Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater recently introduced a new director to the company. After 21 years, Judith Jamison has stepped down and Robert Battle has taken her place as artistic director. I was excited and intrigued to see how Battle will influence the company. It was difficult for me to for see how anyone but Jamison could maintain AAADT’s legacy. I attended their performance at the Kennedy Center on February 11th and I am happy to say I was not disappointed.
The first routine was “Arden Court.” Choreographed by Paul Taylor in 1981, this piece had a classic ballet feel. Dancing solely to string instruments, the technique and formations were very fluid and romantic. It also had a very happy demeanor.
The second routine was “Home.” Choreographed by Renee Harris in 2011, this piece was inspired by stories of people living with or affected by HIV. Dancing to gospel house music, this routine definitely had the theater jamming. Fusing hip-hop with jazz and lyrical dance, the attitude and soul was really contagious.
The third piece was “Takademe.” Choreographed by Robert Battle in 1999, this was a one-man show. The dancer is dressed in red pants standing alone on stage. His movements were so fast and mechanical yet still fluid and full of character. The routine was influenced by Indian Kathak dance rhythms. I loved how they fused modern dance with comedy.
The final piece was of course “Revelations.” Choreographed by Alvin Ailey in 1960, no AAADT performance is complete without this number. As usual, it took us to church and uplifted our souls. Regardless of how many times I have seen this routine, it always does something to me.
This would be my third AADT performance. Each of them have been a different experience, but this particular concert really showcased their diversity. Each act was completely different and impeccably executed. I must admit I was beaming with pride the whole time. I think this new chapter for AAADT is a guaranteed success with more great work to come.