Alvin Ailey 2: 2011
22 February - 16 March 2011

Press Reviews

Mark Brown – The Telegraph

There are occasions as a dance lover when one’s greatest pleasure comes not from the brilliance of the choreography or the splendour of the music, but from the sheer delight of watching highly trained dancers doing something that you could only dream of doing. So it is with this touring programme from the acclaimed Ailey 2 dance company, the younger sibling of New York City’s world-renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

Ailey’s famous combination of social outreach and intensive dance training has created a young company of extraordinary physical virtuosity. In a change from the brochure, Glasgow was offered the second of the company’s two current performance programmes. Not that there were any complaints about the show opening with Troy Powell’s The External Knot, a series of pieces danced to the music of Philip Glass and Robert Schumann.

The work is particularly well suited to a young company, as it both demands great feats of delicacy and youthful strength, and also showcases dancers singularly, in pairs and as an ensemble. The collective element is at its most impressive in the concluding section, danced with breathtaking energy, synchronicity and flamboyant, organised chaos to Glass’s dramatic Funeral of Amenhotep III.

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Mary Brennan, The Herald

Long before the final joys of Revelations – the talismanic signature work that always closes any performance by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre (AAADT) – it’s clear that this youth wing shares the same spirit, the same inspiration and much of the technical panache of the main company.

Ailey’s own bravura Revelations (1960) apart, this is a mixed bill of fairly recent choreographies that acted as an effective showcase for the dancers. Robert Battle, the designated successor to AAADT’s artistic director Judith Jamison, provides an intense challenge called The Hunt (2002) that suggests the men of Ailey2 are priming themselves in mind and body for a possible transfer into the parent company.

Bare-chested, in long voluminous black skirts (with striking scarlet lining), half-a-dozen storming male bodies engage in swaggering displays of physical prowess that range from mock-combative strikes, to lithe prowlings and martial arts feints – all in precise response to the percussing shifts of pace drummed out by Les Tambours du Bronx.

Wow factor aplenty – preceded by a short solo extract, The Calling, from Jessica Lang’s Splendid Isolation 2 that was quite simply breathtaking in its timeless beauty.

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Kelly Apter, The Scotsman

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater tours more than any other dance company in the world. Why? Because its intoxicating blend of technically strong dancers and intelligent yet accessible choreography is hard to resist. So it stands to reason that the junior wing, Ailey 2, comes equipped with the same bag of tricks.

Performing in the UK for the first time, this talented young company was set up in 1974 as a bridge between the Ailey School and a professional career. From there it has grown into a bona fide touring company filled with dancers who, scarily, have yet to reach their full potential.

The night opened with Troy Powell’s The External Knot, and if there were times at the start when it felt like the dancers’ emotional maturity had yet to catch up with their technique, then all was forgotten by the feisty closing section, when sparks were virtually flying off the stage.

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