Ailey 2 - Dance Consortium review

 Dance consortium are a world renowned company that showcases shows using dancers dance companies from around the world. With theatres around the UK and Ireland that are part of the Dance Consortium family, including the Mayflower Theatre, it allows them to present innovative, creative, and wonderful shows for audiences to see. 

Ailey 2 is no exception. Founded by Alvin Ailey, the company embodies his pioneering mission to establish an extended cultural community that provides dance performances, training, and community programs for all people. Since its 1974 inception, Ailey 2 has flourished into one of the most popular modern dance companies, combining a rigorous touring schedule with extensive community outreach programs.

The mix of first and second season dancers are led by newly appointed Artistic Director, Francesca Harper who herself studied at The Ailey School, the official school of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Harper aims to bring fresh perspectives to Ailey’s legacy, while nurturing new creative voices and propelling the company forward.

Each dance was completely different from the previous and allowed the dancers, choreographers, and Harper as artistic director to showcase the versatility and skills of each of their dancers. 

Enemy In The Figure (excerpt - 1989) - A dance that fused ballet and lyrical into an intense performance. With striking lighting and music that helped electrify the dance, it captivated the audience and intensified everything that was happening on. Personally I loved Spencer Everett in this dance, whose movements were captivating and drew the audience. I loved the way the simplicity of the staging and the striking costumes whose fringing almost seemed like animal hair enhanced the story to draw the viewer in. Time seemed to fly as you watched the dancers fly across the stage. 

Freedom Series (2021)- This was a series of shorter excerpts from a bigger piece created by artistic director Francesca Harper. Each mini vignette was as powerful and unique as the other. With a complete juxtaposition of traditional and modern both music and dance it was entrancing. I loved the use of lighting that allowed each soloist to fully embody the spotlight. Maggie Van Den Heuvel was one soloist in this piece and from the moment she stepped into the spotlight I could not take my eyes of her. The fluidity of her movements and the grace and poise of her silhouette made for a beautiful moment of dance. 

The Hunt (2001) - Arguably the most intense of all the performances, The Hunt takes you on a journey through predator and prey from the initial discovery to the bitter end. What started as a deceptively traditional dance turned into a modern, fast paced chase scene that had your heart pounding as fast as the tempo of the drums.  Each of the 4 dancers on stage had their strength and stamina pushed to the limit as they flew, ran, and moved around the stage in a way that had you holding your breath and waiting to see what happened in anticipation. 

Revelations (1960) - The oldest dance of the show but full of life and celebration. This lyrical dance was created by Ailey himself and explores traditional sermons, gospel songs, and church blues through music and dance. With moments of pure joy and celebration mixed with sadness and sorrow it’s a true moment of joy as you watch the entire company come together in this piece that is such a legacy to the company they dance for. 

Ailey 2 was a pure celebration and showcase of some of the best talents that train across the pond. It allowed these dancers to show versatility and truly wow audiences with their talents. The audience were partly filled with local dance schools and you could see their admiration and how inspired they were as each individual in the theatre took to their feet for a standing ovation at the end of the show. 

Ailey 2 is on at the Mayflower, Southampton until 23/9/23 where the show will then continue on a UK tour visiting various theatres throughout the rest of the year. For more information please click here: Dance Consortium Shows

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