Magazine article Dance Spirit

HOW-TO Revelations

Magazine article Dance Spirit

HOW-TO Revelations

Article excerpt

Learn the opening section of Alvin Ailey's iconic work.

See It in Action

This section doesn't rely solely on counts, and Horton techniquethe foundation of Ailey's choreographyis extremely specific. So before trying out the phrase, go to and watch our video of Fana Tesfagiorgis and Sylvia Waters breaking down each step with the music.


Stand in a wide second position, with your arms held out slightly from your body and your palms facing forward. Look upward, so your chin points toward the ceiling.


As the choir starts to sing, begin to roll your head back and to the right. Plié, reaching your right arm in a long downward diagonal away from your body, and draw your left hand upward along your rib cage.


As soon as you reach the bottom of your plié, begin to straighten your arms and legs, passing through the starting position before repeating the same movements to the left side.


When you get to the bottom of your second plié, reach your right hand toward the ceiling, continuing to look down past your left fingers. As soon as your right arm is straight, move back to standing by initiating the lift from the right side of your rib cage and sliding your right foot in to meet your left foot in a parallel first position.


Bring your left elbow in to your side and straighten your legs completely. Next, reach your left hand overhead to meet your right hand and look upward.


Lean forward and to the right-bending slightly at the waist-and trace two clockwise circles above your head. Keep your gaze on your hands. End with your hands above your head. …

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