Dance has long been a passion of mine, and the Alvin Ailey Company always seems to get it right. I first became a little obsessed with the company when high school bestie, Vic DiMonda, started teaching there decades ago.
I’ve been to see quite a few performances over the years (though I’m way overdue for another), and I always enjoy their work. However, my favorite piece of theirs has always been Pas de Duke, which I’ve seen a number of times.
Choreographed in 1976 as a showcase for Mikhail Baryshnikov, it’s been danced over and over by the company, and they’ve had the good sense to cast it beautifully, then let the dancers make of it what they will. The joy of the choreography combined with the mood of the Duke Ellington music has always spoken to me. And one of the things I like best about the duets are that they give the woman and the man equal sexual power, which may be relatively commonplace these days, but was certainly a radical idea in 1976.
I couldn’t find any video of the entire 16-minute work. The 2-minute video below was the best I could do. They’re back in Lincoln Center this Summer, and tickets start at $25, so maybe the video will inspire you to buy a ticket!