Alvin Ailey dancers. Photos by Tim Rummelhoff.
Some lucky Twin Citians got a chance to shake their hips onstage with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Wednesday night at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis, and to have their movements juxtaposed with those of Ailey’s gorgeous and graceful dancers.
Everyone seemed to have fun but one audience member stood out. Meggan Ellingboe (pictured below), who drew on her dance training, was smooth when she needed to be, and humorous as well. She elicited sustained applause as the last audience member to leave the stage (she mistakenly went backstage) and exited again, followed by a stagehand with a big spotlight shining on her as she took her seat.
Ellingboe and the others were called to the stage at the end of choreographer Ohad Naharin’s haunting and spirited “Minus 16.” The piece, whose driving, eclectic score features techno, mambo and Vivaldi, started out humorously, with dancers doing interpretative tics in a kind of pre-performance.
The curtains closed and then re-opened with all the male and female dancers in tuxes in a semi-circle in front of black chairs. They all would lose their hats and jackets and pants in a ripping performance that riveted my nine-year-old (and ensured that I would not escape the concession stand with my wallet intact).
The sense of community celebration and irrepressible spirit that suffused “Minuse 16” was present in the two other suites on the evening. The Ailey dancers opened the show with Paul Taylor’s “Arden Court,” a piece that is all about Shakespearean beauty. The dancers moved like living bronze sculptures, all the gestures framing, for fleeting moments, great art.
The Ailey Company concluded its evening with “Revelations,” the 1960 masterwork choreographed by the troupe’s late founder.
“Revelations” was the only suite that was repeated on Wednesday. On Tuesday, the Ailey company also performed with verve and style. Here is critic Caroline Palmer’s review