ALVIN AILEY COMPANY DANCER MAKES HIS CHOREOGRAPHIC DEBUT
Dwight Rhoden, a dancer in the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater since 1988, has made his choreographic debut with the company with "Frames." It shows a real spark of talent, individuality, and zest.
"Frames" is modern looking in the angularity of its moves. The ever-energetic quartet dancing it is allowed no lulls, and the audience can't daydream because they'd miss something if they did.
At last week's premiere at City Center here, Desmond Richardson, Danielle Gee, Renee Robinson, and Michael Thomas danced with four white kitchen chairs and three bouquets of plastic red roses, which they tossed around.
One of the striking moments has the two men placing two chairs facing each other. Then they jump toward each other, over the chair backs, landing on the chair seats. But the dance isn't all stunts or gymnastics.
The lighting by Daniel Bonitsky and Rhoden was equally inventive and effective. In one segment, a triangle of red is focused on one chair and dancer, a rectangle of blue on another, and a splash of green on the other two dancers. Often one dancer moved in light while the other three could be seen dancing farther back in dim light.
Music was recorded by seven composers, from percussionist to singer. Emilio Sosa designed the sleek costumes. Mr. Rhoden dedicated "Frames" to the memory of Alvin Ailey, a pioneer of modern dance and mentor to a number of gifted African-American and Hispanic dancers, some of whom have gone on to form their own companies.