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    Revelations: Dance and Gospel Music Essay

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    Introduction Alvin Alley was a choreographer who founded the Alvin Alley American Dance Theater in 1958. It was a hugely popular, multi-racial modern dance ensemble that popularized modern dance around the world thanks to extensive world tours. His most famous dance is Revelations, a celebratory study of religious spirit. Alley received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1988. Alley’s philosophy to art is clear in his work – he desired his performers to follow his meticulous choreography, but have each performer express that choreography in their own style.

    He use as a stimulus about the fact that the suffering and hardship faced by African Americans and feudalism and slavery. Revelations tells the story of African-American faith and tenacity from slavery to freedom through a suite of dances set to spirituals and blues music. Revelations is divided into three sections “Pilgrims of Sorrow”, “Take Me to the Water” and “Move Members, Move”. As an example, The opening section of Revelations. Alley described this section as “songs that yearn for deliverance, that speak of trouble and of this oral’s trials and tribulations. The mood is reflected in unique gestures with heads bowed down and forward and heavy bodies reaching powerfully upward. The somber music and the lighting effects (by lighting designer Nicola Chronometric) and brown and skin toned costuming help with this. The second section features an enactment of a ceremonial baptism. A large group of dancers clad in white sweep onto the stage as baptismal agents?a tree branch to sweep the earth and a white cloth to cleanse the sky?lead a processional to the stream of purification.

    To the trains of “Wade in the Water” a devotional leader bearing a large umbrella baptizes a young couple at a river, represented by yards of billowing blue silk stretched across the stage. A raucous ceremony is followed by the meditative solo “l Want Be Ready”, which communicates a devout man’s preparations for death. Lastly, In Move Members, Move, The final section celebrates the liberating power of 20th-century gospel music.

    This section includes the propulsive men’s trio “Sinner Man” and the famous “Yellow” section, set in a southern Baptist rural church. Eighteen dancers in yellow costumes enact a church service with fans and stools. Stretched across the stage with torsos proudly lifted, the dancers embody the Joy of faith contained by complex stepping patterns performed in unison. VARIETY OF ELEMENTS (BODY) Firstly, the movements being shown within the video, are continuous arm swaying, spins, constructions and waving. However, these movements are manipulating the experience.

    As an example, A part of the dance piece, which is showing the trio of two omen and one male are showing their pain they have faced through sudden pulsing of the upper torso and contractions and releases and also the way they’ve used their body to imitate water. Secondly, the use of fabric and the use of umbrella Revelations: Dance and Gospel Music By railways the water looked liked. Thirdly, for aural settings, gospel music have been provided in order to work well with the movements as it is ritual and the visual settings to relate with the religious music.

    The music have been chosen to symbolize the experience of African-Americans. As an example, In “I’ve Been Bucked!! ” nine dancers work in hushed accord, performing a ritual of communal introspection. Lastly, the use of costumes symbolize African-American, with the women wearing flow costumes as the guys only wear flow pants as it creates an effect for the choreography. These costumes have been used, to convey water, the movements and the gospel music.

    CONCLUSION The choreography communicate the African-American experience, by their use of events, the use of aural and visual settings and the costumes followed by the dancers. As an example, the gospel music tells the story of African-American faith and tenacity from slavery to freedom through a suite of dances set to spirituals. In my opinion, the choreography have been outstanding as it conveys the elements of movements, visual and aural settings and costumes and dancers because the somber music and the lighting effects and brown and skin toned costuming help with this.

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    Revelations: Dance and Gospel Music Essay. (2017, Dec 07). Retrieved from

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