(December 17) This evening was set aside to celebrate Matthew Rushing (Company Member - 1992, Rehearsal Director/Guest Artist – 2010). “It’s so good to be here for Matthew Rushing,” said Judith Jamison (Artistic Director Emerita) who opened. Jamison then introduced Battle, who shared more accolades about Rushing, “…even his name is mobile…Rush---ing…” Battle said smiling. The curtain went up and it was all about Rushing! In Ronald K. Brown’s Grace (1999) Rushing’s sinewy movements captured Brown’s signature polyrhythmic movements with ease, in Ailey’s Pas De Duke (1976) and Love Songs (1972) his delivery is breathless and unending, in Rennie Harris’ Home (2011) we couldn’t help but watch how he indulges each gesture, and finally, in Ailey’s signature Revelations (1960) Rushing is just a joy.
(December 22) Kudos to the Ailey dancers (Jeroboam Bozeman, Sarah Daley, Ghrai DeVore, Jacqueline Green, Daniel Harder, Demetia Hopkins, Samuel Lee Roberts, Glenn Allen Sims, Jermaine Terry and Marcus Jarrell Willis) for taking on Wayne McGregor’s Chroma (2006) and delivering it with Ailey flair. The curtain rose and we see scantily dressed and compelling still bodies against a stark white backdrop and floor—forecast—this work would be different—and so it was. Chroma was a non-stop sea of pencil straight legs and arms cutting the air, sculpted backs bent so that heads nearly touch buttocks, articulating necks and daringly pensive stillness. Ok, yes, there were a few fussy group sections, but the smaller pairings boasting complicated partnering sequences were terrific. Another cast danced Jones’ D-Man… they also delivered. Meagan Jakel gave a standout performance. Aszure Barton’s very dark Lift (2013) though danced well, prompts some questions: Why, for instance, were the men costumed in a chain-like necklace, bare chests and tight pants? Why, for example, were the women costumed in grass-like skirts? Why did the term Minstrelsy come to mind? Why was the cast jumping like the Maasai, slapping their thighs, grunting and stomping? Just some questions.