March 23, 2010 Leave a comment
“Modern Dance” is a phrase that refers to a wide range of nonballetic dance forms. Alvin Ailey Jr. was an example of a great modern dancer. Ailey was a pioneer who started his own company. When he came to the Broadway stage, he found the perfect combination of people and opportunities to realize his dreams.
Ailey, explaining why he wanted to create an integrated dance company, said: “I’ve always felt that I wanted to celebrate differences in people. I didn’t want all the same bodies, or all the same color, in my company…I want my dancers to feel that they were not just black dancers, that they were part of society.”
Ailey formed his own dance company, which is still performing his works today as the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. Ailey’s first major work was “Blue Suite,” which is about people who are not happy with their lives and where they live, but pretend to like it. “Revelations” is the company’s best known and most popular piece. “The Suite,” according to the original program, explores motivations and emotions of Negro religions. “Masekela Langage” may be the best example of a dance expressing Ailey’s social commitment and political consciousness. Unlike most popular Ailey dances, “Masekela Language” is not slick, fast-paced and smooth. It is raw, rough, almost unfinished, just like the building of the South African townships.
On Dec. 1, 1989, at the age of 58, Alvin Ailey, Jr. died of a rare blood disease. He had been ill for more than a year and so his death did not come as a surprise to his friends and colleagues, but it was still a sad loss to the dance world and to the nation.
Heres some of my favorite quotes from Mr. Ailey which really made me fall in love with him as a person because of his views of life, and his message he wanted to share to the audience and to America
“I want to help show my people how beautiful they are. I want to hold up the mirror to my audience that says this the way people can be, this how open people can be.”
“Dance is for everybody. I believe that the dance came from the people and that it should always be delivered back to the people.”
“The creative process is not controlled by a switch you can simply turn on or off; it’s with you all the time.”
“We still spend more time chasing funds than we do in the studio in creative work.”
Alvin Ailey said that one of Americas richest treasures was the cultural heritage of the African-American – “sometimes sorrowful, sometimes jubilant, but always hopeful.” This enduring classic is a tribute to that heritage and to Aileys genius. Using African-American religious music – spirituals, song-sermons, gospel songs and holy blues – this suite fervently explores the places of deepest grief and holiest joy in the soul.
… Check it out!