Analyse the Choreographic Style of Alvin Ailey

1384 words 6 pages
Analyse the choreographic style of Alvin Ailey
Alvin Ailey was a famous choreographer/dancer also founder of his own dance company (AAADT). Inspired by many, (including Katherine Dunham and Horton) he began dancing at the age of 15 where he found his love for dancing. Ballet, jazz and Broadway were the three main dance styles Ailey loved. These styles can also be recognised in nearly all of his choreographies. As choreographic styles identify the constituent features, when it comes to Ailey’s work we can clearly recognise them, through the movement used. As I stated earlier, Broadway- (one of Ailey’s choreographic styles), is recognised in many of his pieces including- ‘To Bird with Love’ and Revelations climax - ‘Rocka My Soul’. As
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The dance ‘Flowers’ choreographed by Ailey recognises movement relating to Horton’s. Horton’s technique includes deep lunges, linearity, right angled shapes and Egyptian arms. In ‘Flowers’, the first deep lunge seen is where the female dancer reaches out to grab something (presumably drugs) and her partner is pulling her back. The deep lunge could be cast as Horton’s own, yet Ailey has put a twist on it, giving her his favourite hand gesture (a splayed hand). Linearity and right angled shapes also originating from Horton’s movement, is shown throughout ‘Flowers’. We see this through the use of high kicks-performed by both the male and female dancers. Also, the female dancer shows a position in which her left leg is vertical and standing whereas her right leg is creating a right angled shape and her arms (and splayed hands) reaching out to the left diagonal corner. (Arabesque Line) The high kicks happen four times; whereas the arabesque line is shown five times insinuating large expressive movements created by Horton and have inspired Ailey. Egyptian arms are not used in ‘Flowers’ yet can be seen in more than one of Ailey’s choreographies. An example of this is when we see them choreographed in ‘Revelations’ – ‘Sinnerman’. I feel that these are Ailey’s own but as they are angular, straight and strong, they relate to Horton’s techniques. Horton’s movements and techniques were very angular and precise and you’d hardly see many curves. I feel as if