A certain level of excellence is always expected and delivered when attending an Alvin Ailey production. The school’s reputation began with founder Alvin Ailey’s 1958 inaugural company and has been continued through the first (Alvin Ailey) and second (Ailey II). Last Friday (Apr 4), I had the pleasure of watching three new pieces by Ailey II at the Ailey Citigroup Theatre– Alchemies, Cuore Sott’olio, and Wings.
Seated inside a quaint theatre, the show’s attention grabbing feats and skill driven combinations met my eminent presumptions in just under two hours.
Unfortunately, the first number, Alchemies, failed to provide a promising glimpse of what I was in for. It fell as my least favorite performance of the night and I don’t see it becoming a returning favorite for the company’s repertoire. Each dance in the inaugural number displayed talented dancers as individuals instead of a united front.
The male segment, however was the hit of this particular piece. Each showed strength and cohesiveness with one another–something the ladies lacked. While they didn’t make up (completely) for the opening as a whole, it set the bar on who would be the standout dancers throughout the night.
Cuore Sott’olio was by far my favorite number of the night. From the surprise replacement of dancers throughout the piece to the chemistry between the duo and male trio–this was a performance that reflected Ailey’s long revered reputation. The strength between the men and women didn’t overshadow their story but was appropriately displayed and Alva Noto and Vincio Capossela’s music worked well with the different dynamics. Cuore made up for my thoughts on the beginning number and got me excited to see what else the night had in store.
Wings told the best story out of the three productions. All the issues and thoughts of the first number were made up by the closing production. The intensity and communication between the dancers riveled what the main company is known for.
First year members Aubree Brown, Shay Bland, Jacquelin Harris and Danica Paulos demanded attention on the stage. Those four ladies made the steps their own and I wouldn’t have known they were newbies by their command of the crowd. Male dancers Jamal White, David Freeland Jr. and Gentry George were also must see’s. While I missed seeing George in the duo selection, he used his time in the spotlight for all it was worth. This company represents the present and future of the prestigious muliticultural school.
With a week left of performances, we “Vixen Verify” and recommend seeing Ailey II while they are in NYC this week. Celebrating 40 years of inception, you’ll hate yourself if you miss out on their explosive introduction as the future of Ailey.