Recipes, coffee franchises, fashion, even outfits worn to museum galas are labeled "iconic." The performing arts have no shortage of them either. Towards the end of 2021, two very different ones who deservingly earned that moniker received renewed interest, partially untied by themes of female empowerment. It was the audience at the December 4th evening performance of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre who helped make it perfect. They willingly showed vaccination cards, applauded the "mask on" announcement and cheered non-stop. To quote the Gospel lyrics heard at the end of the evening in Revelations, "There is trouble all over this world."
It's been 30 years since photographer Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989) and choreographer Alvin Ailey (1931-1989) died from AIDS. The June-long celebration of civil rights and respect is also a reminder that while there are now ways of controlling the disease, there remains no cure. Two recent performances were timely reminders that both left indelible marks on art and society. Triptych (Eyes of One on Another). New York premiere. BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, June 6-8, 2019. In 1989 when the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. caved to pressure from politicians and the Religious Right and cancelled the travelling Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Moment exhibit, protesters aimed a high-power scenic projector and
In the Becoming Ailey video opening every performance this 60th Anniversary Season, Alvin Ailey is heard describing how he "always danced" during his childhood in Texas and young adulthood in Los Angeles. His passion led to the founding of an inclusive African-American modern dance company that is a cherished and integral part of American culture. Mr. Ailey died in 1989, but his legacy lives on due to the previous leadership of legendary dancer/Artistic Director Emerita Judith Jamison and current Artistic Director Robert Battle. The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre comprises the main company, their home on West 55th Street that