I left the City Center theatre a rejuvenated and inspired soul last night. The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater company staged an incredible performance there as part of its holiday offering.
It was in three parts – the first a fiery, operatic piece where the dancers wore gorgeous, long, flowing silk skirts as they whirled across the stage. The second was a sexy and charming ode to Otis Redding’s music. Through songs like Satisfaction, Try a Little Tenderness and I’ve Been Loving You Too Long choreographer George Faison allowed the dancers to express the entanglements of love and the battles between the sexes. By the end of it, I had melted into my chair and was ready to fall in love again. I also decided I need more of Otis Redding in my life!
The final part was the most acclaimed of the show – a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Revelations. It is the last season for the company’s artistic director Judith Jamison, who took over after Ailey’s death in 1989. An iconic dancer herself, Jamison was honoured at the White House earlier this year.
Revelations has been called an American masterpiece and it’s easy to see why. In the short video shown before, Alvin describes it by saying, “you watch that and you know what it’s like to be human.” How true his words rang through the theater as the dancers took us through the emotions of pain, redemption and hope. The piece is rooted in the civil rights struggle, but has a universality that makes it accessible and appealing to all in the audience.
Before the theater, another South African friend and I met for brunch, a walk about the West Village, cupcakes at Magnolia and a mini-photoshoot at Marc Jacobs. The women’s store has a fantastic concept for the holidays. Its store windows are covered in pictures taken of shoppers in the store.