Essay On Alvin Ailey

964 Words4 Pages
Jennifer Huang
Dance 100
Professor Steele
March 28th, 2014

Alvin Ailey
Alvin Ailey was born on January 5th, 1931 in Rogers, Texas and passed away from AIDS on December 1st 1989. Ailey was a well-known African-American choreographer and activist who founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1958 located in New York. What made Ailey so different from many choreographers at that time was his race and skin color because society condoned African-Americans practicing in the arts during his time. Not only that, his unique teaching style of not limiting his dancers one specific style, but to stir them in the right direction of creating their own styles that best fits their own individual talent. The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater was a multi-racial dance company that accepted people based on their creativity as opposed to their racial status. Ailey was born into the era of the Great Depression when there was racial segregation, social injustice, and the lynching of African-Americans. Many African choreographers at that time were shunned and not taken seriously, but Ailey did not let this get in his way. The painful memories of growing up in Texas influenced Ailey into creating his signature piece called “Revelations,” believed to be the best known modern dance performance, which portrayed the lives, religion, and emotions of slaves who finally gained their freedom. Ailey also created similar pieces called “Blue Suite” and “Hermit Songs.” Alvin Ailey was awarded the Spingarn Medal in 1977 from the organization, NAACP, and the Kennedy Center Honors in 1988.
In the piece, “Revelations”, there are three main parts called the “Pilgrim of Sorrow”, “Take Me to the Water”, and “Move Members, Move”. The mi...

... middle of paper ... wasn’t going to stop them from celebrating their freedom and rights and to fully devote oneself to the lord himself. Alvin Ailey’s “Revelation” take on modern dance really shaped what it is today. What really fascinated me the most was how he contributed to different techniques and moves and encouraged people to develop their own style of dance instead of mimicking other choreographers. Ailey used the memories form his past to his advantage into create deep, emotional pieces that are very different from other choreographers’ pieces. Ailey pieces always had a deep and powerful story behind them and created unique moves that spoke to the audience and conveyed what other choreographers and society was afraid to speak and express. Proving Alvin Ailey’s choreography was an important factor in shaping the definition of what is known as Modern dance today.
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