Analysis Of Alvin Ailey's Cry

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In 1971, Alvin Ailey choreographed Cry, a three part work solo dance set to gospel music that describes an emotional journey filled with struggle, hardships, defeat, survival and joy. It was intended as a birthday present to Alvin’s mother and a dedication to all black women everywhere. The first part of the dance is the struggle of trying to maintain pride irrespective of the opposition faced from outside. The second part reveals the sorrow within after the woman’s pride has been shattered into pieces and finally the third part is a spirited celebration of finding strength and joy in God. Even though cry was dedicated to only black women, i argue the notion that all women both black and white of the nineteenth century could relate …show more content…

It takes into account the struggles of a black woman living in a white dominated society and under a patriarchal society. If you take a look at his early life, Alvin grew up in a segregated town. And as a result, he was only exposed to the struggles of his race specifically women because they were always at home. In the nineteenth century due to poor education and poor jobs available for blacks, black women often ended up as maids or housekeepers. They also had a readily constructed position of who they should be and how they should be in their homes, church and society at large. Like the dancer whose head was held up several times in the first part of cry, black women were proud of who they were irrespective of the challenges they faced. However, their pride was destroyed by the struggles they faced as subordinate beings in their society. They struggled really hard to oppose the hierarchical structure. This is represented by the manner in which the dancer pushed. in the same manner as the dancer pushed her chest in and out. Although housekeeping was a role for all women, it is important to realise that in many neighborhoods, housekeeping was a role fulfilled mainly by black women due to the Jim Crow laws. In the 1930s, the southern states of America had passed the Jim Crow laws that insisted on segregation of …show more content…

This is because it narrated their struggles of living as subordinate members in a patriarchal society, the emotional effect of oppression, devaluation and invisibility they endured. Finally their journey into seeking God and finding strength and solace within Him. On the contrary, cry was only relatable to black women because first, it was specifically created for black women by Alvin Ailey. The woman in cry was a slave and black women were the only known slaves in America. In addition, he described the rhythmic movements of the dancer as “... more food. Caress and smooth body. Scrub floors. Wash windows. Beg. have sex. Beauty of African heritage. Cradling. Dignified. Get rid of scarf.” Unlike other American women, black women were sexually exploited by their employers and had to scrub floors in their homes and in white homes as

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