Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Programme C review at Sadler’s Wells – ‘a spirited mixed bill’
The final programme of American Dance Theater’s London run sees a mix of old and new.
Darrell Grand Moultrie’s Ounce of Faith premiered in June this year. Inspired by a teacher’s lasting influence, it’s a playful and uplifting opener. The work has a vibrant, celebratory feel. Yet the tone shifts between each section and, while the piece ends on a high, the connections within it feel somewhat tenuous.
Company dancer Jamar Roberts’ choreographic debut Members Don’t Get Weary is an abstract portrayal of ‘having the blues’. The movement flows along with John Coltrane’s music and then, for brief moments, runs with its rhythms, capturing a feeling that lies somewhere between release and anguish. This makes for an understated, yet touching work.
Ella, choreographed by artistic director Robert Battle, is a former solo turned duet. It’s fast and fun, full of quick, detailed movement that plays upon Ella Fitzgerald’s Airmail Special. With its scattered style and touches of humour, it’s a piece perfectly suited for two.
Once again, the programme closes with Revelations, Alvin Ailey’s showpiece. It may accompany every tour, but it ensures the programme ends with a joyous finale. The passion with which these dancers imbue Ailey’s choreography is infectious.
From the tender control they show in the work’s slower sections to the speed and virtuosity of the Sinnerman sequence, Revelations remains the signature piece of this company – in both technique and spirit.
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