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Alvin Ailey’ and Alexander Pushkin’ Views on the Modern Dance Essay


Alvin Ailey can be described as the person who changed people’s views on concert dancing. In particular, he greatly contributed to the popularization of the so-called modern dance which was developed at the beginning of the twentieth century. Moreover, as a choreographer, he was able to train dancers who could represent different styles and techniques such as jazz, ballet, or hip-hop. On the whole, Alvin Ailey can be viewed as a very courageous person who strived to find new forms of creativity and helped other people to fulfill their talents. This is the main argument that should be elaborated in greater detail.

One can say that Alvin Ailey grew up in the social environment, which suppressed black people as well as their creativity. It should be borne in mind that Alvin Ailey was born in 1931, and during childhood, he was distinctly aware of racial segregation which was widely practiced in Texas. His family moved from Texas to Los Angeles in 1942, and at the age of 18, he began attending the studio of Lester Horton. The students could practice various styles such as Native American dance as well as classical ballet (Perpener 196). Overall, the cooperation with Lester Horton shaped the professional career of Alvin Ailey because he could practice a variety of dancing techniques.

Furthermore, he became skilled in such areas as scene and costume design. After the death of Lester Horton, he became a director of the studio. At the time, very few people believed that Horton could be substituted by any other person. Nevertheless, Ailey was able to face this challenge and eventually achieve success. This is one of the aspects that can be identified.

Additionally, it is possible to argue that Alvin Ailey did not want to be restricted to only one style or technique. This narrow view of dancing was not acceptable to him. Overall, his philosophy can be best exemplified by analyzing his major choreographic works. Much attention should be paid to the famous performance called Revelations; it was first staged in 1960 (Gere 289). This production is based on such musical styles as spirituals and blues. Through this performance, he was able to popularize various aspects of modern dance, which was often viewed as an alternative to classical ballet. Nevertheless, this famous production also involved the elements of classical ballet and African dance. This eclecticism helped Ailey to create an outstanding work of choreography.

Apart from that, Alvin Ailey helped other dancers achieve creative success. One should mention that he did not want to restrict the improvisation of people who took part in his choreographic works. As it has been said before, they could represent different styles. In turn, Ailey often encouraged them to discovery unique movements that could be seamlessly incorporated into various performances. Due to his assistance, these people were able to express better their creativity. This is one of the points that can be made.

Overall, it is possible to say that Alvin Ailey managed to enrich the art of choreography because he did not want dancers to stay within the limits of only one style. The performance that he stages became renowned in different countries. More importantly, his ideas influenced the work of many other dancers who wanted to combine different techniques. These are the main aspects that can be singled out.

Art critics and journalists often focus on famous performers who are now renowned for their outstanding technique and creativity. Nevertheless, people who trained these dancers very seldom reach the spotlight. This argument is relevant if one speaks about Alexander Ivanovich Pushkin who worked at the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet. Overall, this ballet master played a definitive role in the career of many people who were later viewed as the most brilliant ballet dancers in the history of the twentieth century (Fandel 197). In particular, he helped them develop their dancing techniques into perfection; moreover, due to his assistance, they could better express their creativity on the stage. These are the major contributions of this individual, and they should be discussed in greater detail.

It should be noted that Alexander Pushkin taught in the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet (Sterling 43). Furthermore, he worked at the Mariinsky Theatre, which was also known as the Kirov Company. As an educator, he was able to work of the most talented dancers in the Soviet Union. Moreover, foreign dancers were willing to work with him or at least observe his lessons (Sterling 43). The main issue is that people can learn more about him, mostly through the recollections of his pupils. However, there are not many sources that are directly dedicated to his work or personal life. This is one of the points that can be made.

Among his most famous student, one can distinguish Mikhail Baryshnikov and Rudolf Nureyev. They are now regarded the dancers who shaped the history of ballet in the history of the twentieth century. Their performances are now viewed as genuine masterpieces. On the whole, Pushkin was able to recognize their talent. More importantly, he encouraged them to develop their unique movements even if these movements could significantly deviate from the traditional canon (Fandel 197). Furthermore, his instructional methods were later emulated by other choreographers who could work in different countries. This is another issue that should be distinguished.

Apart from that, his pupils valued his creative recommendations regarding the roles that they performed on the stage. Nevertheless, he did not try to impose his opinions on the dancers because he did not want to become an authority figure. In his opinion, rigid instruction could not facilitate the creativity of students (Fandel 197). At the same time, he made it very clear to them that the quest for perfection could never be complete, even if a person achieved international fame and success. This is one of the principles that Pushkin often postulated. This precaution helped his students to remain among the top ballet dancers for a very long time. Therefore, Pushkin profoundly shaped their students’ attitude to work; These are some of the major details that can be considered.

On the whole, this discussion shows that in the history of theatre, there are many important figures who are very underestimated. Alexander Pushkin can be viewed as a brilliant educator who could spot and perfect the talent of other people. He could emphasize both technical excellence and creativity. Moreover, he could provide valuable examples that assisted his pupils in achieving excellence. Therefore, it is possible to say Alexander Ivanovich Pushkin is an important figure in the history of ballet.

 

Works Cited

Fandel, Jennifer. Rudolf Nureyev, New York, The Creative Company, 2006. Print.

Gere, David. How to Make Dances in an Epidemic: Tracking Choreography in the Age of AIDS, Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2004. Print.

Perpener, John. African-American Concert Dance: The Harlem Renaissance and Beyond. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2001. Print.

Sterling, Mary. The Seventies. New York: Teacher Created Resources, 1998. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2020, May 15). Alvin Ailey' and Alexander Pushkin' Views on the Modern Dance. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/alvin-ailey-and-alexander-pushkin-views-on-the-modern-dance/

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"Alvin Ailey' and Alexander Pushkin' Views on the Modern Dance." IvyPanda, 15 May 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/alvin-ailey-and-alexander-pushkin-views-on-the-modern-dance/.

1. IvyPanda. "Alvin Ailey' and Alexander Pushkin' Views on the Modern Dance." May 15, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/alvin-ailey-and-alexander-pushkin-views-on-the-modern-dance/.


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IvyPanda. "Alvin Ailey' and Alexander Pushkin' Views on the Modern Dance." May 15, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/alvin-ailey-and-alexander-pushkin-views-on-the-modern-dance/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Alvin Ailey' and Alexander Pushkin' Views on the Modern Dance." May 15, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/alvin-ailey-and-alexander-pushkin-views-on-the-modern-dance/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Alvin Ailey' and Alexander Pushkin' Views on the Modern Dance'. 15 May.

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