Alvin dancing and to study modern dancing.

Alvin Ailey was born on January 5, 1931,
in Roger, Texas. He was raised by his mother who was only a teenager at the
time. He grew up in small town in Texas of Navasota, where he later began to
attend church every Sunday and became involved with his black church community.

While he attended to his church, he would also get
inspired by the music he had heard from the local dance hall. Ailey ended up
leaving Texas to Los Angeles at the age of twelve, attending a junior high
school. Once he settled down in Los Angeles, he proved himself and to
others that he can do whatever he can, when he puts his mind into it. What made him to become a dancer and choreographer was, the
Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, the performance had inspired him to pursue dancing
and to study modern dancing. Along with Katherine Dunham and Lester Horton
who were his inspirations to become a dancer. In 1949,
he began to study modern dancing with Lester Horton, which Ailey had joined the
Horton’s dance company later that year. In Horton’s dance company, there
were racially mixed classes and the company itself was racially mixed, which
was unusual at the time and Ailey wanted to create a company that would be just
as same as Horton’s.

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Alvin Ailey had become a great dancer and
choreographer that he built his own company, Alvin Ailey Dance Theater. His
company is a big corporation, that is the Dancing Foundation, Inc., runs the
Alvin Ailey Dance Theater. One of his famous dance Ailey is known for is called
Revelations. In this this dance he uses “African American gospel songs, holy
blues, and song sermons (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater).” He explores
places of grief and joy in the soul, with the dance Revelations. Revelations
was choreographed by Ailey which his inspiration had come from the civil rights
movement in America. In this performance, it tells a story of African American
faith and tenacity from slavery trying to get their freedom through many dances
on set. This would tie into one of the nine Foster’s point of comparison, which
is relations of dance to other arts. Revelations ties into relations of dance
to other arts because Ailey had created this dance based on his background and
the civil rights movement. The dance is both educational and personal, which relations
of dance to other arts does just that. Relations of dance to other arts is an
idea a choreographer gets from and can relate, they get inspiration from all
over the world, to life experiences to nature. The dance, Revelations, is an
art that Ailey wanted his audience to feel and experience what African
Americans had to go through or still go through, which would also tie into the
creative process. Throwing in what he experiences on a daily basis gave him the
creation to create a choreograph based on his life and others of African

Another dance Ailey had created was
called “Cry”. In this dance, he wanted to create something that would be significant
and sincere, which in this dance he dedicated it to his mother for her
birthday. He choreographed this dance with a soloist, Judith Jamison, which it
has been dedicated to all black women from all over the world, especially to
mother. Cry, has three sections, where the solo dancer, Judith Jamison, would
come out in an all-white leotard, wearing long ruffled skirt which would
symbolize purity and innocence. The dancer would then take the audience on
journey with her with cruel hardship, heart, and happiness. Ailey wanted to
create a dance that would touch everyone’s hearts, he takes us on journey as
the soloist performance a dance that showed us the struggles of an African
American women suffering from slavery.

Part one of the performance of “Cry”, the
dancer is in a white leotard, long ruffled skirt and with a long piece of
fabric, where she would be holding it as if it was important piece in her life.

The dancer is slowly dancing, swinging her arms up, down, side to side,
twisting and turning. As I think, she is trying to reach out for her freedom,
showing that she is vulnerable. The second part of the dance, you could see the
dancer telling a story of her fighting for her freedom. The dancer uses a lot
of arm circulations and leg kicking, showing that she is tired of what she has
been going through and fighting to break free. In the middle of the performance,
the song has a women crying out, where the dancer erupts up screaming and
swinging down to the floor, showing she is tired but she is not giving up just
yet, her strength is helping her to push through. The last section, the music
is more upbeat and the dancer seems as though she is finally free and happy
again. The dancer is turning, flicking her long ruffled skirt while twisting.

You see the dancer shimmering, head spinning and arms pushing, twisting and
swinging. The last section shows us that African American women are strong and
can conquer anything with the strength of their faith.

In Alvin Ailey dance choreography’s, he
liked to put in real life experience that every African American had gone
through, which ties into Foster’s choreographer’s creative process. Through his
process of choreographing a dance he likes to think about how African Americans
felt and dealt through everything. Ailey likes to use his real life experiences
and choreography it into a dance which Ailey is similar to Martha Graham. In
the reading, Reading Dancing bodies and subjects in Contemporary American
Dance, Foster mentions Graham and how she as a choreographer when she is in the
creating process she likes to focus on the emotion and relationships between
the people, just like Ailey, he likes to connect his dances with the dancers and
audience. As Foster mentions, “according to Graham, dances should express “deep
matters of the heart” (Foster, p. 27).” Like Alvin Ailey, he likes for his
dancers to express and feel the choreography in their hearts and to show and
express it in the performance. Along with his choice of music, he would put in
blues and/or gospel music which would make the audience really feel the
performances. Another point of comparison from Foster is dance movement and
dancing body. Both dance movement and dancing body ties in with the dancers
when they are on stage, the “movement alludes to a variety of internal feelings
and at the same time documents the difficulties in revealing and expressing
those feelings… (Foster, p. 25)”. The dancers feel the music and dance movements
that their body just flow in with the choreography.

To conclude, Alvin Ailey was an African
American choreographer who promoted modern dance forms through his culture. He
would encourage any dancers and recruited people based on their talent and not
by the color of their skin which he encouraged multi-racism because while he
grew up he was able to get the chance to show his great ability with the help
of Lester Horton. Throughout his career, Alvin Ailey was constantly proving
himself and others through his choreographs what was happening and has happen
with African Americans and trying to show the audience that they can help stop
the fight. Ailey told real life stories to his audience which is why people
loved his dances because Ailey was able to show real life experience through
his dance which was peaceful yet educational.