The Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble, a cross between the professional company and the dance school, performed to a sold out house Sunday night at Shriver Hall. The Repertory Ensemble exposes young dancers to a variety of choreography and gives audiences a chance to see dancers coming down the line.
Given the strong dancing of the 10 company members in the program's three works, the future looks good.
Despite some last-minute program changes and cast scrambling, the cast was in high gear. Opening the program was Meridians," choreographed by Andre Tyson to the frenzied rhythms of composer Antonio Carlos Scott. Set in three sections, "Meridians" explored the dimensions of relationships. The dance, accompanied by a quote from Mr. Tyson describing the work as "different high points of states of deceit, truth and desire," was decidedly abstract.
The first section, "Suspension of Disbelief," was expertly danced by Venus Hall and Chadwick Peters and incorporated movements from the street and jazz. "Paradox," nicely performed by Wendy White, was a lyrical contrast to the last section, "Innate Properties," where dancers Marie Muriel, Lakey Evans, Jeffrey Gerodias and Amos Machanic Jr. faced off like four compass points. Their high energy, complex body isolations and high-legged extensions brought sound approval from the audience.
"To Have Is To Hold," by Daniel Shapiro and Joanie Smith, was the most inventive dance performed. Danced by three men and three women to a score by Scott Killian, it surveyed the strength of love -- from family ties to those of relationships, from birth to death. Using three raised narrow platforms upon which the dancers first lay still, the choreography was innovative and technically challenging. The tableaus were beautifully evocative as the performers changed levels, worked on, around and even under the platforms as the dance came to its eerie conclusion.
Closing the program was the revival of "Escapades," choreographed by Alvin Ailey. The choreography for this suite of three dances, set to the jazz music of Max Roach, felt somewhat dated, but the company gave the dance its all, lifting even the most mundane movements.
Kudos to Johns Hopkins University for bringing in the Repertory Ensemble; one hopes this is the start of more dance events on campus.