Kurt Jooss’ “The Green Table” and Alvin Ailey’s “The Revelations” are both over half a century old and still remains to this day one of the most timeless masterpieces of dance in history. Their elaborate combinational display of music, dance, and rhythm was able to tell us a story without the use of any words. This collaborative combination was able to create a powerful and insightful perspective on what they were trying to articulate. The revelations captured the pain, determination, and valour of the African Americans at the time. Ailey used a very religious, divine, and prayerful mood and point of view throughout the whole dance. While The Green Table aimed at showing people how futile war is and how it affects people and society. Jooss used the satirical and cynical perspective, as well as the method of expressionism.
In the intro scene; the first part “Pilgrim of Sorrow”, which is “I have been buked”; you can feel the troubled mood of the scene by the slow, sombre, sad, and music and dance movements. The tight brown costumes give it an air of sadness and hardship. You feel the atmosphere full of pain of the African Americans when they are all standing together and dancing in unison. The troubled mood can be sensed when you see all of the dancers with their heads down, and powerfully reaching upward with their arms and hands fully extended toward the sky. Their physical movements are more rigid and sharp, showing some uneasiness and complication to the mood. To me, I feel their pain and helplessness because it seems as if they are reaching toward the heavens and the gods seeking help and deliverance from this cruel situation they are in. The second part “Deliver Daniel” the music sounds almost biblical. I looked up the lyrics of the song and it aided me in understanding the scene enormously. The song speaks of how not everyone is treated equally, even under the eyes of the lord. “Didn’t my lord deliver Daniel....Then why not a every man?” “He delivered Daniel from the lion’s den, Jonah from the belly of the whale. The Hebrew children from the fiery furnace, then why not for every man?” The blacks are feeling singled out, and asking the lord why isn’t he delivering them from this position. It’s a very emotional song and it really touched home with me. The third part of the first section is “Fix me Jesus”. This part was a duet between a man and a woman. I feel a very close bond between the two because of the complimenting physical behaviour, as well as many synchronized dance steps. It consists of many warm and trusting touches, grabs, and holding positions where the man is balancing the woman in a very trusting position as well as leaning on one another. I feel a strong sense of trust and faith between the two dancers, certain chemistry with a very strong trust and bond with one another. They support each other physically. I get the sense that they are a couple going through a tough time and they are supporting and helping one another. Or continuing the religious theme of Ailey, it might be a woman and a priest or pastor, but I’m not too sure.
The second section is “Take Me to the Water” and is broken into two parts; “Wade in the Water” and “I Wanna Be Ready”. The first part is a dramatic change in mood. The music is more upbeat and unlike the previous section, the dancers are wearing white, possibly symbolizing hope and a change of feeling or situation. Carrying on with the religious theme, this scene portrays a ritualistic baptism of some sort. Also, unlike the previous section, where the dance movements were slow and gloomy; in this scene the movements are more positive and buoyant in nature. Props such as a big white umbrella, a white cloth and two large sticks are also incorporated. The more cheerful and upbeat dance movements, synchrony and symmetry as well as powerful religious music in the background give it a feeling of a ceremony or ritual of sorts. Toward the end of...
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