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February 22, 1980 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 1980-02-22

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Page 6-Friday, February 22, 1980-The Michigan Daily

Alvin Ailey.

at a turning point?

By KATIE HERZFELD
The plastic smile worn by a lead dan-
cer in Night Creature, the first of four
works presented by the Alvin Ailey
Company Wednesday night at Detroit's
Music Hall, typified much of the
evening's performance; the smile was
brilliant, but not heartfelt.
Choreographed by Ailey to a Duke
Ellington symphony of the same title,
Night Creature (1975) is a plotless
reminiscent of West Side Story's roof-
top dancers. Dressed in sequined
costumes streaked blue, the company
synchronizes slinky hip movements,
men and women play the meat game,
and then with exceptional shoulder

Allen and Michihiko Oka convey the
violent passions of their characters in
love. These two can't live with each
other or without each other - perhaps
because there is too little reaching, too
little trying to know one another beyond
passion.
Performing to the sometimes grating
sounds of Igor Stravinsky's Concertina
for String Quartet, the inconspicuously
clad couple did not allow the frustration
in their relationship to climax. The pain
expressed in the Lubovitch s
choreography was seen in the dancers'
muscles, but it didn't extend to their
faces.
LES NOCES, another work by Lar
Lubovitch, is about an arranged
marriage, perhaps a century ago, in a
Russian village. While the peasant
costumes and the company's acting are
convincing and the technical precision
is first rate, this ballet, like the two
preceding it, fails to provide an outlet
for influences within these dancers'
personalities that are Afro-American.
The story unfolds when four women,
sitting on a bench, release onto the
ground the bride-to-be who has been
lying stiff across their laps. The woman
wrestles with and also seeks strength
from the earth while her husband-to-be
explores the prospect of marriage. Soon
the couple is thrust together. But they
are strangers to one another, and em-
barassed at their strangeness. With this
wedding ceremony, a history is passed
on and two individual family histories
end. But life is just beginning for the
young couple who may now contribute
to and partake of their culture's
evolution. And hope is renewed for their
parents.
WITH THE evening's last perfor-
mance, Suite Otis, the company comes

alive. The curtain rises to Otis Red-
ding's "Just One More Day"
(choreographed by George Faison, the
ballet is a tribute to Redding), with the
dancers hardly moving their bodies.
But there is an honest expression here
and finally I feel these peoples' pride in
themselves, their love of their culture,
their love of loving.
Dressed in hot pink pantsuits, five
men wriggle their hips in a sexually
frank manner that technically
speaking, is no different from the
movement in Night Creature. But this
time, accompanied by "I Can't Turn
You Loose" and a theme of love, the
dancers received "Wooh Yeahs!" from
the audience.
In a later section of the suite, Marilyn
Banks and Masazumi Chaya duet to
"Lover's Prayer." The couple forms a
bridge while dancing cheek-to-cheek.
When Chaya reaches for his partner's
derriere, Banks snaps at him, "What-
chyou doing?" but she likes him still.
Exquisitely theyextend to one another;
Chaya lifts Banks and she seems to
grow, in love. The audience, too, is
uplifted when the couple's fights work
into finger snapping, upbeat boogie.
Marilyn Banks radiates yet more
when she and four other women dance
to "Satisfaction," the ballet's fourth
movement. Banks seems to burst out of
her frame with extra hips as she
maneuvers them, wildly, and jeers at
herself, her friends, and the audience.
With 'sucked-in cheeks and bulging
eyes, this woman shows her love of life
and dancing - and she allows the
audience to celebrate with her.
MY BACKGROUND is not Afro-
American, but I am moved by Suite
Otis. I feel, as an audience member, a
universal celebration of life, this time
expressed in a style culturally different

from my own. i can empathize with
such celebration though, and gain
respect for and understanding of the
Afro-American culture when its presen-
tation is heartfelt by the performers.
To me, art - whether it be music,
theatre, sculpture, dance, whatever -
is a sharing of personal, and perhaps
political history. It is for cultures to ex-
tend to one another and to bask, univer-
sally, in the glory of life. Am I asking,
then, in panning a black rendition of a
European story and in praising a black
dance company's revelie in its own
history, for segregation of cultures?
No. But I am asking, if Alvin Ailey'sG
American Dance Theatre doesn't dance
its history, who will then?
The 21-year-old company, begun as
an all-black troupe and now famous for
it including Caucasian and Oriental
dancers, may now be at a turning point,
as it includes in its repertoire ballets
from other cultures. Indeed this is
commendable and further demon-
strates these dancers' flexibility. But
artists are most creative and audience
inspiring when they present an ex-E
pression of their personal histories; the
personal is political.
PERHAPS Wednesday night's
greatest shortcoming was a poor plan
of program. Had the works been more
diverse (a solo maybe? an all male
piece? an all female piece?), I might
have been more satisfied and better
appreciated the technical beauty of the
company's performance of Time
Before and Les Noces.
I still look forward to Ailey's next
Detroit visit and I recommend that you
decide for yourself about the- com-
pany's new style. Tickets are still
available for this weekend's perfor-
mances.

A PRIMER IN ESSA Y-EXAM WRITING:

Gettin'rid of those midterm blues

SHE THEN handed out a sample They can pick out things that you either
reading, and asked students to pick out forgot or didn't catch."
key words once again, in the same "You should split up the cram time -
'The best way to study for the midterm
is with your friends. They can pick out,
things that you either forgot or didn't
catch.'
Emily Golson,
English Composition Board Lecturer
manner as they might if they were divide the readings, and pick out the
taking notes from a lecturer. Some of key words." After all the students have
the important words in the reding were done a share of the cramming, Golson
"aristocracy," "Appomattox," and continued, they should get together and
"reconciliation." The idea, she said, compare notes. She said the study
was to formulate possible essay session should last a couple of hours.
questions from the two lists. "NOW COMES the day of the exam.
"To check out and see if your , There are basically two kinds of essay
questions are valid," Golson said, exams. There's the essay exam where
"check and see if your professor's key everything is weighted equally, and

then there's the kind where one
question is worth five points and one is
worth 15 points, and so on," she said.
For the equally-weighted exam,
Golson counseled the students to "read
the entire exam, and do the easiest
question first. Your subconscious will
be working on the harder questions."
She suggested a different tack for
exams with questions worth differing
numbers of points. For those, she said,
students should start with the most
heavily-weighted question, and work on
each question for a time proportional to
its worth on the exam.
Golson gave a few other pointers for
doing well on essay exams in general.
She said to read the entire exam first,
and to allow ten minutes for
proofreading at the end. She also said t
scan for words that are indicative of an
argument such as "firstly,"
"moreover," "however," "never-
theless," and "in conclusion." "It gives
the reader of your exam some
reassurance that you answered the
question," she said.

Militants: No hosages4
released without shah

(Continued from Page 1)
radio, the militants said the United
States "must deliver up fugitive
Mohammad Reza and the assets he has
stolen."
Meanwhile, Tehran Radio reported
yesterday that a bomb blast in the
southwest Iran city of Khorramshahr
killed five persons and injured 39. The

blast occurred at the offices of the Red
Lion and Sun, Iran's equivalent of the
Red Cross, where flood relief was being
organized, the broadcast said.
Khorramshahr is in an area where
Arab dissidents have waged a violen
campaign against the central gover
nment.
Several people were injured in -
Tehran and other Iranian cities during
disturbances between members of the
Mohajedin Khalkh Party and uniden-
tified "opponents," Tehran Radio said.
The report said the party staged
authorized rallies in Tehran, Tabriz,
Shiraz, Ardebil, Urumiyeh and Bushehr
to protest next month's parliamentar
elections. The Mohajedin is a radica;
Moslem socialist party whose leaders
have criticized the power assumed by
the clergy after Iran's Islamic
Revolution and whose candidates were
barred from political office because the
party boycotted the referendum on the
nation's new Islamic constitution- last
fall.

_. _ .

Nick
Nalte

Sissy
Spacek

John
Heard

I

They didn't do
anything wrong.
They just
did it first.

UPPER
LEVEL

Audiences on four continents have thrilled to the

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