Alvin Ailey – Revelations
„Every time it’s magical and spiritual and hopeful” – Oprah Winfrey
Alvin Ailey’s masterwork of modern dance is known for its powerful storytelling and its soul-stirring music. The play with sorrow, determination, jubilance and hope makes REVELATIONS a timeless piece of art. Its relevance and appreciation has not changed since its premiere in January 1960. Back then it was met with an enthusiastic standing ovation and it is met with nothing else nowadays.
The traditional gospel songs makes you hum and sing along and the dancers leave you in awe. The music which consists of blues, gospel and soul also inhibit classics such as “Wade in the water”. It shows the strong connection to a spiritual lifestyle and heritage of the African-American people. The dancer’s technique is excellent but what brings them to another level is something else. It is the beauty of their rhythmical embracement. They all seem to have this rhythm inside of them which makes the movement somehow elegant and majestic.
The piece consists of 3 parts “Pilgrim of Sorrow”, “Take me to the Water” and Move, Members, Move”.
“Pilgrim of Sorrow” is all about trying to get up from the ground, the colours of the costumes are brown and earth-like and represent the coming out of the earth and going into the earth
The second part “Take me to the Water” focusses on the baptismal, the purification rite. It includes an enactment of a baptism where the dancers all wear white coloured costumes. The whole section is connected to the colours white (pure) and blue (water, used for the baptismal).
The last part “Move, Members, Move” liberates the soul. The trio “Sinnerman” as well as the last section “Yellow” which is an enactment of a Sunday morning in church spread joy, grief and salvation. It energizes the whole theatre. It is an Invitation to move and this feeling comes across very strongly as I have experienced myself. The audience was jumping, singing, dancing even a few hours after the performance.
Alvin based REVELATIONS upon his own childhood memories and the African-American heritage. It is a reflection of a society filled with grief, jubilance and hope. That makes it so appealing to everyone because we all are part of a society with grief, jubilance and hope.
There is a reason why the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre is touring with this piece for more than 50 years now. It has been watched by more than 23 million people, and been performed in 71 countries in 6 continents. It is definitely worth your time!
Choreography: Alvin Ailey
Company: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre
Place: Cologne, Philharmonic
Date of the Premiere: 31.01.1960
Place of the Premiere: New York, Kaufman Concert Hall
Music: Traditional Gospel Songs
Costumes: Lawrence Maldonado, Barbara Forbes, Ves Harper
Lighting: Nicola Cernovitch