Virtual Dance Concert/Performance Attendance Paper
Revelations choreographer Alvin Ailey draws inspiration from his childhood growing up in rural Texas as a member of the Baptist Church. The piece uses African-American spirituals, song sermons, gospel songs, and holy blues to elevate a story showing the struggles faced by African-Americans in the south in the 1930s. Approximately 23 million people have experienced Revelations since its birth in 1960. While experiencing this piece for the first time, I kept in mind the three elements of criticism; description, analysis, and evaluation. This performance included mainly African-American ballet dancers on a stage for a live audience in 2016. The dancers had incredible …show more content…
A destinguishable image near the middle of the performance was a water scene where the dancers held up blue cloths, giving the viewers an impression of the other dancers splashing in a river. This scene portrayed Jesus’ ability to wash away your sins as you’re reborn as a believer in Him. Similarly, despite all that they endured, trusting Jesus through it all will help them reach eternal life. I found this piece inspiring and moving. It showed a glimpse into the choreographer’s life and how unfair life was for African-Americans, especially in the south in the 1930s. Also, it depicts the culture’s strong religious beliefs and how much respect they have for women. I felt Ailey successfully communicated these beliefs as they are highlighted in the movements, music, and interactions throughout the …show more content…
Throughout the performance, dancers use their hands and arms to communicate. Especially at the beginning, the dancers motion toward heaven numerous times. I interpreted this movement as their longing to leave the sorrows they’ve endured on Earth to reap eternal life in heaven. In addition, in the water scene, the dancers were extremely expressive, contorting their bodies to match the way waves in water makes your body sway. Each scene brought a different energy than the last which kept the viewer on the edge of their seat. For instance, scene 1 incorporated smooth, relaxed, and loose movements while scene 2 encompassed heavy, swaying, and sharp movements. Scene 3 embodied weightless, smooth, and sustained movements, but scene 4 contained swinging, relaxed, and light movements with a high tempo. Overall, this performance opened my eyes to some of the ideas, values, and beliefs of African-Americans in the 1900s and inspired me in a variety of different
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His choreography was like nothing the world has seen as it has popularized multicultural modern dance for the world. His most famous piece is called revelations and is being performed to this day by his school of young students and it has been performed for people globally. Since his theatre was founded his students has performed for more than 20 million people not counting tv viewers. Last, ailey’s achievements has earn him the number 4 spot on the list for best choreographers in
Revelations had established a great deal of the African American familiarity. The dance became a signature ballet in the company. The dance created by Ailey was helped to educate students studying dance in the history and art of modern dance and ballet. He also produced dances that would feature the talents of his African American dance students even though the company was never fully all black. Throughout his dances, Ailey produced his dance techniques from his memories of growing up in the South.
In Staging Race: Black Performers in Turn of the Century America, author Karen Sotiropoulos sets out to describe black artists and their art as “ constitutive of and emblematic of their own generation” (1). Centered in the years post-Civil War and during the dawn of the Jim Crow laws in the late 19th century, Staging Race focuses on the advancement of African American artists in the flourishing cities in America. Artists held the stage in America’s growing entertainment and commercial sector. However, author Sotiropoulos is meticulously in reminding readers that although there were possibilities for advancements, there were still prevalent struggles among artists. Facing racial violence, segregation, disenfranchisement, and social Darwinism,
This goes to show that if you were not white it was hard to be a dancer in those times. These two examples show clearly the color barriers that African-American dancers faced on a day-to-day basis. The color barriers made it hard for African American dancers to prosper in the world of
The Alvin Ailey modern dance company is known internationally for their works and dancers but how they began is a very interesting story. The company formed in 1958 and just two years later one of the most memorable and notable performances of the company was created, “.Revelations”. Although Alvin Ailey was the creator and director of this company, Ailey’s style and the technique he used and that the company still uses stems from Lester Horton. Horton was a pivotal teacher for Ailey and inspired him to create a company and carry on this technique from Horton. This paper will illustrate the beginning influence Horton had on Ailey and how the company has grown overtime.
As a woman of African American descent, it was easy to feel the emotion that was being portrayed in the piece. The description of this piece at the museum spoke about the mood of this period was, stating how, “Jazz in America is due partly to migrations from Africa to America, and involved local color and musical interface with a Native American ritual dance. The modern day Harriet leads with the challenge of yesterday’s physical enslavement as her guide, and focuses on her mission of escaping the mental, emotional, and financial constraints of today“ (j.g Gallery). This theme is strongly felt while looking at the piece. We are allowed to look for she is unaware of our gaze because she herself is too focused on something herself, looking
The dance movements such as turning, jumping across large distances, muscle contraction and relaxation, and expressive hand movements all indicated the passion he has for dance. The Moreover, the way he staged the theater was proficient and beautiful that caught the eyes of audiences. The animal quality of movements in Blue Suite drew an instant success in Ailey’s
Messages can be conveyed in many ways including through movement. A dancer knows how to use their facial expressions, combined with the dynamics of their body, to get their message across. A choreographer knows how to structure a dance to communicate a message through body in motion. Alvin Ailey choreographed his dancers and used this form of communication to create many powerful dances.
They way that the African Americans told their stories through the stuff they did spoke to other African Americans. In the 1920s the word “Negro” entered the American vocabulary. No longer would Africans silently endure the old ways of discrimination. In the work of the artists and writers explored the pains and joys
Alvin Ailey has cleverly used the importance of movement components throughout the second scene of his solo ‘Cry’, to successfully convey the intent of the dance and establish a connection between the audience and the dancer. As explained previously, the choreographic intent of this dance piece is to shine light on the hardships and struggles dealt with by African – American black women, while also highlighting their integrity and strength. Ailey has used a variety of both abstract and literal movements to portray the emotions of pain and anger. The dance step components of this piece focus on applying emphasis to the circulatory movements, especially including all extensions and isolations to show integrity through pain. Judith Jamison writes
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
More specifically, the dancer “depicts a community hunting an outsider” (Ann Dils). The dancers act as witnesses to a lynching that is going on off the stage, but that is left to the viewer’s imagination. The dancers join the lynching themselves, “buying into the notion that the ludicrous nature of the crime they were committing and observing was justified” (Roosa). Although Weidman’s dance was created in the 1930s, it still highlights today’s “injustice with which a minority group of our population has been treated (Charlesweidman.org)” and the undertones of hate crimes that continue to this day.
An artist that provoked my reaction while listening to their music was Jazz composer and pianist Mary Lou Williams. As a woman in the early 20th century, her gender did not reveal many opportunities, although her skill alone opened many doors to her career. Her music is inspiring to me as a woman because it teaches me to be grateful for women like her that proved her capabilities as an artist and strength of a woman in her time. In her piece “Walkin and Swangin”, I could clearly picture the decade of the 20’s and relate this song to the film and book “The Great Gatsby”. The mood of this song is happy and exciting, the tempo is fast paced and upbeat, while playing this song I found myself tapping my foot to the rhythmic beat.
Revelations by Alvin Ailey invites the audience on a journey of grief, reverence and celebration. Inspired by Ailey’s memories from his childhood, Alvin Ailey was born in 1931 to a large extended family, in a small town in Texas (Study Guide: Alvin Ailey, 2008). Upon his parent’s separation and financial difficulties he moved to LA with his mother, where he became introduced to dance and eventually became one of the most influential choreographers of the 20th century (Study Guide: Alvin Ailey, 2008). This article will focus on how Ailey’s life experiences are reflected in his choice of movement and non-movement components; highlighting his upbringing, choreographic relations, and his experience with the African American Baptist church.