AILEY II 2013 SEASON: This Spring’s Delight

Jessica Lang’s Isolation II. Photo: Pierre Wachholder

When the Alvin Ailey II Company invites you to their home at the Ailey Citigroup Theatre for this spring’s soiree-an evening of   cherished performances, expect to savor the experience of a welcomed and well appreciated guest.

What Troy Powell, a veteran Ailey member who has worn many hats including former Ailey II Associate Director and now crowned artistic director of Ailey II has succeeded in delivering has your ultimate pleasure in mind.

As if toying with irony the opening performance One Forgotten Moment is that poignant, that it should be etched in our memory. Driven by Damon White’s original score it is choreographer Malcolm Low’s debut and an Ailey II premiere that depicts the vicissitudes within relationships. With fluidity and deftness, dancers entangle then break free through a sequence of movements at times antagonistic, otherwise sensual in a struggle of emotions that is palpable.

When the spotlight beamed down on Jessica Lang’s Splendid Isolation II it was to reveal a female dancer the centerpiece of an entrapping white gown that flowed outwards to a circumference  as if running away from its locus and intent on  flooding the stage. The dancer is elegant, a dramatic and mesmerizing spectre. She succeeds in drawing the audience into her emotionally-charged twists and  turns, at times descending ever so slowly, sinking into a gown that’s intent on swallowing her –the  illusion of her being sucked into the stage floor at times was daunting. Matched by choral music echoing her tortured soul it was a performance imbibed with utmost silence.

Rusty, another premiere performance this time by Parisian choreographer Benoti-Swan Puffer (another ex-Alvin Ailey member) added a European touch to the program. Another captivating number, it is that continuous display of the fluidity and finesse of pliant bodies fully cooperative in this modern narrative of the challenges, experiences and relationships of young artists.

As if intent on sending the audience off on a high note the program would end with the premiere of Virtues, a vivacious production by choreographer Amy Hall Garner. Propelled by the eclectic and vibrant music of Karl Jenkins this performance was a blend of sophistication and gracefulness, charmingly executed. With couples pairing in visually enticing moves a combination of modern and jazz influences; it was an exhilarating and jubilant closing treat.

Where this program succeeded was in its ability to evoke the gamut of emotions that great theatre commands.  With a youthful and talented cast supporting his bold ambitions Mr. Powell’s powerful statement may well be that this ensemble will be second to none.


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