Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater – Programme 1

An unforgettable night of dance and fitting legacy to the work of choreographer and activist Alvin Ailey

international review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Alvin Ailey American Dance
Photo by Dario Calmese
Published 24 Aug 2023

The spirit had clearly moved the crowd tonight as they threw themselves to their feet for a standing ovation and euphoric clapping in time to the traditional African American spiritual and monumental earworm, ‘Rocka My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham’.

Alvin Ailey’s iconic ‘Revelations’ was the final part of a thrilling three act extravaganza, bringing the house down with its religious ecstasies and unleashed joy. First performed in New York in 1960, when the Black, gay dancer Ailey was 29 years old, it put his pioneering group of Black dancers on the international map.

Tonight’s programme is a fresh and exciting fusion of ballet with jazz and gospel, continuing the legacy of the celebrated choreographer and activist Ailey, who died in 1989. A piece by Twyla Tharp, 'Roy’s Joys', opens things with an exuberant whirl around 1940s and 50s jazz music, with loose limbed, rag doll shimmies and piggyback bops accompanied by bright bursts of trumpet.

Kyle Abraham’s 'Are You in Your Feelings?' pulls us into 2023 with its liquid blur of ballroom duck walks, sensual body ripples and electric energy. With a dreamy soundtrack by the Flamingoes, Barbara Wandrell and Drake and dancers sliding and leaping in neon lined floaty trousers with silky bomber jackets, it’s giving skilful, balletic R&B music video, but make it unforgettable.