Alvin Ailey at Zellerbach Hall


The problem with seeing an amazing show is having to turn around and describe said amazing show. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is apparently indescribable, as I've been sitting here for an hour trying to think of ways to adequately convey the sharp mastery of Revelations or the Dr. Seuss-like appeal of a dude in blue spandex with a tall blue feather on his head. Company auditions must screen for men with coiled springs instead of muscles and women who swing through combinations with a dynamic grace, because that's precisely what you get. Toss them onstage with choreography by artistic director Judith Jamison and Ailey himself, and you get dance that moves toward the sublime.

The rotating program features several Bay Area premieres - Uptown, a tour of the Harlem Rennaissance (think Zora Neale Hurston, Josephine Baker, and the Charleston); Dancing Spirit, with music by Duke Ellington and Wynton Marsalis; and Among Us (Private Spaces: Public Places) where private stories are lived in an art gallery. Each performance will also feature Revelations, the company's signature piece that has earned a well-deserved place in the dance canon and, judging by the exclamations of poorly-concealed delight and not-so-illicit camera flashes last night, an enthusiastic batch of fans.

Through March 14 at Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley. Info and tickets at

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