Cry - Alvin Ailey

Topics: Slavery, John Coltrane, Alvin Ailey Pages: 3 (792 words) Published: March 25, 2012
Alvin Ailey

‘Cry’ is a dance choreographed by a very talented and well-recognised choreographer named Alvin Ailey. This was created in 1971. Ailey has created many incredible works but I must say that ‘Cry’ was one of his most outstanding works of art. The dance’s intent is to portray the struggle & strength of the African American women who were in the slave trade; how women so enslaved & trapped can still manage to be so free.

Everything in this piece was thought of in specific detail in order to portray the intent as well as possible. For example, in this work there are three distinct sections and for each new section, there is a new song that is played. The songs used in this work are ‘Something About John Coltrane’ by Alice Coltrane, ‘Been On A Train’ by Laura Nyro and ‘Right On. Be Free.’ by The Voices Of East Harlem. In a couple of these songs the word ‘north’ is used quite a bit. My personal interpretation is that these slaves perhaps saw freedom and/or refuge in North America, wished to be there but something stopped them. I say this because in the song ‘Been On A Train’ it speaks of a woman on a train with a man who is addicted to drugs. This train is heading north but as the song goes on it shows the man’s addiction affecting the woman in a way that she does not wish to be on that train anymore heading north. The words are “I saw a man take a needle full of hard drug, and die slow.” “He died in the morning sun, and I ain’t going north no more.”

The first dancer to perform this work publicly was Judith Jamison. Judith, as an extremely talented performer was able to portray Alvin Ailey’s intent flawlessly. She clearly demonstrated Ailey’s mother’s struggles as well as any other African American woman’s struggles at the time as a slave to their fight for freedom.

The first section of ‘Cry’ introduces the idea of the piece immediately by Judith Jamison (while wearing a white leotard and long white skirt) representing her place in the...
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