Moved by the Spirit: Celebrating ‘Revelations’ at 50

Moved by the Spirit: Celebrating ‘Revelations’ at 50
Alvin Ailey's "Revelations"

"Revelations," the signature hit of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, turns 50 this year. Gia Kourlas of the New York Times recently wrote a feature article inclusive of a beautiful slide show by Andrea Mohin. Here are her opening paragraphs:

Members of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater perform "Revelations" nearly as often as ordinary people brush their teeth. This magnificent work, created by Alvin Ailey in 1960, is a dance on land and in water, a journey through African-American spiritual music and, for dancers, an act of reverence for the generations that came before.

"It doesn't matter how tired I am," said Briana Reed, a company member since 1998. "As soon as the music starts, I feel myself transported to another place."

Alvin AileyAlvin Ailey (1955)
photo by Carl Van VechtenTold in three sections — "Pilgrim of Sorrow," "Take Me to the Water" and "Move, Members, Move" — Ailey's burning exploration of grief and joy celebrates its 50th anniversary on Wednesday at City Center. As part of the season-long commemoration, the troupe's artistic director, Judith Jamison, will conduct performances on Friday and Saturday nights. "It's like a port de bras for me," she said. "It's just so easy to breathe with that music."

Recently Ms. Jamison and a few others fleshed out crucial moments of the dance. "It means the world to me to have done that ballet," she said. "It's a classic work, and it will remain in my body."

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