Coastal Carolina College Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre Revelations Thesis Paper was uncommon in the 1950’s and ’60’s to see African-American dancers on stage or in film. The modern dance world would be taken by storm when Alvin Ailey created The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre in 1958. He wanted to share his roots in rural Texas in an artistic way and give this previously under-served dance population the opportunity to present works of meaning to their culture. Ailey’s signature piece is called “Revelations” and is based on his life growing up in the Baptist church, which had a significant impact on him as a child.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Revelations (Links to an external site.)
There are about 9 sections to “Revelations” (depending on how you divide the music) and each section is designed to portray an emotion or feeling. Please choose 3 sections and explain, in a paragraph or two about each, what Ailey was trying to portray and how he accomplished this, whether through movement, music, lighting, props, etc. How did each of these sections make you feel? Could you relate to what the dancers were presenting? Do these dances still have relevance 50 years later? If you saw Ailey II dance this live, did it have more meaning for you in the theatre and was the experience the same as you watched the video? I want you to dig deep and write more than a sentence about each (and complete sentences, please, using spell and grammar check). This is a beautiful and moving tribute to a culture that hadn’t had a dance voice prior to Alvin Ailey’s company.
This is a short piece from “Revelations” that came out for streaming due to COVID-19. I am not asking you to write on it unless you want to but it is truly beautiful to watch:
I Wanna Be Ready (Links to an external site.)
I’m including a Ted Talk with Judith Jamison, one of Ailey’s original dancers and former director of the company after his death, which beautifully details Ailey’s dreams about what this company could be and focuses on “Revelations” and “Cry”, which is on the PowerPoint. You do not need to write about this one, either, unless you want to say something about it, but it will give you a better understanding of the Ailey process.
Revelations from a lifetime of dance | Judith Jamison and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (Links to an external site.)
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