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SunSpots: Alvin Ailey Returns to Chicago!

Stephanie's Just Hangin' Around!


Alvin Ailey Dance Theater Returns with New Works and a New Artistic Director

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AADT) has returned to Chicago under the direction of Robert Battle in his first season as Artistic Director!  He has some serious shoes to fill, following in the footsteps of only Judith Jamison and Alvin Ailey himself.  Judging by the opening night performance, he's off to a great start!

[caption id="attachment_1074" align="alignright" width="200"]Arden Court Linda Celeste Sims and Kirven J. Boyd. Photo by Paul Kolnik[/caption]

The program began with "Arden Court," choreographed by Paul Taylor and the first of his works to be performed by AADT.  The piece seemingly opens conservatively with much pomp and circumstance, thanks to the rich, baroque music by William Boyce.  The dancers were nimble, spry and tightly in synch as they took full advantage of the entire stage. However, the piece takes a delightfully romantic, yet playful, turn with a couple of duets.  In the first duet, a playful sprite, Alicia Graf Mack, drives the more serious Antonio Douthit to distraction as she dances all about him and on him!  In the next duet, roles are reversed as Kirven J. Boyd seeks the attention of Linda Celeste Sims with varied, playful antics.  Battle shared that when he initially saw the piece, he was attracted to the piece because of the huge image of the rose projected on the backdrop of the stage, which was the choreographer's attempt to impress his mother - a lover of roses!

[caption id="attachment_1077" align="alignleft" width="200"]Ghrai DeVore and Kiven J. Boyd Ghrai DeVore and Kiven J. Boyd.     Photo by Paul Kolnik[/caption]

Intermission has never been so much fun, thanks to "Minus 16" (so don't stay away too long)!  This AADT premiere of Ohad Naharin's piece includes some fantastic music - a little Dean Martin, some techno and even cha-cha.  Battle says that, with this piece, AADT "[expands] the Ailey repertory with a work unlike any other we have done. . . . It has an edge and offers surprising new experiences for the company and our audience."  (However, that is truly an understatement!)  "Minus 16" uses Naharin's acclaimed ""Gaga" method to break down old habits and make room for new movement and new experience." It presents an eclectic array of dance and music that is outstanding from beginning - strike that: pre-beginning - to end and is guaranteed to leave you on your feet!

[caption id="attachment_1082" align="alignright" width="200"]Revelations Linda Celeste Sims and Glenn Allen Sims. Photo by Christopher Duggan[/caption]

The performance concluded with the AADT classic, "Revelations" (which, for the first time, almost felt anti-climatic).  "Fix Me, Jesus" is as powerful and moving as ever with with Glenn Allen Sims providing seen, yet unseen, support for Linda Celeste Sims. (Glenn and Linda met when he joined the Company in 1997 (the year after her).  They have been married for over a decade and have become known over the years for their moving performances of “Fix Me, Jesus.”)  Another standout performance is by Antonio Douthit in "I Wanna be Ready," in which he demonstrates incredible, power, grace, athleticism and emotion.

Alvin Ailey Dance Theater continues at Auditorium Theatre through Sunday, April 15th.  If you're already a fan, show your love by wearing red on Friday and at the Saturday evening performance. ;=)  Ticket prices are $30-90.


Congratulations to Miaisha, Phyllis and Felicia, each of whom won a pair of Level 2 tickets from Soleil's To-Dos!

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