The Ailey II performance that appeared in the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center (PAC) at Mercyhurst College last Friday, March 26, exhibited the great talent of the dancers. Surprisingly, however, the performance did not present any of the historic choreography created by Alvin Ailey himself.
Instead, the show featured works by current leaders of the Ailey company as well as by leading choreographers of today.
The performance opened with “The External Knot,” choreographed by Associate Artistic Director Troy Powell. This piece exhibited flowing movement with a dynamic and powerful ending. The dance featured an especially strong performance by soloist Chang Yong Sung, although all the dancers in this piece performed well.
The following piece was a solo, an excerpt from “Splendid Isolation II,” choreographed by Jessica Lang and performed by Taeler Cyrus. As the curtain rose, the audience was wowed by the elegant white dress that filled the entire spotlight. The solo exuded beauty in its simplicity and featured expressive port de bras, as the large skirt inhibited any large movement across the stage.
Next came the quirky quartet “Proximity…” choreographed by Carlos dos Santos. This piece featured unusual and at times twitchy movement with comic, cartoonish moments. Unlike the rest of the pieces, the dancers wore street clothes for this dance, which added to its edgy flavor. “The choreography was amazing, especially in the simplicity of the second piece in the white dress,” junior Sarah Hlusko said.
The final piece of the evening, “Divining,” called upon Ailey’s African dance roots and was choreographed by Judith Jamison, artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and Artistic Advisor of Ailey II. The piece highlighted the dancing of Ghrai DeVore as a soloist supported by the rest of the Ailey II company.
The performance was well-received.
“It was very exciting and fresh. The physicality of all the dancers was great,” senior Cameron Woods said.
“The show was wonderful. I loved the expression of the dancers,” freshman Darnell Lewis said.
Overall, the show seemed to be appreciated by many.
“They should bring more shows like this to Erie,” audience member Vivian Tate said.