Alvin Ailey's American Dance Theater: Famous Ballet in Russia
Gospel singing, jazz and ballet find their new reflexion in the shows by Alvin Ailey Dance Theater. This unusual mixture makes it look like the character of the Big Apple itself!
Imagine a group of thirty people of all the skin colors moving on the stage in a wave-like manner, all of them being one single body. And this body tells a captivating, highly emotional story in a simple and easy way. Although having some elements of the one, this is far from a classical ballet, highly technical and subtle. This kind of dancing can be understood by anyone, even a usual taxi-driver!
Why Alvin Ailey Theater conquered the Russian public
Cat-like grace and some kind of admiration for the antique beauty of a human body in every dance – this is their specialty. They say about this troupe that it can dance anything: they mix hip-hop, rock-and-roll, jazz improvisations and the classical ballet. According to Robert Battle, the artistic director of Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, thanks to cooperation with the Russian ballet school, they managed to match the modern dance and the classical ballet. This is how their dancing has both dynamics and drive. Every day is started with a new lesson, and this is good for the body to obtain the necessary shape.
For the first time Alvin Ailey Dance Theater conquered the Russian public in 1970. Those were the first American dancers who stepped on the stage of a Russian (then Soviet) theater. For the Russians, those performances were like a different planet. That was a different plasticity, a different choreography, a different feeling of body, and a totally new freedom of movements.
In the United States this dance theater revolution occurred ten years earlier. It was in the sixties that Alvin Ailey presented his “Revelations” to the world. It's a one-act piece based around the spirituals. Everything changes in Alvin Ailey theater – dancers, artistic directors - but not the “Revelations”. This piece is kept like the main mystery and a jewel. This production has been admitted as the most performed modern dance.
Unbelievable, but only 30 dancers work in such a big, on the US scale, theater. Every year hundreds of candidates come to castings, but only a few stay. Never the less, there are no important standards. Age, height and even weight are of little importance. It is the personality that counts. There are no rules as far as firing of personnel is concerned. This is also individual. In a way, Alvin Ailey got in the elite's way by grabbing their ballet. When he staged his pieces, he did not orient on professional choreographers and critiques. He created a kind of dance that would be understood by any Texan farmer.
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