Analyse the Choreographic Style of Alvin Ailey

Topics: Dance, Choreography, Modern dance Pages: 4 (1391 words) Published: April 5, 2013
Analyse the choreographic style of Alvin Ailey
Alvin Ailey was a famous choreographer/dancer also founder of his own dance company (AAADT). Inspired by many, (including Katherine Dunham and Horton) he began dancing at the age of 15 where he found his love for dancing. Ballet, jazz and Broadway were the three main dance styles Ailey loved. These styles can also be recognised in nearly all of his choreographies. As choreographic styles identify the constituent features, when it comes to Ailey’s work we can clearly recognise them, through the movement used.

As I stated earlier, Broadway- (one of Ailey’s choreographic styles), is recognised in many of his pieces including- ‘To Bird with Love’ and Revelations climax - ‘Rocka My Soul’. As Broadway is a very theatrical style, the dancers show expressions and characteristics. I feel that Ailey has decided to construct and base ‘To Bird with Love’ and ‘Rocka My Soul’ on this drama-like style as both of these tend to tell a story based on true personalities. For example, ‘To Bird, with Love’ is a narrative piece based upon Charlie Parker – an American jazz musician with a quirky, bubbly personality. Ailey then found a talented performer to portray Parker and choreographed movements to reflect his personality. These include over exaggerated reaches to the ceiling with splayed hands and simple movements including stepball changes but exaggerated and highly exaggerated facial expressions. Revelations final section ‘Rocka My Soul’ also associates with the Broadway style. When watching this dance, the audience feel a sense of ‘theatre’ due to the dancer’s quirky behaviour, cheesy facial expressions and catchy song. I feel this dance is also the equivalent to a drama based shows’ ‘’finale’’, giving the audience a sense of inclusion. Movement in ‘Rocka My Soul’ suggesting it is a Broadway-like piece include splayed hands again, over exaggerated simple movement including step tap and over exaggerated facial expressions....
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