Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater



SIXTEEN years after his death, Alvin Ailey still features in his company's shows. During a particularly joyful routine, we hear a voiceover from the late African-American choreographer, asking his dancers to "hold a mirror to our society so they can see how beautiful they are". Well if we're half as beautiful as his dancers, then we're doing all right. It's more than 30 years since Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater visited Scotland, and their first time in Glasgow. Judging by the reaction, they'd better come back soon. Standing ovations, cheers, whistles and almost never-ending applause greeted the four dynamic works - crowd-pleasers all.

Shining Stars and Revelations held the most obvious appeal, both of which will be performed in Edinburgh next week. The latter is Ailey's signature piece, an uplifting ensemble dance which had the whole theatre clapping to rousing gospel songs. Set to the alternately funky and romantic sounds of Earth, Wind and Fire, Shining Stars received a round of applause before the dancers took a single step.

Dressed in dazzling white costumes, with colourful disco lights behind them, the dancers looked stunning. Mixing jazz, modern and ballet dance styles, the company were the epitome of cool.

What elevates the piece from 1970s discoland is the incredible technique - these dancers are capable of anything. Most crucially, they are ambassadors for the whole modern dance genre, proving unequivocally just how entertaining it can be.

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