Revelations - Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre

Revelations - Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre

Alvin Ailey was the protégé of American pioneer modern dancer Lester Horton, and also danced with Martha Graham. He formed his own black dance company, American Dance Theatre, in 1958 to present his own works, a blend of tribal African-American dance, jazz, and modern dance. He wanted to explore the black experience: what he called, in Martha Graham's phrase, 'blood memories', but also to keep key works in the modern American dance repertory alive. Revelations is Ailey's tribute to black sacred music and the evangelical force of religion. His 'blood memories' were the church of his youth when he was growing up in the Depression in Texas. Like the churches of the Deep South, Revelations mixes ritual, hell fire and rousing praise. The company always performed it with a passion and commitment that had audiences on their feet, shouting. In the 'Take me to the Water' sequence, shown here, figures move against a deep blue ground, the white dresses and the parasols weaving themselves inextricably into the choreography.