Alvin Ailey- Revelations Essay

Words: 2326
Pages: 10

Alvin Ailey’s Revelations was premiered in 1960 and is based on Alvin Ailey’s childhood memories of worshipping at his Baptist church in Texas. The music within Revelations is a compilation of African American spirituals which helps to develop the idea of the music that was played and sung in the small black churches near to where Alvin lived with his mother during his childhood. Throughout Revelations you see and feel a mixture of emotions as the story starts to unfold and you can see clearly the intensity of how much his life has influenced revelations largely.
Revelations is split up into three sections and each section has three or four sub-sections. Section 1 entitled Pilgrim of sorrow contains ‘I’ve been buked’, ‘didn’t my lord
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Section 2 is linked very directly to Alvin Ailey as it is influenced by his baptism as a child and the journey he went on. The opening of Section two is the ‘Processional’ which portrays the journey of going to the baptism.
In the ‘Processional’ the lighting is very light and blue and white which makes it seem pure and reflects the idea of the water within the baptism. The lighting remains the same throughout Section two which contrasts largely to Section 1. Within the ‘Processional’ there are uses of props which are seen as baptismal agents to create purity. There is a women figure holding and umbrella who is seen as the deaconess and is there to almost over see them. There is also the use of branches which are used to sweep the earth to get rid of any debris and cloths to cleanse the sky. The costumes are all white and floaty which reflects the purity and the movement of the water. It also relates it back to religion as white is used in marriage as well as baptism. Within the choreography of the ‘Processional’ there is a large afro-Caribbean influence with the use of the Dunham style walk which is flat footed. This helps to suggest the religious ceremony and the importance. There is a variety of spinning which suggest excitement and the repetition of key elements such as the Dunham Style walks makes it seem more realistic and emphasises it