Alvin Ailey - Cry

Topics: African American, Dance, Black people Pages: 3 (1252 words) Published: May 3, 2014

Select TWO contrasting movement phrases. For each phrase:
Describe the main motif identified
Discuss the purpose of the motif within the context of the work Describe how the motif is manipulated and varied to create the phrase with respect to the elements of composition (space, time and dynamics) Analyse how the phrase contributes to the context of the work and why the choreographer selected this phrase to portray the intent of the work.

Alvin Ailey’s renowned choreography, Cry, has become an outstanding success as he represents the hardships of black women that have endured years of slavery and hardship. The piece is a solo performance by Judith Jamison, created for “all black women everywhere – especially our mothers"[1], and has impacted audiences worldwide as he takes them on a touching journey of desolate misery, violent oppression and prideful joy. Ailey uses a variety of dance techniques and elements of dance to portray the suffering of slavery in the African society, including core motifs, costume, music, space, time and dynamics. The motifs presented are manipulated with these elements of dance to create phrases and portray the intent of the work, distinguishing the changes in mood and tone throughout the sections. Ailey has used various manipulations of motif to present his perception of the African American women who have endured years of slavery. Divided into three sections, the piece introduces the dancer in white costuming as she holds the main motif of the phrase, the white shawl. The dancer begins holding the shawl above her head with her arms outstretched, and brings it forward in front of her in a slow and sustained manner as the music begins to play. Holding it carefully across her body, the shawl can be seen as representative of her life and her values, and her use of slow and sustained dynamics symbolises the worth of the scarf. As she places the white fabric carefully...
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