The Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble’s season at Aaron Davis Hall (March 26 through 28) showcases the celebrated Ailey technique in vital and unusual ways. This junior troupe, under the direction of Sylvia Waters, performs a combination of Ailey repertoire and works by other renowned choreographers, on two programs.
Ailey’s 1983 Escapades, a suite of four dances, swings to the music of jazz legend Max Roach. Multiple love stories unfold, filled with friction as the couples strut around each other with anger on their faces, lyrically sensuous in some beautifully executed pas de deux. In South African choreographer Sduduzo Ka-Mbili’s new Who Knows My Sorrow, Andre Walker startles by stripping down to a loincloth and undulating his torso against the backdrop of a leopard-print lighting effect.
In a company premiere, Carmen de Lavallade’s 1998 Nightscape, Tina Williams becomes an exotic bird. Poised on the floor, she beats her legs together as if swimming, finds her feet, and leaps— wild yet sculptured— across the space. Caught in Thermidor’s Twilight, an erotic, passionate duet choreographed by Homer Avila and Edisa Weeks, takes us on an almost overwhelming, nonstop adventure through an athletic power struggle. One minute Roxanne Lyst pulls Fernando Carrillo close to her, the next she pushes him violently away, the aggression underlined by techno music. The lovers reunite in a more classical pas de deux to an aria sung by Maria Callas.
But what really mesmerizes is Lar Lubovitch’s 1981 Marimba. The dancers offer up relentless waves of movement— simple triplets in circling formations— gradually and subtly altering the rhythm and expanding phrases but never disturbing a trancelike quality. In a line across the stage, each dancer stretches out to claim independence, trying to break the chain of hands but always absorbed back into the ordained group rhythm. On a varied and diverse program, Marimba reveals this young company’s ability to bond.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on March 23, 1999