There’s something supersize about everything this company does, as is readily apparent in the three new pieces I was able to watch on tape. Alonzo King’s wildly kinetic Following the Subtle Current Upstream, set to tabla music, both depends on and subverts his ballet training: the dancers establish their vertical axis only to violate it–shifting their hips in a wiggly jump, running, and turning–yet the axis remains, governing everything they do. Former Ailey dancer Dwight Rhoden’s Chocolate Sessions, set to an electronic score, re-creates the dynamic tension between men and women with big, swung legs and forceful torsos; silky, abbreviated costumes add to the boudoir mood. And artistic director Judith Jamison’s Double Exposure, set to Robert Ruggieri’s synthesized music, casts huge live video images across the rear of the stage: the dancers’ faces loom over their hand-to-hand combat and unbelievably high extensions. Also new to Chicago is Carmen de Lavallade’s Sweet Bitter Love, a duet set to ballads by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway. The Wednesday lineup consists of Following the Subtle Current Upstream, Chocolate Sessions, and Alvin Ailey’s Revelations and Night Creature. On Thursday it’s Double Exposure, Ailey’s The River, and Ronald K. Brown’s Grace (which received its Chicago premiere last spring). Friday and Saturday nights: Sweet Bitter Love, Following the Subtle Current Upstream, Night Creature, and Revelations. The family matinee Saturday features Double Exposure, The River, and Revelations, and the Sunday matinee Following the Subtle Current Upstream, Chocolate Sessions, Night Creature, and Revelations. Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress, 312-902-1500. Opens Wednesday, March 28, 7:30 PM. Through April 1: Thursday, 7:30 PM; Friday, 8 PM; Saturday, 2 and 8 PM; Sunday, 3 PM. $18-$52. Note: For the family matinee Saturday, children 18 and under receive a free ticket with the purchase of an adult ticket.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Paul Kolnik.