Ailey II, the farm team of America’s most popular dance company, came off months of cross-country one-night stands to make its debut at the Joyce. The show provided dancing so glorious, you almost forgave the ensemble its less than worthy repertory. Physically gorgeous to die for, these 18-to-25-year-olds, directed by Sylvia Waters, come across as distinct temperaments while displaying a common style that emphasizes fluidity, strength, self-possession, and grace of both body and soul. They deliver physical wonders with a modesty so profound, it looks like our era’s most endangered commodity—innocence. My favorites among this terrific crew? Courtney Brené Corbin, tall and elegant, with a delicately chiseled face and a voluptuous lower body, who gives every move a velvet touch. Khilea Douglass, feisty yet full of tender, troubled feeling. Willy Laury, a latter-day incarnation of Shakespeare’s sweet-sad clowns. And the Apollonian Zach Law Ingram, who would win any Most Promising contest hands down.
Aspiring to Ballet Careers, Young Classical Dancers Display Their Mettle
Alternating performances with Ailey II at the Joyce, American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company, directed by John Meehan, showcased a dozen accomplished young aspirants. Their repertory juxtaposed small gems from choreographers in their centennial year with works created for the occasion. Their rendering of Ashton’s sublime matched trios, Monotones I and II, which aimed, rightly, for immaculate classicism and calm repose, was infinitely poignant. In Balanchine’s Tarantella, a duet for audacious virtuosi, Jacquelyn Reyes and Arron Scott pulled off the required feats with verve, though the wit of the piece still lies beyond them. Neither Brian Reeder’s Staged Fright, an ill-focused gloss on Hitchcock strategies, nor Laura Gorenstein Miller’s unfathomable Milk Pool—angst with an infusion of soft porn followed by a clever cute-kids duet—did justice to their gifts or their goals. Even so, it’s clear that Grant DeLong is a danseur noble in the making and Melanie Hamrick a lovely lyric dancer poised for ballerinadom.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 6, 2004