Friday, September 22

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater – Festival Theatre

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Programme 2 toilet talk: “It wouldn’t have been my choice, but it was good. I liked the last piece best.”

For me, it was all an excellent choice. The dancing was supreme from this group of inclusive and artistic athletes. Their strength and supple limbs pleased me no end. Additionally, I really enjoyed the retro music.

The beat and rhythm were retro because this programme hails from 1960 onwards. It was all choreographed by the company’s founder, Alvin Ailey and it still part of their international repertoire.

This company is founded on the ethics of inclusivity, mutual support and opportunity for all. With this in their back pocket, the team at Alvin Ailey routinely invite local aspiring dancers to be part of their performances. The youngsters (aged 18 – 25) from around Scotland did not disappoint. Good teaching, fantastic support from professionals and a will to show themselves at their very best combined to deliver a joy-filled, colourful display of absolutely remarkable talent. What a wonderful opportunity for these young people.

My one disappointment was that this programme is a sequence of short pieces. I, personally, loved each of them and felt a pang of disappointment when each section drew to a close. There was at times a sense of carnival, then sultry jazz, then a gospel yearning. I would have liked a little longer in each of these elegant and beautiful worlds created by a committed cast. 

The lighting was immersive and rich, delivering a sumptuous mood, thanks to Chenault Spence and Nicola Cernovitch, while the costumes were simple and elegant (A Christina Giannini/Barbara Forbes). I loved the individual drape of each dress that moved with the flow of the dance.  I enjoyed the interplay of individuality and ensemble collaborative pieces – a great reflection of life itself. The interpretation of the music was spot-on, as far as I am concerned. I thank you, Alvin Ailey dancers, for a truly enjoyable afternoon in wonderful Edinburgh.

Reviewer: Kathleen Mansfield

Reviewed: 25th August 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.