The brilliant, critically acclaimed Moonlight is a piece of virtuosic filmmaking (hence its eight Oscar nominations)—and now it's inspired a work of dance virtuosity.
Moonlight x Ailey, a collaboration between Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater artistic director Robert Battle and composer Nicholas Britell, who created the score for the feature film, is two minutes of pure, powerful dance drama. It distills the movie's plot into a trio for Ailey's Jamar Roberts and Ailey School students Christopher Taylor and Jeremy T. Villas, who perform Battle's fluid choreography while bathed in blue light.
It's raw and beautiful and absolutely compelling. Watch:
Instagram is basically a dance-lover's paradise. Dancers are all about visuals, so a photo-sharing app is our idea of a playground. And that means a lot of big dance names (and organizations) are alllll over Instagram, giving us little peeks at their glamorous, artsy worlds.
Looking for inspiration? Well, first, give us a follow (@dancespiritmagazine)! And then check out our list of 10 other dance-tagrammers who won't disappoint.
@thejaquelknight (JaQuel Knight)
@RoyalOperaHouse (London's Royal Opera House)
A smorgasbord of beautiful images from The Royal Ballet and Royal Opera. (These are the Caterpillar's shoes from Christopher Wheeldon's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland!)
@travisova (Travis Wall)
A star in his own right, he also works with pretty much every amazing dancer you can think of—and his feed is full of them.
@miamicityballet (Miami City Ballet)
They let their dancers do the Instagramming, which makes for an interesting, ever-changing feed.
@thrurosecoloredlenses (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Jamar Roberts)
Unexpected perspectives on all things dance (and non-dance).
@allisonholker (Allison Holker)
A mix of pretty dance shots and the cutest family photos you've ever seen (because hello, her family is tWitch and her adorable munchkin of a daughter).
@gallimdance (Gallim Dance)
No brunch photos here. The innovative company's feed is all beautiful dancing, all the time.
The funniest bunhead 'grammer out there. Real World Ballerina speaks the truth!
@cloudskmz (Daniel "Cloud" Campos)
Our favorite commercial goofball's quirky sense of humor translates well to Instagram.
@janieclaire (New York City Ballet principal Janie Taylor)
Janie Taylor lives in a bizarre, wonderful world. We want to go to there.
Last night, I was able to snag a ticket to Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's "season preview" performance, a sampler of works from their upcoming New York City Center season. There was an excerpt from From Before, an earthy, polyrhythmic company premiere by legend Garth Fagan. There was the spankin' new Another Night by up-and-comer Kyle Abraham, set to Dizzy Gillespie's get-up-and-go jazz. Both pieces felt like classic AAADT fare: Vibrant, electric, seriously charismatic. Both, in other words, showed the audience a good time.
But when the company performed part of Jiří Kylián's Petite Mort, I almost lost my mind.
Are you already a Kylián fan? If not, it's time to get educated, and videos of Petite Mort are a fine place to start. (If you're a fan of "Breaking Pointe," it'll look familiar—the show included footage of Ballet West's recent performances of the piece.) Kylián, who was the director of Nederlands Dans Theater for decades, has a sleek, calligraphic style. He's especially gifted when it comes to partnering—his pas de deux are fantastically knotty and yet seamless strings of shapes. His path from point A to point B is never the obvious way, but eventually it feels like the only way.
Petite Mort is technically fiendish, and for that reason it's usually performed by top-notch ballet companies. Ailey dancers all have solid ballet training, but I wondered if this work might be a little out of their comfort zone.
How silly of me. The entire cast looked wonderful, with Jamar Roberts and Alicia Graf Mack shining especially bright. What a gorgeous, impossibly long-limbed, elegant dream team! Alicia used to be the star of Dance Theatre of Harlem, and Jamar has danced with Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Petite Mort showed off all their best classical qualities—those lines!—but they, and the rest of the Ailey cast, also brought a unique richness to the piece. These dancers weren't just taught how to move; they were born to move.
Ailey performs Petite Mort for the first time on December 7th. Get thee to New York City Center! (And for information about the rest of the season, click here.)