Sunday, April 3, 2011


Dancers from Ailey II spoke to the audience after the performance.
From left to right are Jacqueline Green, Solomon Dumas, associate director
Troy Powell, Brittany Engel-Adams, and Renaldo Gardner.  Photo by Nancy Condit

By Nancy Condit

Ailley II’s performance March 26th,  presented by BLAC, INC. at the new Douglass High School’s new auditorium – a great venue, was wonderful, with exceptional pieces, and well prepared dancers who are obviously on their way to more senior companies. It played to a sold out house of 1,200.  The performance was followed by a short talk with four of the dancers.

Kyle Abraham’s seamless “The Corner,” music by “Various Artists,” was performed with sass, energy and community, as small groups of people met, talked in dances, and moved on, talking and laughing with each other on the street corner, against the background of a heavily populated city with people walking by.  

The demi-point balletic contemporary dance, “Echoes,” choreographed by Thang Dao, with music by Ezio Bosso, was not seen by this reviewer.  Part of the piece by Ailey II can be viewed on

The classic “Revelations,” choreographed by Alvin Ailey, with traditional music, in 1960, in it’s 60th year, is now a community experience as well as an extraordinary dance chronicling African American music and experience from slavery to modern times.  Ailey II performed the dance with great verve, especially the section “Take Me to the Water,” with the circular sweeps of women’s legs in long 19th century summer white party dresses.  Technical quality was excellent.  Occasionally, as in “Run Sinner Man,” projection of emotion was a problem.  This reviewer feels that this will come with experience.

Troy Powell, assistant artistic director, introduced the dancers in the post-performance talk, noting that education was an important part of the purpose of Ailey II’s dancers.  He did note that in June, Judith Jamison, artistic director of Alvin Ailey for 31 years, will be retiring and doing more public speaking.

“Ailey II celebrates the black experience through modern dance,” but its auditions are interracial.  There are 12 dancers in the company, and 17 dances in Ailey IIs repertoire. “Ailey wanted his dancers to know what it was like to work with a company and work with choreographers.  The workshop company turned into Ailey II.”

Dancer Solomon Dumas said, “I was 12 when I was exposed to dance, and a man who looked like me danced – Derrick Minter (now assistant professor of modern dance at the University of Oklahoma), and I kept up the contact.” 
c. Nancy Condit  

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