The roots of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater erupted in New York decades ago and is chronicled on the website from 1958 through the present. It is a remarkable, legend of an enduring dance troupe worthy of sharing in schools, movies, videos for its historical inspiration:
On March 30, Alvin Ailey and a group of young, black modern dancers perform for the first time as members of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at New York’s 92nd Street YM-YWHA. The Company travels on what Alvin Ailey calls “the station wagon tours” in a vehicle driven by a longtime friend of the Company, Mickey Bord.
Alvin Ailey sets Revelations on Ballet Folklorico for the opening ceremonies of the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. This becomes the only performance of Revelations by a company other than Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater or Ailey II. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater receives its first grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performs at the White House for President Johnson.
Sunday evening while many sat in, around television screens engaged with the Oscars night, the theater circuit was out, in vogue, to delight in the mesmerizing enchantment of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s closing performance at the Ardrienne Arsht, Ziff Ballet Center. Under the auspices of renowned artistic director Robert Battle, it was indeed, a night to remember, as this enduring dance troupe leapt, folded and rolled across the stage performing intricate moves to musical geniuses such as, Nina Simone’s rendition of Ned Wahington’s Wild is the Wind, Mozart’s Piano Concerto in A Major (KV 488), to gospel inspired Hall Johnson’s Fix Me, Jesus and Howard A. Robert’s Sinner Man and Rocka My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham.
The undisputed highlight of the show was Artistic Director Emerita, Judith Jamison’s classic, performed by the troupe to Howard A. Roberts Wade in the Water. The signature flowing white ruffled umbrella and long white ruffled skirt which once characterized Jamison was delivered exceptionally by Rachael McLaren, guest artist Matthew Rushing and Briana Reed.
Jamar Roberts was the unquestionable favorite, primarily for his performance to James Miller’s I Wanna Be Ready an emotional movement with spiritual breadth which had to reach the souls of all who have one. The audience roared with appreciative applause each time Roberts took a bow. It was a well earned salutation as Robert’s moves were delivered with such technical perfection, he could do no wrong, even to the trained eye.
The closing number Rocka My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham was simply superb and left the audience standing in a rousing ovation through the last bow, until the last person in the audience departed, with pause, to leave the theater. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater an undying memory…until next year.