Dance Critique * Read attached history and synopsis of Revelations by Alvin Ailey

Dance Critique * Read attached history and synopsis of Revelations by Alvin Ailey and Episodes by Ulysses Dove. * Watch the video’s of Revelations and Episodes by clicking on the link at the bottom of the synopsis.  Choreography by Alvin Ailey Since its creation in 1960, Revelations has consistently enraptured audiences all over the world with its perfect blend of reverent grace and spiritual elation. Alvin Ailey’s signature masterpiece pays homage to and reflects the cultural heritage of the African-American, which Ailey considered one of America’s richest treasures – “sometimes sorrowful, sometimes jubilant, but always hopeful.” Choreographed when he was only 29 years old, Revelations is an intimate reflection inspired by childhood memories of attending services at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Texas, and by the work of writers James Baldwin and Langston Hughes. Set to a suite of traditional spirituals, Revelations explores the emotional spectrum of the human condition, from the deepest of grief to the holiest joy. A classic tribute to the resolve and determination of a people, the ballet has been seen by more people around the world than any other modern work.  Of its creation, Ailey once recalled: “I did it chronologically, leading off with the opening part of Revelations, which was…about trying to get up out of the ground. The costumes and the set would be colored brown, an earth color, for coming out of the earth, for going into the earth. The second part was something that was very close to me – the baptismal, the purification rite. Its colors would be white and pale blue. Then there would be the section surrounding the gospel church, the holy rollers and all the church happiness. Its colors would be earth tones, yellow and black.”  The ballet premiered at the 92nd Street Young Men’s and Young Women’s Hebrew Association on January 31, 1960, and has since been performed a countless number of times all over the world. It was part of Opening Ceremonies of the 1968 Olympics, and has been presented at the White House on numerous occasions, including at the inaugurations of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. The piece has had many film and television broadcasts, its first, the 1962 CBS special Lamp Under my Feet. It is also the framework for Revelations: An Interdisciplinary Approach, a residency program that has been implemented in public schools around the country, and uses Ailey’s signature work as an organizing theme for a comprehensive, in-depth study of language arts, social studies and dance. Alvin Ailey combined Horton technique with his own astounding choreographic vision to create a series of movement that intertwines impossible strength and ethereal grace. After five decades, this American classic has proven to be a cultural landmark in the world of dance, maintaining its astonishing originality and powerful elegance while continuing to inspire and enthrall audiences everywhere   Click to view video: Revelations   Synopsis of Episodes Choreography Ulysses Dove Ulysses Dove, former member of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater created this explosive choreographic masterpiece, which explores the battle of the sexes with original score by Robert Ruggieri. Episodes is a starkly passionate interpretation of the vulnerability, struggles, and desire to communicate involved in human relationships.  Set to a sparse, percussive score by Robert Ruggieri with the choreography contained along two diagonally lit paths, private battles between the sexes play out for all to see onstage.  Moments of tension, explosive confrontation, and unresolved longing are drawn out as duos partner with complete abandon.   “I did this piece after a very dear friend of mine died from AIDS, and my feeling when he died was that I really wished that I had had more minutes with him – to say things like, ‘I really appreciated the time we spent together, I really appreciated what his friendship meant.” But I didn’t have five minutes. And as I was thinking about it, I thought what would be a positive way into a work… I thought what would life be like if everybody lived every single moment, so that at the end of life we didn’t need five minutes with anybody, that life was so fully lived that each episode of life was complete and that the only thing we could hope for was that we would have more episodes.” –Ulysses Dove   Click to view video: Episodes Part I   Click to view video: Episodes Part II   Click to view video: Episodes Part III Write a three page critique paper double-spaced, 12 pt type based on the two video’s using the attached dance critique guidelines. Recommended topics for written critique. * Choreography * Quality of performance of dancers * Lighting  * Costumes * Sets & Props * Storyline and character analysis * Compare and contrast the two styles of choreography from both video’s. * Conclusion  Guidelines for Viewing a Dance Performance: • When writing a dance critique, there are many things to consider prior to the performance. Who is performing? Are they professionals or amateurs? Is it a new work or classic choreography reset? Who are the choreographers? Are they known for other works? It is important to meditate carefully on the performance prior to seeing it so you can take as much from it as you can. • When viewing a performance be an active participant, don’t be a passive consumer.  Work as hard at viewing the piece as the choreographer did making the work.  Consult your program notes when writing critiques. • During the performance, there are also many things to consider that should be incorporated into your writing process. What style of dance is it? Is the performance experimental or conventional? What are the cultural implications of the performance? How do elements of the performance, such as lighting, scenery, and costume, enhance the choreography? • If a performance is very abstract, take as much from it as you can and strive to deliver your opinion of it as clearly as possible in your writing. Remember that there is no right answer since art is abstract and everyone responds to art differently. • There is a lot to take in when viewing dance, and it can be easy to forget aspects of the performance. It is helpful to bring a notebook and pen to jot down notes and initial reactions to the performance that you may forget later on. Also, write the paper as soon as possible after the performance to prevent a foggy recollection. • If there is a talk-back at the end of the performance, at which the choreographers and/or dancers answer questions and explain the performance more thoroughly, it is highly advisable to stay. It can offer you some insight into the choreographer’s motivation as well as uncover some of the meaning of the performance. Guidelines for Writing About a Dance Performance: • The opening statement of your critique should draw the reader in.  Be creative.  Tell the reader where and when the concert took place. • When writing about choreographers, always identify them by name.  Try to get inside the head of the choreographer.  What were the choreographer’s intentions and were they successfully communicated?  What do you think the choreographer was trying to say with the dance, or what did the dance say?  Try to have a thematic focus when writing your critique.  Were the themes of the individual piece clear?  What was the dance about?  Analyze the symbolism.  Does it relate to current events? • Discuss the choreography.  Did the choreography flow, what were the dynamics, how did it move in space and what were the motivations for the movements?  Make general comments but also include detailed descriptions.  Try to give at least one specific movement image.  Example:  “In another vignette, a woman seated properly, perpendicularly, on a bench, begins to tilt at an angle.  As her legs leave the floor and her torso leans to the side, both she and the bench seem to levitate a little above the floor.”  • What thoughts or feelings did the concert or piece evoke?  In constructing your critique, reflect on why you may have had certain reactions.  Always back up your assertions, positive or negative with concrete examples.  Don’t just be a negative critic; offer your thoughts in a constructive way.  • Comment on the music and identify the composer(s) and musician(s) when possible.  What was the relationship of the dance to the music?  Did the music play an important role in the performance?  Was the music live, pre-recorded or some combination of both? What difference did it make?  Did the form of the music influence the form of the dance or vice versa? • Were the dances well-rehearsed and/or well performed? Support your comments with specific examples. Did the dancers work together well in the ensemble pieces? • Were the makeup, props (if used), and costumes appropriate?  Discuss the scenic design, lighting design, and overall use of the theatre space.  When speaking about any element of design, you must include the designers’ names. • Comment on the overall production; give the reader a sense of what it looked like.  What was your reaction to the concert as a whole?  How did the piece or pieces connect? • Each critique should reach a conclusion regarding the performance. Support your conclusion with a detailed rational on how the final evaluation was determined.   Mechanics: • Do not write in the first person.  Your critique should be written in the third person. • Your essay, paying attention to grammar, neatness and spelling, should be as thorough as possible. • All critiques must have a title page, which will include name, date, professor’s name and course. • The ticket stub and/or verification from the performance must be attached to each critique. • Only typed papers, three pages, double-spaced, in standard 12 font, with one inch margins on all sides, are acceptable; do not justify right margin.  Check your computer for margin settings.  • Student’s last name and page number should be included in the upper right corner of each page. • Tell the reader the name of the performance, the company or dancers performing, the date and place of the performance. • Identify the composer(s), choreographer(s) and title(s) of the work(s) you have chosen to discuss.  When writing about a specific dancer(s) identify them, when possible.  Dance Critique Do’s/Don’ts: • When writing about the subjects below: • Refer to male dancers, men or danseurs (if classical ballet)   NOT men dancers, boys, guys or males • Refer to female dancers, women or ballerinas (if classical ballet)  NOT women dancers, girls, gals, chicks or females • Refer to a piece, work or dance  NOT routine or act • Refer to movements  NOT moves • Refer to live music  NOT live musicians • Refer to recorded or pre-recorded music  NOT taped music • Refer to danced together or in unison  NOT in sync or synchronized • Refer to the performance or the concert  NOT the show, play or recital • DO NOT use first names only to refer to dancers (“Catherine danced well in Chicago”)  • DO write in the third person  NOT in the first person • DO NOT make general assumptions for the audience • DO NOT include title page information on first page of critique (name, date, professor’s name, class, performance)