Dance Review: Matthew Hurrying Holds the Highlight at Alvin Ailey Tribute

December 19th, 2013

“Sometimes we like to celebrate men and women although they are nonetheless agile,” mentioned Robert Struggle, the creative director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, at Town Middle on Tuesday. He was outlining that although the evening’s software celebrating the dancer Matthew Speeding was the variety of occasion generally presented to a retiring artist, Mr. Rushing is not retiring yet.

Andrea Mohin/The New York Times

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Matthew Rushing, foreground, in “Grace” (1999), a Ronald K. Brown operate that attributes several designs, at City Centre on Tuesday.

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Mr. Battle’s eulogistic speech was the 2nd of the night. The 1st came from Judith Jamison, the company’s previous artistic director, who employed Mr. Speeding in 1992. She recalled first encountering him a couple of a long time just before that on a trip to Southern California: a 15- or 16-yr-outdated of “prodigious abilities and an equivalent proportion of humility.” This was a young guy who “had it,” the “it” becoming not just amazing technique but also honesty and religious fervor. She called him “an embodiment of the very best possible in every of us.”

It is Ailey company type to be quite free of charge with hyperbolic self-congratulation. However in Mr. Rushing’s circumstance, it is all justified, as his performances on Tuesday once once more demonstrated.

The present opened with Ronald K. Brown’s luminous “Grace” (1999), an intriguing choice in that it doesn’t have a starring male part. (The guiding spirit is a female, danced here by Linda Celeste Sims with her usual intense brilliance.) Though Mr. Hurrying did have a quick luscious solo, he expended most of the dance in a pair or as component of the team. This in shape with his humility, but looking at him subsequent to other dancers carrying out the identical steps brought out how his model virtually constantly seems the ideal one particular, the way it is intended to look.

Mr. Hurrying does not display off or intentionally attract target, however even when he is not out front or the man currently being honored, your eye goes to him and stays. Each form is exact, and rarer, the power in between designs in no way stagnates. It retains flowing, modifying. He pays as significantly focus to transitional measures as to the flashy maneuvers. He helps make it all search easy, nevertheless his awesome is by no means arrogant or blas?.

“Grace,” with its suite of recordings shifting amongst a gradual jazz non secular, Afropop and residence beats, showed the sensitivity of Mr. Rushing’s musicality. The relaxation of the software expanded the point, exhibiting that responsiveness in hand with his versatility.

Some Ailey dancers seem unpleasant carrying out club dance in Rennie Harris’s “Home” (2011) or have problems with its swift footwork. Not Mr. Dashing. Going for walks in a broad circle, he was so easy he may well have been driving a bicycle. His chameleonlike capability to inhabit new styles is a single reason among several that exterior choreographers tend to cast him 1st.

In Ailey’s “Pas de Duke” (1976), the versatility is virtuosic, change-hitting between ballet and jazz, Ellingtonian magnificence and lowdown sass. It’s a friendly competitiveness, and in dancing it with Ms. Sims, Mr. Hurrying put the emphasis on helpful. In the “Song for You” solo from Ailey’s “Love Songs” (1972), he set up his modern-dance management in excess of sobbing contractions and aching balances. The line among falseness and sincerity in the Ailey repertory can be thin, but I have in no way seen falseness in Mr. Rushing.

The heart of that repertory is Ailey’s “Revelations” (1960), the operate that every single Ailey dancer performs the most. One way of judging an Ailey dancer is by what he or she does to it.

A shock on Tuesday was an physical appearance by the excellent Renee Robinson, who retired after her very own tribute evening final December. But there was no surprise in how Mr. Hurrying conjured a river with his rippling human body or how his chuckling shoulders manufactured the church services at the stop an situation of pleasure. His dancing could make a believer out of anybody.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performs by means of Jan. 5 at City Center, 131 West 55th Avenue, Manhattan 212-581-1212, nycitycenter.org.

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