Alvin Ailey Contextualisation

Topics: Modern dance, Dance, Alvin Ailey Pages: 4 (1357 words) Published: April 23, 2012

Contextualization of Alvin Ailey

Alvin Ailey used his culture and many childhood memories to base his choreography on. Church and worship played a huge role in the lives of black Americans and was the center of Ailey’s community. “The exuberance and poignancy of the black experience are well served in Ailey's splendid [dance pieces] Revelations, Blues Suite, and Cry." ( “The church was always very important, very theatrical, very intense. The life that went on there and the music made a great impression on me.” (A.P Bailey 1997 pg.18) He grew up in Texas in the 1930s with both racial segregation and the economy being big problems of the time. “Black lives were as peaceful and secure as racism and poverty would allow. (Dunning, 1996) “In those days black people were forced into certain sections of the town…you couldn’t buy a house in other sections of the town, so you had to go to schools that were essentially segregated’’ (A.P Bailey 1997 pg.33) Yet In spite of the miserable living conditions Ailey’s community and others alike were joyful in church and the drew drop inn which was where all the adults used to go on Saturday nights to dance to the blaring juke box. “The dew drop inn was a rough place to be. My mother was in there, and everybody was doing what they considered to be the nasty dances…many of the same people who went to dew drop inn on a Saturday night went to church on a Sunday morning. In dance I deal with these two very different worlds: Blues suite and revelations.” (A.P Bailey 1997 pg23) At the age of 12 Ailey joined his mother in Los Angeles where she was to work as cleaner for a wealthy white family “I remember very well seeing my mother on her knees scrubbing these white folks’ rooms and halls. That image is in my ballet cry” (A.P Bailey 1997pg32) Here he experienced the theatre and heard the music of Duke Ellington for the first time, who’s music he later came to create a total of 14...
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