Oh Samuel Lee Roberts, you beautiful Alvin Ailey dancer

Samuel-Lee-RobertsNarrow-Paul-Kolnik-copy-462x1024The pleasure of watching the splendid and just-gorgeous dancers of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre at the company’s opening night performance at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion drove home how much time I have been spending looking at images of dancers on a computer.

And how that is not the real deal. To get the full brunt of dance, you gotta see it in the theater, in real time, with an audience.

One special sequence brought particular joy: the looong opening moments of Ohad Naharin’s dance pastiche, Minus 16, which last night benefited from the excellence of one man’s solo improvisation.

His name, Samuel Lee Roberts, his Ailey company bio here.

This gentleman’s silken wriggling and loose and confident presence, clad in a dark business suit alone on stage while pulsing to Nahrin’s lounge-lizard score (replete with mambo music), was a joy to behold. His low-key, deadpanned manner, his killing of time in a dancerly fashion with house lights half-dimmed… is it the show? is it still intermission? On and on he plodded. But when dance doyenne Glorya Kaufman entered the hall and took her seat, “Minus 16” kicked in, in earnest. And the mayhem that broke loose is captured in the photo below.

minus-16-ailey
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre | Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at the Music Center | Dorothy Chandler Pavilion | thru Sunday

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