Alvin Ailey's Aural Setting

Topics: Dance, Isadora Duncan, Dance therapy Pages: 4 (1616 words) Published: March 25, 2012
Identify the aural setting in Ailey’s revelations 1960. How does the music help to communicate the themes found in the work and enhance movement content? Alvin Ailey uses traditional gospel and spirituals as his accompaniment. The music is reflective of the themes within Revelations in that they are working songs of oppressed African Americans, sad and joyful, but all the while hopeful. This mirrors the attitudes of African Americans when racism was accepted. The dance has 3 sections and 10 sub-sections. The subsection can be identified by the change of accompaniment and seems to show a different aspect to the oppressed community. The movement starts at the same time as the music. The dancers slowly move into a deep plie in second with the left arm reaching out to the side and palm facing the audience. The right arm is arched and the elbow elevated. The pitch rises and so do the dancers. As the line “I’ve been buked and I’ve been scorned” is repeated so is the motif, however this time it is inverted so as it is the right arm reached out and the left arm arched. Te pitch rises again and the dancers rise with it to standing with their arms extended upwards and their fingers spread out. Their focus is up, suggesting they are reaching out to god. The first section is in synchronisation showing how it is not just one African American being “buked”, “scorned” or “talked about” but an entire community. The sense of community is reinforced by fact they are all dressed similarly. A motif that is repeated throughout bares resemblance to a bird. A symbol freedom – a recurring theme in Ailey’s Revelations.

A brief moment is seen in the first subsection – where the dancers break away from the tight formation and precise synchronisation and go into spontaneous looking duets and solos In the mean time the previously religious lyrics change to “there is trouble all over this world...”. As the lyrics return to “I’ve been buked” a strong sense of community...
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