Alvin Ailey's Revelations and Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake are two different styles of dance from very different points in history. Revelations is a contemporary dance and Swan Lake is a classical dance. Each dance has certain points that have made it critically acclaimed. They both incorporate different styles of dance but they do share a few characteristics. The stage props and the lighting seemed to be different in each performance. Swan Lake had a backdrop of a lake.
This was key for this dance. When the girls would turn back and forth from swans they would show a group of swans swim across the lake. This was very important for the audience to understand this very important transformation. The lighting in Swan Lake was a little bit brighter because it had more scenes where the entire stage needed to be illuminated. When the soloists were dancing they did not have a particular spotlight on them.
Revelations had a very plain set. This seemed to put more of a focus on the dancers instead of the atmosphere on stage. The backdrop was just a dark cloth with no pattern or picture. The lighting covered the entire stage when many dancers were performing at the same time. When soloists performed, a spotlight was focused on them to draw all the attention to the dance. The choreography in Ailey's dance was very interesting.
The dancers used the floor much more than Swan Lake. Swan Lake's dance movements seemed to be very apart from the floor. The females were always on their toes up off of the floor. The males were always leaping up off of the floor. Revelations used the floor very much.
It almost acted as an extension of the dancer. The costumes in Revelations were one of the most unique parts. The dresses that the females wore were very important to their part in the dance. They would make the long leg movements seem more graceful. The fabric of the skirt would follow the leg. This action made the dance a lot different than Swan Lake.
The females in Swan Lake wore tutus that exposed every leg movement. The relationship between the music and the dance was very different in the two performances. Swan Lake seemed to have a strictly structured format. The exact tempo and beat of the music governed what the dancers would do.
Revelations seemed to have a very loose style to it. The dancers own personality was brought out through their dancing. The music helped tell the events that were taking place but did not govern the dancers. The way the dancers related to each other and the audience was very different in each dance. Revelations gave a sense of connecting with their audience. They made eye contact with the cameras and seemed to give a few gestures towards the audience.
Swan Lake was completely opposite. They were just performing to perform. It seemed like the audience was not a part of the performance. The dancers related to each other almost the same in both performances.
They both had intricate general moves. The soloists also seemed to perform in a similar manner in both selections. The Gospel music and Spirituals in Ailey's choreography went together very well. The words expressed the actions of the dancers and added a lot more to the dance. It also made the dance a lot more interesting because the audience was sure of what was going on. The spoken word added a lot to the dance as well.
It gave the audience another added piece to concentrate on. In Swan Lake there was only instrumental music. This made the performance a little less interesting. It seemed to be missing that one thing that could have turned my opinion around.
Revelations was a great experience for me. I enjoyed watching it. I can tell that it is considered the all American modern dance classic. The choreography of the piece was amazing. I was particularly moved by the selection entitled "Fix Me, Jesus." When the man would pick up the woman it sent a message of a broken person. It was powerful because of the religious message that was conveyed.
I preferred Revelations to Swan Lake. Some of the more simple reasons are because of the better music, it was shorter and it did not seem to lag, and the dance moves were more appealing to me. I think that Alvin Ailey did a great job reworking the performance. I would definitely recommend this performance to my peers.