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REVIEW: ALVIN AILEY

PUBLISHED: 13:24 29 September 2010 | UPDATED: 11:13 14 October 2010

ALVIN Ailey American Dance Theatre has returned to Sadler s Wells this autumn celebrating its 50th anniversary. With its soul-stirring, high-energy performances, the company

ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATRE, Sadler's Wells, Rosebery Avenue, EC1

ALVIN Ailey American Dance Theatre has returned to Sadler's Wells this autumn celebrating its 50th anniversary.

With its soul-stirring, high-energy performances, the company has become something of an institution, showcasing American dance at its vibrant and sensuous best.

Founded by Alvin Ailey in 1958, with its roots in African-American culture, the company has now seduced audiences in over 70 countries with the charm and explosive energy of its 30-strong dance troupe.

The current artistic director, charismatic dancer and choreographer Judith Jamison, has preserved the heritage of Alvin Ailey with her choices.

Her three programmes combine pop music, gospel and jazz - and the dancing itself is a fusion of modern dance and ballet.

The show begins with Hymn, choreographed by Jamison herself in 1993 and including the voices of Ailey and his dancers spoken over the music. This is very much a tribute to the influence and legacy of Ailey himself. Then follows the joyful Anointed, a new choreography from Christopher Higgins.

The show ends, as has become tradition, with Ailey's most famous work, the iconic Revelations. It's a glorious celebration of the gospel and spiritual music of 1930s Texas which has stood the test of time, remaining in its original format. When it comes to the joyful finale Rock my Soul, the audience is on their feet with a smile on their faces.

It's an energetic evening of life-affirming artistry from committed, athletic dancers. A real treat.

- EMILY GOVAN


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