The world has always had dance. Whether it be as a form of worship, recreation, work or ritual, people have used movement to express their values and beliefs since the beginning of time. Throughout the years, dance has changed and grown and and taken on many forms of art as different choreographers bring their innovation and creativity to the table. I will be discussing two very different dances that have completely changed modern American dance. Martha Graham’s Lamentation, and George Balanchine’s Serenade.
This led to “sexually licentious stereotypes that the Europeanist perspective attributed to Africanist dance.” However, Alvin Ailey aimed to diverge the social limitations that were imposed on black dancers to simply perform “black dances” and incorporate them within the white dances such as ballet and modern. Within his choreographies, Ailey used polycentricism, movement that emanates from any part of the body, such that two or more centers may operate simultaneously. His dances incorporated both striking and soft movements using both the modern dance classic techniques and incorporating percussive attacks of jazz and social dance movements. In one of his first productions Blue Suites (1958), the representation of real people was displayed in the choreography while using the polyrhythmic technique and Ephebism of African
Upon viewing the performance here at UWL titled, “Singing in the Rain,” I was shown a variety of different styles of dance that were discussed during class. This production consisted of many different performers and movements. These movements ranged from tap dancing to line dancing. While there was a variety of different dancing styles, they all had the same common elements of dance.
Alvin Ailey had a dream of starting his own company and, encouraged by Lester Horton, he moved to New York City to pursue a dance career. When first arriving in New York he took dance classes all over town and met many different dancers. Nine of those dancers shared his dream to start a unique modern dance company that would include blues and gospel music which was the heritage of African-American people (Pinkney 20). He shared his dream for this company and said, " I am trying to show the world that we are all human beings and that color is not important. What is important is the quality of our work" ( Defrantz). His idea of creating this company was unique because he combined the culture of African Americans within his new style of dance. Modern dance is based off of ballet positions, but it is more loose and expressive. Ailey wanted to create a modern dance company using his free style of movement. There were many modern companies and dancers, but very few that moved like Alvin or looked like him. Starting his own modern company gave Alvin the opportunity to tell his stories through dance, and he did this with his Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Ailey wanted to show the world what African Americans can do and the talent that they have, excluding the fact that they are black. Dance is a very hard thing to do. No matter black
How does a black man, in the USA, become a renowned choreography all over the world? In a time, with racial pressures and financial woes, Alvin Ailey found an outlet with dancing. In the 1960s and 1970s, modern dance was shaped into a popular art form by Alvin Ailey. Alvin created over 60+ dances for his dance troupe such as Blues Suite, Masakala Language, Night Creature, and Revelations. Like many who followed, Alvin Ailey became famous with his ambition and perseverance.
He was raised by his mother, Lula. Lula was 17 years old when she gave birth, then her husband abandoned her six months later. As a child without a father, Alvin Ailey watched people dancing, such as church activities, to get through his loneliness and boredom, which later on became part of his success. To move forward, Ailey’s mother decided to move to California to seek more opportunities. Alvin Ailey then started to develop an interest in dance when his friend introduced him to the Hollywood studio of Lester Horton, a modern dance teacher and chorographer who was known for taking inspiration form American Indian dance and Japanese theater. This school was the first muti-racial dance school in the United States. It’s the major influence to Ailey to learn his solid dance foundation and a place he became a director after Horton passed
After a trip to the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, Ailey got great interests in concert dance. Inspired by watching the performances of Katherine Dunham Company and having classes with Lester Horton, Alvin Ailey then started his dance training formally with Lester Horton, the founder of the first racially integrated Dance Company in this country, and began his professional dance career at age of 18. During this period, Ailey learned many different styles of dances and adopted many of Horton’s dancing techniques. After Horton died in 1953, Ailey took charge of the company, but his nontraditional education influenced him to choreograph his own works with his own dance style.
Ailey had finished off the school year before joining her. It was then, during a school fieldtrip to see Ballet Russe De Monte Carlo, that Alvin was introduced to the world of dance. One of Ailey's close friends introduced him to Lester Horton, a man who had fabricated the first official dance company to admit members of a plethora of races. After studying with Lester, Ailey was overwhelmed by the idea of a career in dance and was unsure of what he would persue (The World Encyclopedia of Biography: Alvin Ailey). Ailey finished high school before enrolling into The University of California.
“Power is at the center of dance's position in culture.” (14). Often times, dance is overlooked as a powerful form of expression. Choreographer, Alvin Ailey, has been greatly influential in both the dance world and society. He surpassed what he had hoped to accomplish by creating a unique style of movement, having a resounding impact on the world of modern dance, founding his dance company and accomplishing praiseworthy works that has inspired many to carry on his legacy.
Ailey hade debuted Blues Suite a piece that drew the southern roots. This is the ballet that launched the sensational Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. During this time Alvin was only 27 years old when the ballet had premiered. Some would say that this piece was one of Alvin’s greatest masterpiece.He had found his own voice in the creative artist he was presenting on the concert dance
While in high school Ailey would write poetry and sing spirituals. He would also go to shows in local theatres such as the Orpheum theatre. Alvin began to show interest towards dance after a friend from school introduced him to the studio of Lester Horton in 1949. He studied there and eventually joined Horton’s company in 1953. Shortly after, Ailey had his debut performance in Horton’s ‘Revue Le Bal Caribe’. Horton became Alvin Ailey’s major influence and mentor. When Horton died Alvin became the artistic director of the company, being only twenty two years
Most notoriously, Fosse invented the “jazz hand” and some of his signature movements include turned-in knees, rolled shoulders, and sideways shuffles. Attention to detail played a prominent role in his choreography and his dance technique; each movement he created was supported by a remarkable amount of detail. A movement as miniscule as a head nod—which was often used— and other diminutive gestures required extreme conscientiousness: a factor behind why his choreography challenged even the most advanced of dancers. Small details made Bob Fosse’s choreography so distinct in essence. The theatrical essence he has as he stood on stage during silent moments, such as the way he walked or simply held his teacup, utilized his attention to detail, illuminated the stage, and made him stand out among his
As stated before Marshall was influenced by the founding fathers of jazz, especially Bob Fosse. In his pieces, one could see classic Broadway kicks, leaps, turns, and sensual movements that showed off the human physique. A great example of where one can see all of his “extravagant” aesthetics is in his revival of Chicago in the iconic number “All that Jazz”. This number was not shy of shimmies, sharp arm movements, followed by a moment of stillness that tantalized the audience. His choreography required an immense amount of energy, stage presence, and jazz technique. Marshall liked a low center of gravity, syncopation, isolations, and the confident sexual appeal that is clearly shown in “All that Jazz” and a plethora of his works. In addition to his specific technique, Marshall entertained the audience. Audiences were elated and enthralled with his saucy contortions of the dancer’s bodies. Marshall created pieces with an addictive presence that gave most audience members goosebumps. His talent and gift of creativity has taken the world by storm and started an influential chain reaction that better’s the dance
1980 Ailey suffered a break down that put him in the hospital for several weeks. He lost a close friend he was going through a midlife crisis he was also having money problems but he kept working, his reputation as the founding father of modern day dance grew over decades. Ailey received many honors such as the Springarn Medal, Capezio award, and the Kennedy center honors prize. Alvin Ailey died of a blood disorder on December 1,
Who was Alvin Ailey? Alvin Ailey was an African-American choreographer who contributed amazing work to the world of Modern dance. Although modern dance has its own characteristics, Ailey has incorporated African-style movement into his modern pieces. Ailey was famous for his dance company, entitled the “Alvin Ailey Dance Theater”, created different and unique styles of technique, and has created many choreographies that dancers adore to this day.