Alvin Ailey Rocks Mondavi!


We looked at each other in stunned silence, mouths slightly open. Our gestures said it all. Sitting there in the darkened auditorium, with just enough light to see each other.

How do you explain in words, something you just saw, just felt, but had no way of reasonably explaining to someone who hadn’t experienced it themselves?

Sally is the dancer, she chooses the dance groups we see at the Mondavi Center. I am always pleased, often surprised and always love the performances. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is definitely different.

The Alvin Ailey style is modern ballet, with stunning choreography, fabulous sound and lighting, simple effective props, and stage presence that draws you in, up onto the stage.

Intense music and strong, athletic dancers combined with unique and unusual movement made for a stunning display and an entertaining evening.

Before the performance began, Don Roth came out to the front of the stage and Sally whispered “something special is happening.” The Executive Director doesn’t often appear on stage, other than the opening performance, at least not when we are there. Don Roth introduced Robert and Margrit Mondavi and Barbara K. Jackson in the audience.

Something really special must be coming up.

And it was very special.

Judith Jamison took over where Alvin Ailey left off, chosen by him to continue as Artistic Dirrector, before his death in 1989. She says “I hope I’m a continuation of Alvin’s vision. He has left me a road map. It’s very clear. It works.”

The action came in three steps. First “Episodes,” a melding of light, sound, spectacle and athleticism. Next, “Flowers,” a ballet about a famous girl who succumbs to the lure of drugs and eventually dies. Then, Ailey’s most famous, “Revelations” in three parts, “Pigrim of Sorrow,” “Take me to the Water,” and “Move, Members, Move.”

At the end, the audience couldn’t stop the applause, it must have been several minutes and we were graced with an encore. “Rock my soul in the bosom of Abraham.”

A tight, stunning show, indeed. We can still feel it almost 24 hours later.

See it, its a beautiful thing! And as always, the Mondavi shines.

Sally Gray is a writer, photographer and editor for NewsBlaze. Sally is also a highly skilled knitter, who makes exquisite sweaters, scarves and socks and loves to craft complex cables. Sally prefers photography to editing and editing to writing.