Performing Arts: Dance
December 28, 2022
Only blocks away from the spectacular Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, the Alvin AIley Dance Company's winter season at City Center met with the usual giddy audience anticipation. With a nod to the future, the evening I attended delivered works by contemporary choreographers Andrea Miller's Busk, Kyle Abraham's In Your Feelings,and Jamar Roberts' In A Sentimental Mood.

A sought after choreographer, Kyle Abraham's success with ballets for NYCB spring loaded his choreographic career the past four years. For Ailey, he embroiders steps over the sonorous soundtrack extracting playful and supportive duets for couples. Frequently investing one dancer with essential choreographic seeds, Khalia Campbell responds to his choreography with soulful, sweeping movements seemingly exhaled through her pores.

Backed by R&B and pop music including a Nina Simone classic, The First Time Ever I Saw Your face, the energy quotient truly exerts itself in the final group section. Bodies cluster into a "V" electrically passing movements from one to another. A spiritedness bubbles through the group loosening hips under tensing then wiggling arms. They drop to the floor and then spirit themselves  back to the sky.

Jamar Robert's duet In a Sentimental Mood radiates the intensity of a Gothic noir tale set against a 1930's smoke filled jazz score. A man and woman (Courtney Celeste Spears and Christopher R. Wilson) tighten up inside an embrace. Legs jut out, allowing their torsos to push against the cool air. This image suggests a black and white photograph cast inside a red-lit  boudoir by Brandon Stirling Baker. Piercingly performed by Spears and Wilson, they lengthen their limbs into dangerous blades, then contract into Graham convulsing torsos and depart.

Choreographed in 2010, "Busk" by Aszure Barton throws a spell over the audience. Thirteen dancers pound out rhythmically compelling sequences. Stooped over, draped in monk like outfits with hoodies covering heads, the piece unfolds in a mesmerizing swirl of motion that enlarges and breaks apart.

Stomping feet keep the mysterious marauders shaking in unison, rhythmically pulsating in circles and splintering into smaller groupings. Silently exchanging survival information, the nonstop motion finally ceases to the roar of the crowd.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

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