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March 26, 2010
Vol. 51 No. 18

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Artist Series brings dance to campus

Courtesy of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
graceful ascent-- Two members of the internationally-renowned dance troupe Ailey II demonstrate their strength and ability. The group performed in Degenstein Theater on Wednesday, March 24 as part of the Susquehanna University Artist Series.
Degenstein Theater was a packed house on Wednesday, March 24 for a performance by one of the most popular dance companies in the country: Ailey II.

Ailey II, which was founded in 1974, falls under the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation, the umbrella organization that also "supports the activities of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, [...] The Ailey School, Ailey Arts In Edu-cation & Community Programs and The Ailey Extension," according to alvinailey.org.

According to biography.com, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater was founded in 1958 by Alvin Ailey, a Texas native who trained with Martha Graham and others prior to founding his own company. This "multi-racial modern dance ensemble popularized modern dance around the world," according to the site.

"Ailey II is universally renowned for merging the spirit and energy of the country's best young dance talent with the passion and creative vision of today's most outstanding emerging choreographers," according to alvinailey.org.

The program on Wednesday featured 17 ballets and spotlighted 12 dancers.

According to the Susque-hanna Artist Series Web site, susqu.edu/arts, the group's ensembles included: "The Ex-ternal Knot" by Troy Powell, the associate artistic director of Ailey II; "Splendid Isolation II," by Jessica Lang; "The Hunt" by Robert Battle, a six-man ballet portraying the commonalities between gladiators and modern athletes; and "Movin' On" by George W. Faison, the first African American choreographer to win a Tony Award.

On Wednesday, Chang Yong Sung, a fellowship student at The Ailey School, tantalized the audience with his grace and fluidity.

Following the first intermission, Ghrai DeVore, also a fellowship student at The Ailey School, presented a sobering, thought-provoking and even somber performance in which she barely left a chair that was placed center-stage. DeVore's performance ran the emotional gamut from angst and sadness to joy and was met by thunderous applause.

The number of dancers in each ballet varied, in addition to the costumes and props used, such as side tables and chairs. The style of music also changed from piece to piece, ranging from fast-paced jazz numbers to slower dances performed to classical music.
Senior Morgan Lawrence said after the show, "It's absolutely exquisite the way they portray stories through the movement of body."

To learn about upcoming shows or for more information about the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, visit alvinailey.org.

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