Dance Essay

1160 words - 5 pages

Alvin Ailey, a dancer born in 1931, founded what is known today as the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Born in Texas, Ailey faced intense racism and discrimination growing up. As a result he strove to created a multi-racial company where dancers were judged upon ability and not their race or background. This was groundbreaking since at the time racism led to limited opportunities for African American dancers. At 22 Ailey joined the Horton dance company where he would eventually become the artistic director after Horton’s passing. Ailey founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1958. Popularizing modern dance, Ailey became known throughout the world as he traveled internationally with his dance company. Emphasizing the theatricality of dance, Ailey utilized intricate costumes, stunning lighting displays and makeup in his performances. The style of Ailey’s choreography incorporates aligned ballet legs with a more loose, “modern” torso. Ailey choreographed 79 pieces for the company before his death in December of 1989, one of the most acclaimed being Revelations. Revelations was created by Ailey in 1960 and brought fame to the company. The highly acclaimed piece is still preformed today by the company’s dancers. Ailey died of AIDS in 1989 after choreographing countless pieces for his own company and others such as the American Ballet Theater.

Ailey believed that he shouldn’t be the only choreographer for his company so after his passing new choreographers created pieces for the troupe. One of these choreographers was Ronald K. Brown. Brown created his dance company Evidence in 1985. He often combined modern dance, West-African movements and Afro-Caribbean Dance when choreographing his pieces. He choreographed a piece for the Alvin Ailey dance company titled Four Corners. Brown has won highly acclaimed awards such as a Bessie Award, and a Black Theater Alliance Award. Ulysses Dove was yet another choreographer to work with the company. Dove, born in South Carolina in 1947, first trained at Boggs Academy. After moving to New York City he joined Merce Cunningham’s dance troupe where he danced until Alvin Ailey asked Dove to be a part of his company in 1973. Dove had a strong presence on stage and executed movements with strength and consicion. Eventually leaving the Alvin Ailey dance company, Dove became a choreographer for many different groups such as New York City Ballet and the Dutch National Ballet. In 1987 Dove choreographed Episodes for the Ailey company. Dove passed away in June of 1996 as a result of an ailment related to AIDS. Another choreographer who created pieces for the Ailey dance company was Aszure Barton, a native Canadian. Barton trained at the National Ballet School and went on to choreograph and collaborate with American Ballet Theater and The Martha Graham Dance Company. Barton is a daring choreographer who is not afraid to take risks. She is the creator and director of Aszure Barton & Artists, her dance project....

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