Dance Overview: ‘LIFT’ by the Alvin Ailey Dance Troupe at City Heart

December 9th, 2013

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater ongoing its run at Metropolis Centre on Thursday and Friday nights with two a lot more showings of “Revelations,” a stunning rendition of Ronald K. Brown’s “Grace” and a ponderous addition to the repertory that normally takes edge of the Ailey dancers but presents them little in return. In Aszure Barton’s “Carry,” bare chests, thigh slaps and a pseudo-tribal sensibility elicit a single cringe right after one more.

No, “Carry,” which received its world premiere on Friday, is not the creative director Robert Battle’s finest hour. Ms. Barton, whom Mr. Battle received to know as the youthful sister of a Juilliard classmate, could be a active choreographer, but considerably of her output is composed of movement phrases clumsily patched jointly under hazy lights. That doesn’t bode nicely for a dance, featuring a cast of 19 and a percussive rating by Curtis Macdonald, that is conceivably meant to uplift.

In close proximity to the begin of the piece and in the final minute, Ms. Barton inserts a literal reference to go with her title: dancers clustered together perform action-hop jumps that make them look like human pogo sticks. These quick squalls of vertical flight supply a tepid rush.

Jamar Roberts, the dance’s muscular centerpiece, sales opportunities a team of gentlemen in crouching unison moves in which they frequently and forcibly, like warriors, slap their legs. Eventually the women be part of in. Donning tweed halter tops with gold chokers and hen skirts created from parts of string by Fritz Masten — the costumes are as dreadfully fussy as they seem — they echo the male dancing in coarseness, but with no personal aptitude. The most troubling element of this episodic work is how the dancers lose their identities, even when becoming highlighted.

Mr. Roberts returns for a knock-kneed solo — there is, horrors, a silent scream — although, in yet another scene, Ghrai DeVore and Marcus Jarrell Willis include slapstick with a grating laughing duet. Nevertheless the most uncomfortable section is saved for Linda Celeste Sims and Mr. Roberts. Dealing with every single other, she presses her mouth on to his chest while he inflates his back again is he intended to be a balloon?

Thursday’s performance was more poignant. Ahead of the curtain rose on “Revelations,” Mr. Battle appeared to communicate a couple of phrases with shaking arms, he read through from Maya Angelou’s “When Fantastic Trees Fall” — the exact same poem Ms. Angelou read through at Ailey’s funeral services — ahead of dedicating the evening’s performance of “Revelations” to Nelson Mandela, who died on Thursday at ninety five.

Mr. Battle could have also provided “Grace” in the tribute. (Less enthralling was Jiri Kylian’s “Petite Mort.”) The eloquent, pulsating “Grace,” created for the business in 1999, is a basic that Mr. Brown will be remembered for as prolonged as there are Ailey dancers to complete it.

As God, Ms. Sims qualified prospects a team of other individuals — some inclined, some troubled — on a journey to the promised land. Ms. Sims and Matthew Hurrying, Ailey veterans, have been marvels: pitching ahead with swaying arms or touching the floor and then circling about their hands, it was as if motion melted off their bodies.

On Thursday in “Revelations,” Sean A. Carmon — tall, trim as a feather but strong — skimmed across the stage in the knee-touring next variation of the “Sinner Man” segment. The dance was reprised on Friday with the incomparable Mr. Dashing in the “I Wanna Be Ready” solo and Alicia Graf Mack spinning gloriously with her white umbrella in “Wade in the Water.”

“Revelations” is a ravishing, emotionally charged and exquisitely structured operate, but the aura bordering the dance is beginning to dissipate. For one, it is a dance, not a participatory clapping occasion. Worse by some means is the ubiquitous encore, which used to feel specific: it’s now necessary alternatively of revelatory.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performs through Jan. five at Town Heart, 131 West 55th Street, Manhattan 212-581-1212, nycitycenter.org.

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