“During rehearsals my conversations with Jeanguy will be about what his message is, what the movement is saying, his creative process,” said Al Crawford lighting director for the Alvin Ailey America Dance Theater. Crawford, who has also recently had the honor of lighting the White House State Dinners for Mexico and China, is donating his services to light the Ayikodans performances taking place May 21 and 22 at the Adrienne Arsht Center of the Performing Arts.
Al Crawford, Alvin Ailey Dance Theater Lighting Director
Crawford will travel to Port-au-Prince where he will spend three days studying the rehearsals with Ayikodans‘ founder and choreographer Jeanguy Saintus.
“I know that this work has a lot to do with the Haitian experience,” said Crawford. “When I’m there, I will find out from the dancers, from the people, what that experience is and how he wants to address that in the work.”
For Crawford, light and life are intricately intertwined.
“At birth and as children ultimately, we associate feelings and emotions with light.”
It’s no surprise Crawford pays such close attention to detail. The Alvin Ailey Dance Theater solidified its mark in American history by capturing the African American Cultural experience. Ayikodans’ dancers express their culture through Saintus’ dance style, which blends Haitian-Contemporary technique with folk performance, improvisation, voodoo religious culture, along with varying African, indigenous Indian and French influences.
Crawford and Saintus will also discuss technical details such as when dancers will be positioned downstage or a group number set in a large area; whether someone will move on a diagonal. “This is how can I create an environment, a piece of architecture or a color that will support whatever his message is.”
Credit Photo: AAADT in Alvin Ailey's Revelations. Photo by Paul Kolnik
Crawford aims to use his expertise as a way to support the Ayikodans with light “to make it even stronger, more powerful.”