapping your feet long before the end then check your pulse.

Their visits are events, the previous one was in 2010, so if you missed them this time look out for the next. You will not be disappointed.

Roger Clarke



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