Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre continues to show black excellence

Above: AAADT in Billy Wilson’s The Winter in Lisbon. Photo by Christopher Duggan


Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre has wowed audiences for close to 60 years. The artistic prowess of this group that was started to fill the void for companies that feature black dancers has one of the most anticipated tours of the year. This year, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater choreography is the embodiment of #blackboymagic . There is exciting work by the late Alvin Ailey, artistic director Robert Battle, and MacArthur Genius Kyle Abraham.

The February 24 performance in Miami boasted a program that was equally light, dense and cathartic with movement by heavy hitting choreographers. The evening started with Alvin Ailey’s Night Creatures. The fun and effervescent choreography provided a welcome invitation to the evening. The choreography in three movements reminded you of a rooftop party with Duke Ellington played on repeat. The movements were bold, spirited and a reminder that summer nights seem never to end. The next performance was a solo choreographed by artistic director Robert Battle. In/Side is a personal and riveting piece performed by Samuel Lee Roberts to “Wild is the Wind” sung by Nina Simone. The gut-wrenching honesty and pain in every movement is evident and shows a vulnerable side that men are often encouraged not to express.

With Kyle Abrahams Untitled/America, we watch three movements of a story that documents the African-American experience with the U.S. prison system. While dark and heartbreaking, the story is, unfortunately, timely. The choreography is avant-garde and brings to life the voice of the prisoners in the spoken word.  Of course, no AAADT is complete without Revelations, Alvin Ailey’s masterpiece.  The performance is just as crisp and provides everyone the chance to experience what helped African-American preserver-their spirituality. Yes, you will still get your shoulders moving to Wade in the Water and you will clap with fervor to Rocka My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham. Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre is on tour through September 2, 2017.


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