Presenting an evening of contemporary dance, the Alvin Ailey II Dance Company, based in New York, performed at UTM this past Sunday evening as a part of the UTM Arts Council art series.
The evening began with all of the members of the dance company performing Fragments, a piece choreographed by Troy Powell.
The piece began with all the members of the company in the center of the stage in a tight formation. The costumes worn in this piece were form-fitting and yellow.
One by one the dancers left the stage, leaving two dancers on stage. The entire piece consisted of smaller pieces with the dancers each performing a different dance.
The next piece, Sensory Feast, choreographed by Francesca Harper, delt with an intense struggle with the dancer [Katherine Horrigan] on stage.
The piece began with the lights off and without music. The piece then led into other dancers joining her on stage and the lights coming on and the music beginning.
The costumes worn were black mesh shirts for the guys with a zip up vest and black hot pants.
The piece, still focused on Horrigan’s struggle, continued to focus on the struggle with partners and the sharing of partners.
The next piece performed was Revelations, choreographed by Alvin Ailey.
The first movement of the piece, Pilgrim of Sorrow, delt with spiritual songs dealing with slavery. Their dancing portrayed and evoked emotions from that era.
The costumes worn for Pilgrim of Sorrow were similar to that of what the slaves might have worn back during that time period.
The next movement of Revelations was Take Me to the Water. This piece was very well done with a lot of movement on stage.
The costumes were all white and flowing. Two strips of blue and white sheets were pulled across stage and used to mimick the ripples of the water.
“The piece [Take Me to the River] reminded me of the historical aspect of the African-ancestory,” said Justin Paschall, a freshman Dance Education major from Brighton.
The next movement in the Revelations piece, Move, Members, Move was a great finale to the dance program.
The company members came out in fancy dresses and tux vests and bow ties.
The ladies first came out onto the stage wearing the same dresses, each bringing out a stool.
The men then joined the ladies on stage and performed the most remarkable finale anyone could hope for.
They also performed an encore of Rocka My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham, which was adapted and arranged by Howard A. Roberts.
The company members encouraged the audience members to clap and get up to join in the festivities and joy of the program.
Company members of the Ailey II Dance company included Kristina Michelle Bethel, Kirven J. Boyd, Khilea Douglass, Robert Halley, Katherine Horrigen, Holly Alexis Hyman, Zach L. Ingram, Chris Jackson, Willy Laury, Brandye Lee, Leyland Simmons and Sharron Williams.
The artistic director is Sylvia Waters and the Resident Choreographer is Troy Powell.
“It was a great performance,” said Amy Hedstrom, a freshman Political Science major from Old Hickory. “The dancers were very energetic and artistically different.”
According to one of the dancers, Leyland Simmons, from Anchorage, Alaska, the dance company performs about 150 shows a year. Martin was one of their last stops on the tour.
“It was good,” said Willy Laury, from Paris, France, “we had a really good time. We go to a lot of different theatres; Martin was a nice surprise.”
To find more information about Ailey II, visit ww.alvinailey.org.