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Alvin Ailey's 'Revelations' Brings Our Culture's History to the Fox Theater

The beloved, nationally acclaimed Alvin Ailey Dance Theater came to Atlanta’s historic Fox Theater this week to put on an incredible show that told the story of slavery and struggle through the use of breath taking choreography.

Alvin Ailey is known to bring forth some of the most amazing dancers that the theater has ever seen, and Friday night was no exception. The show kicked off at 8:15 pm and immediately the theater packed with anxious fans and intrigued newcomers could tell they were in for a treat.

Every dancer had amazing capabilities to hold their bodies completely still in some of the most challenging positions as if it were second nature to them – which it probably is by now.

The incredible cast managed to use every inch of the stage beautifully. While one dancer held a perfect arabesque and suddenly transformed into a piece of art on stage, other dancers continued choreography around them and interacted with the human statue without forcing her to lose her balance or focus.

Perhaps one of the most beautiful aspects of the entire show was the way the performers were able to perfectly channel emotions and sentiments from the days of slavery and segregation without having to say a single word. Instead of speaking, they told a magnificent story with their bodies. With every stroke of grace, there was passionate strength behind every move.

The ticket that I held in my hand clearly read the Fox Theater, but that wasn’t enough to convince me that their performance hadn’t single-handedly transported me to another place as we traveled through time.

From the African American spirituals and gospel songs to the beautiful use of costumes and lighting the entire production of Alvin Ailey’s Revelations was an emotional journey and a visual master piece.

In fact, it was indeed the final piece titled Revelations that had the audience dancing in their seats, clapping along with the music, and even shedding a few tears.

The final number used some of the most arousing song choices including “Wade in the Water” and “I Want to Be Ready” that caused those watching to be engulfed in the feelings that many of their ancestors experienced during their fight for equality.

What’s even more amazing about watching Revelations, is realizing that the intricate dance moves aren’t just telling the story of the 1960s but they were actually born during the 1960s as well. In other words, it’s almost like opening up a time capsule and discovering the beauty that still existed even during some of our nation’s darkest times.

The dance routine first premiered back in 1960 in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement and before the final Civil Rights Act had even come into existence.

Without a doubt the stage of talented performers were all keeping Alvin Ailey’s vision and message alive, but there comes a time when even the most skilled dancers are ready to leave the stage and continue their ventures elsewhere.

The city of Atlanta was fortunate enough to experience the show before Renee Robinson left the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater.

Friday night marked the farewell performance for the talented and beautiful Mrs. Robinson who left her heart out in the middle of the stage after 30 years of performing with Alvin Ailey.

Robinson had first planned to leave the company back in December of 2012, but lucky for us she decided to make another appearance in Atlanta one last time.

Watching her on stage was truly a pleasure as she commanded attention and evoked just as much emotion through facial expressions as she did with her body and movements. She managed to create the most artistic angles and lines with her body that emphasized what it truly means for dance to be art in motion.

Her farewell also marks the end of an entire generation of dancers for the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater because she was the last remaining performer who had been personally selected by Alvin Ailey himself – and after seeing her on the stage we see why he was so eager to have her as a part of his company.

In addition to being a joy to watch, Renee was also a history maker, being one of the only dancers to perform under all three talented directors.

The stage will miss her without a doubt, but she did have an entire cast of other talented individuals leaving their mark on the Fox Theater stage.

Of course, it will only be a matter of time before another young dancer becomes a history making Alvin Ailey alumni because the Company does more than just find talent – it creates it, sculpts it, and helps it grow.

So next time you see Alvin Ailey is preparing to make an appearance in a city near you treat yourself to a historic journey, a walk through a museum in motion, and a night full of emotional bliss all at once with the very same ticket.


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