In 2022 Alvin Ailey Dance Theater Gave Joy! You Can SEE Them at BAM in June 2023!

Isa Freeling
2 min readJan 4, 2023
Are You in Your Feelings? Photo By Paul Kolnik

It was a superb evening of pure psychological insight expressed in the mighty art of dance at City Center, with Alvin Ailey dancers performing three works, both new and nuanced. It began with Azure Barton's meticulously realized work of art, Busk, which I have seen before but could watch a hundred times over and never tire of. A highly physical piece of work that asks the dancers to give everything; engage their entire body, from eyes to toes. All rockets are employed; like missiles, they are firing on all cylinders. Not just soaring, but as it says in the program, they are in a "collective hive mind," moving energy in physical syncopation.

The thing about Busk's excitement is the splendor of its personality. It has so much; it is not mere dance. It shared human language you have seen a million times acutely instilled into one hypnotic performance. Between costume, music, and dance, it has a modern medieval feel still more than that; it has an eerie quality of otherworldly humor. Of irony. Ms. Barton shares her exciting innovation like Martha Graham, Twyla Tharp, and the great Alvin Ailey. She has something rare and refreshing. . Azure Barton is intensely tuned to the expression of life through dance, channeling it through her soul and, in turn, with gigantically intuitive dancers.

The solos were stunning. I will tell you that executing such work takes mental and physical virtuosity. I was delighted to see many new dancers on the stage, moving the air with their whole bodies.

In a Sentimental Mood, a love story choreographed by highly skilled and emotionally perceptive Jamar Roberts, a couple runs the gamut from hope to despair. With soft, sultry music by Duke Ellington and eerily haunting melodies by Rafiq Bhatia. Courtney Celeste Spears enters looking gorgeous in a white hat and coat, unsure whether to take the plunge to return to a relationship, but once present and in the arms of Christopher R. Wilson, resolved to love until their rhapsodized dance turns to discontent and rebuke. The music of anticipation devolves to distorted dissatisfaction until Courtney Celeste Spears takes her white hat and exits.

Are you in Your feelings, a new work by Kyle Abraham, concluded the evening of dance at New York's City Center. Colorfully costumed by Karen Young with great lighting by Dan Scully this work was scored to perfection with hip-hop, soul, and R & B, it lifted the spirit in its eloquent reflection of the black cultural equation. Gorgeous rhythmic sequences of dance boldly and joyously realized by amazing dancers exemplified the gift of Abrahams's vision.

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Isa Freeling

I am an art and culture writer/adviser. You can find my work on HuffPost, The New York Daily News, Artlyst, NY Lifestyle Magazine, Culture Sonar, and Medium.