60 Years of Ailey Ascending: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Wayne McGregor's "KAIROS"
Choreographer: Wayne McGregor
Costumes: Moritz Junge / Lighting: Lucy Carter / Scenic Design: Idris Khan
Music: "Vivaldi – The Four Seasons Recomposed” / Composer: Max Richter
Restager: Antoine Vereecken
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at New York City Center until December 30 (for programs and tickets click here)
KAIROS is a visually rapturous work. In its climatic U.S. premiere, the dancers of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater stay true to Wayne McGregor’s intellectual brilliance without sacrificing the trademark spirituality of Ailey.
The word "kairos" in ancient Greek history referred to the critical opportune moment of time, while the modern Greek definition signifies the weather. Both concepts are expressed in the cascading beauty of Antonio Vivaldi’s concerti, The Four Seasons (1725). The classical masterpiece has been re-assembled and re-interpreted by Max Richter, the acclaimed film and minimalist composer.
Reminiscent of windswept leaves or the rippled reflections on water, the dancers' limbs whip and twist. Nature resounds within the violin's joyous riffs and the sweeping bow techniques of other stringed instruments.
"I'm obsessed with the technology of the body. (It) is the most technologically literate thing we have. I'm absolutely obsessed with finding a way of communicating ideas through the body to audiences that might move them, touch them, help them think differently about things." McGregorsays in a TEDTalks from September 12, 2012.
McGregor’s choreographic tempest, filled with powerhouse motion tightly weaves through the rapidly paced instrumentals.
"Choreography is a collaborative process of physical thinking… I work with anthropologists, neuroscientists, cognitive scientists. People can come from different... domains of expertise. (They) bring their intelligence to bear on a different kind of creative process." Wayne McGregor, TEDTalks
"I am passionate about dance and I am also really passionate about creativity. (You) can find out things about your own personal physical signature, and your own cognitive habits and use that as a point of departure to misbehave beautifully." Wayne McGregor, TEDTalks
Jacquelin Harris and Chalvar Monteiro. Photo: Serena S.Y. Hsu |ZUMA Press
From l-r: Chalvar Monteiro and Jamar Roberts. Photo: Serena S.Y. Hsu |ZUMA Press
Spinning, angled dancers punctuate space, almost resembling musical notations. The translucent front and backdrop scrims, created by set designer Idris Khan, actually convert to sheets of music.
"McGregor plays with space" – Antoine Vereecken, KAIROS restager
From l-r: Solomon Dumas, Jacqueline Green, and Yannik Lebrun. Photo: Serena S.Y. Hsu |ZUMA Press
"What I love about Wayne McGregor’s work is that he really pushes the physicality to its limits using a lot of the classical ballet line (but) with the McGregor touch. The work does not hold back. It’s full of these daring lifts and jumps, but within the work itself there is tenderness… and dramatic context." Robert Battle, the Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater"
Wayne McGregor, a multiple awards-winning British choreographer and director, is world-renowned for his intricate techno-forward multimedia productions and fascinating cutting-edge collaborations for stage (both theatre and opera), film (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Tarzan, Fantastic Beasts 1 & 2, Mary Queen of Scots) and commercial work (music videos, fashion shows, and television). He has choreographed several works for Paris Opera Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, New York City Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, and Nederlands Dans Theater. He is Artistic Director of Company Wayne McGregor, the Resident Company of Sadler Well’s London and is a Resident Choreographer for The Royal Ballet. McGregor is winner of four Critics Circle Awards, two Laurence Olivier Awards, a Prix Benois de la Danse, and two Golden Mask awards.
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