The dancers of Ailey II are always the star. Bring on any choreographer, and they will undoubtedly take the work and make it their own. The indomitable dancers for their 2019 season at NYU Skirball March 13-17 are: Grace Bergonzi, Leonardo Brito, Antuan Byers, Carl Ponce Cubero, Caroline Theodora Dartey, Amarachi Valentina Korie, Kyle H. Martin, Corrin Rachelle Mitchell, Alisha Rena Peek, Arianna Salerno, Marcus Williams and Marcel Wilson, Jr. The usual double program: “All New Program” and “Returning Favorites,” offered a lineup of named choreographers. Darrell Grand Moultrie’s Road To One, Juel D. Lane’s Touch & Agree, and Renee I. McDonald’s Breaking Point were on the “Returning Favorites” program, and on opening night— “Ailey family” night, the “All New “program included Tracks by former Ailey dancer Uri Sands, Ebb and Flow by Ailey II Artistic Director Troy Powell, Flock by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Artistic Director Robert Battle, and Where There Are Tongues by The Ailey School and Ailey II alumnus Bradley Shelver. This all premiere night, except Battle’s 2014 Flock, offered a mix bag of styles to showcase the dancer’s ease of transference. Sand’s dance and music review Tracks was packed with a killer playlist of music by The O'Jays, Big Louisiana, Arthur Davis, and Willy Rafus, Powell’s Ebb and Flow demanded precision, then Battle’s dramatic Flock changed the pace with his signature pairing of percussive movement and music, exemplifying the dancer’s range. The highlight of the evening was Shelver’s Where There Are Tongues, where attention is pulled like a tennis match, to and from different sides of the stage, for a glimpse of small or large groups surrounding solos, duets or trios. For the 12-person cast, the movement is fast and furious, never seeming to stop, and what drives them is their own energy, with the added full-bodied commitment in response to the rhythmic and vocals stylings from Lo Còr De La Plana.
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I am a performer, historian, consultant and dance writer. I am a faculty member at Hunter College, Sarah Lawrence College (Guest), Empire State College's online program Center for Distance Learning. I am also a former faculty member of The Ailey School and the Alvin Ailey/Fordham University dance major program, Kean University and The Joffrey Ballet School's Jazz and Contemporary Trainee Program. I write on dance for The Amsterdam News, Dance Magazine and various publications. Click below to read more about me at my home page - "About Me."