An Ailey farewell

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Glenn Allen Sims and Renee Robinson.
Photo by Andrew Eccles

Brimming with Caribbean-inspired décor, costumes by Ves Harper and spine-tingling music adapted and arranged by Howard A. Roberts, dancers of the American Dance Theater Company: Linda Celeste Sims, Glenn Allen Sims and Renee Robinson in Alvin Ailey’s “Revelations” at New York City’s City Center brilliantly detailed the essence of courageously overcoming inconceivable hardship. For more than 50 years, performances of “Revelations” have elicited unadulterated human emotions from audiences across the globe.

This evening at the AAADT annual season in NYC is no exception. The eyes of patrons are fixed on the movements and expressions of the three renowned dancers in “Wade in the Water,” a section of “Revelations.”

This original composition by Ella Jenkins is a perfect portrait of a disentangling of rich history telling through fluid hip-flexing. The dignified presence of ethnic costumes paired with the employment of an umbrella summarizes the feeling of tender nobility and earned emancipation. In this dance piece, Robinson is full of life. She masterfully uses her hips with force to demonstrate her colossal power and strength.

Interestingly, with all the issues “Revelations” is likely to raise, Robinson is uninhibited by these well-choreographed multiple challenges. Clearly, with ease, confidence, dexterity and glamour Robinson moves across the stage transforming seemingly enigmatic hardship into a state of winning accomplishment

Aware that Robinson will depart from the Company after three decades is bittersweet. Great dancers are not plentiful. They raise the bar and are irreplaceable even in a classic piece like “Revelations.”

Indeed, educational and artistic institutions consistently embrace change. At AAADT the Company’s founder, Alvin Ailey passed the torch to consummate dancer Judith Jamison. Under Jamison’s leadership, as artistic director, AAADT’s success exceeded the public’s expectation. Today, faithfully, AAADT thrives as a premiere institution worldwide with unprecedented programs and works by outstanding choreographers, including Jamison. Now with Robert Battle as artistic director of this continuously flourishing company look forward to more bold endeavors because change is inevitable.

After more than a decade, AAADT returns to Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater from June 12 to the 16. Tickets go on sale on April 1.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Linda Celeste Sims and Glenn Allen Sims in Alvin Ailey’s Revelations.
Photo by Andrew Eccles

More from Around NYC