Esplanade for a New Era

Students of The Ailey School gave a superb dance performance the evening of January 12 to a packed house at The Ailey Citigroup Theater in New York City. Dancers from the Professional Performing Arts School, the Junior Division, Professional Division and Ailey/Fordham B.F.A programs all showed their love of performing, but the Ailey/Fordham freshmen who performed in exceprts of Takehiro Ueyama’s 2008 piece, Linked, caught my eyes in particular. Dancers in this piece exhibited an unequaled amount of stamina and a passion for movement that was extremely evident and infectious.

Roughly 15 minutes of running, jumping, falling, turning, running and more jumping, the excerpt of Ueyama’s piece was a perfect fit for fresh talent, ready to leap into the vast world of dance. With dancers clad in jeans, tees and tanks, the lighthearted and joyous mood of the piece—reminiscent of Paul Taylor’s Esplanade (1975)—seemed to celebrate humanity and new beginnings. It was wonderful to see the students smile and interact with one another on stage; and in return, most members of the audience were smiling back. It’s clear why Ueyama’s master classes in New York City this week are apparently full—the unbounded and expansive movements just looked fun. I hope the dancers bring this much energy to their daily classes, every performance and exam—their work in Linked proved that they have the potential to be unstoppable.

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