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A Tribute To Alvin Ailey DVD

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The legendary American choreographer Alvin Ailey is the subject of this well-balanced Tribute. Three of the four dances--"For Bird with Love", "Witness" and "Memoria"--are Ailey's, and the programme concludes with Ulysses Dove's "Episodes". Each is eloquently introduced by Judith Jamison, and each demonstrates the joyous, affectionate atmosphere which Ailey's work always seemed to generate. "For Bird with Love", a dance interpretation of the life of the seminal jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker, is probably the best known and best loved of the items presented here. Ailey always relied on an element of rather camp Broadway glitz to carry his ideas beyond the hardcore audience for modern dance, and much of the work presented here is closer to Cats than to Cunningham. Overall, though, these dances are superbly structured, graceful edifices which transcend their showbiz influences, and there are few examples of the craft that are so extrovertly welcoming to the viewer. --Roger Thomas

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