Tag Archive: alvin ailey american dance theater

If you missed Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at the newly opened Smith Center on March 20 and 21, never fear! You can see some great photos from the Las Vegas Sun at the Sun’s website here. Alvin Ailey is movin’ on, but the Smith Center remains, and it will be playing host to a veritable feast of talent for the arts center’s dynamic inaugural season. Find out more about upcoming shows at the Smith Center here.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Yo-Yo Ma. Savion Glover.

If this role cale is part of your list of must-see performers, you’re in luck. They’re going to be at the Smith Center in 2012, and it’s gonna be great.

These artists will be presented in conjunction with many others as part of the Smith Center’s Design Your Own series, which boasts a 5, 10 or 15 percent discount based on the number of shows bundled. These performances will also be sharing the stage with such productions as “Wicked,” “The Color Purple,” “Memphis” and “Million Dollar Quartet” as part of the Smith Center’s Broadway Las Vegas series. (Season tickets start at $139.)

So feed those piggie banks and invest in a good pair of opera glasses, because Las Vegas is getting a new buffet … and this one isn’t edible. However, it will be just fantastic to look at.

More info on the Smith Center is available here.

Nevada Ballet Theatre, alongside dancers from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, produced “The Tried and True and the New” on March 4, 5 and 6 at Artemus W. Ham Hall. True to its name, the concert included original works by George Balanchine, enthralling modern dance classics and the world premiere of an arresting new ballet by James Canfield.

Timeless choreography to Gaetano Donizetti’s “Variations” was an auspicious start to the performance. The company, clad in in pastel pinks and magentas, executed the demanding steps well and did justice to the notorious (and sometimes notoriously nasty) choreography of Balanchine. Although changements en pointe are not enjoyable things to execute, Allisa Dale managed to perform them not only proficiently but gleefully, which is a feat in and of itself. Grigori Arakelyan pulled off the same trick with traveling pirouettes, consecutive tours and the like. They are difficult steps, and the audience knows it. The artistry comes in when the dancers can perform them effortlessly.

The corps was captivating in its cohesiveness, lending the intricate choreography a sense of stability but remaining interesting throughout the piece. Musicality was undeniable; several sections showcased counterpoints, with one group placing an accent on the downbeat and another group doing the same on an upbeat. Too often, the results of this are muddy and incoherent. In this case, this was sleight of hand at its finest: it surprised the audience and was neatly concluded before spectators had fully come to grips with what had just happened. The effect was delightful.

The straightforward unison sections were another high point in the variations. Watching Dale step gallantly in front of a corps of polished ballerinas executing nit-picky steps in sync was a thrilling and revitalizing experience, and one that is not easily accomplished. This also justifies the longevity and persistence of Balanchine’s work.

“A Song For You,” choreographed by Alvin Ailey and danced by Matthew Rushing, followed “Variations” and was both a shift and a continuation. Horton may not be classical ballet, but the presence, control and quality of movement remained the same. The modern energy, underscored by dramatic lighting changes, brought dimension to the show from the beginning and left the audience ready to clap at a moment’s notice. Rushing obliged with attenuated lines and committed stillness, completing the number with a bow of undeniable sincerity.

In the second act, NBT divested itself of classical sensibilities and followed through with Rushing’s trajectory. “Still,” accompanied by live music and choreographed by NBT’s Canfield, was an unpredictable foray into a world that was intriguing in its strangeness. Mary LaCroix, who partnered with Arakelyan, seemed to be enamored with the experience herself, maturely escorting onlookers through this foreign, unfamiliar thing. Arakelyan was strong and understated in the pas de deux work, which was utterly contemporary. The tasteful lighting, almost Victorian set and fabulously embellished music completed the emprise.

Rushing joined Clifton Brown, also of Alvin Ailey, for a duet from “Concerto Six Twenty-Two,” choreographed by Lar Lubovitch and performed to a track by Wolfgang Mozart. The men mirrored each other with incredibly synchronization for much of the piece, synthesizing a tranquillity that could hardly have been more pleasant. The white costuming was classic Ailey and the blue wash of the lighting created an ethereal, spectral quality. Nearly flawless technique was the cherry on top.

“At the Border,” the final piece, was a crown jewel set in a concert of differences. The number was choreographed by Matthew Neenan and was an NBT company premier in this performance series (it was originally performed by Pennsylvania Ballet.) This represents a propitious step for the company for a number of reasons. The piece was made possible by the Jerome Robbins Foundation as part of the New Essential Works (NEW) program through the same, which gives second-tier companies a chance to develop and perform works of exceptional quality. (Canfield acknowledged this graciously during intermission, expressing gratitude to NEW program director Damian Woetzel.)

Forget the Balanchine. As a company, NBT absolutely sparkled in “At the Border,” filling a bare stage with insouciant energy, arcing jumps and far-flung limbs. Vitality radiated from the red- and blue-clad dancers and proved that, while they are fully capable of Balanchine classics, perhaps a contemporary groove is more fitting. Athleticism stood stoically beside technique and showcased the group at its finest.

For more information about Nevada Ballet Theatre and upcoming performances, check out their website here. Find an article on the Jerome Robbins Foundation’s NEW program here.

For anyone else out there who emboites in the other direction at the first sign of sports equipment projectiles, don’t worry: March still brings plenty to celebrate, er, madly. The Academy Awards, which took place over the weekend, celebrated the nomination of “Black Swan” for several categories, including best picture. Natalie Portman, psychotic ballerina extraordinaire, snagged the statuette for best actress through her role in the film and, thankfully, showed no signs of sprouting wings.

On an entirely unrelated but similarly excellent note, a new kind of game is coming to Las Vegas, and it’s beginning with a bang tonight. Nomi Malone and Miss Miranda Glamour will be hosting “Burlesque: the Game Show” at FREEZONE, a couple blocks south of Hard Rock Hotel. Renea’ Le Roux and Lou-Lou Roxy will be making guest appearances and ladies can get discounts on drinks from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. For a night of burlesque and unpredictability, hit up FREEZONE at 610 E. Naples Drive at 10:30 p.m.

For the more classic at heart, Nevada Ballet Theatre will be performing “The Tried and True and the New” at 8 p.m. on March 4, 5 and 6 at UNLV’s Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall. Guest artists from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will make an appearance and choreography by George Balanchine, James Canfield and Matthew Neenan will be featured. Tickets are selling quickly, so head over here to buy yours.

For those of you that can’t bear the thought of an entirely sports-bereft March, Face Productions is organizing a show on Fremont Street that should be a good compromise. The month-long production features sassy performers with pom-pom expertise and vixens dancing to Beyonce tracks, both appropriate for the ultimate halftime show experience.

Do you know of any mad events going on that should be featured here? Leave a comment below and let me know. Otherwise, get some pep in your step and gear up for a month full of burlesque, ballet and, if you insist, basketball.