DanceFeaturedReviewSouth West

Ailey 2: The Next Generation of Dance – Theatre Royal Plymouth

Reviewer: Indigo Cleverley

Artistic Director: Francesca Harper

Founded in 1974, Ailey 2 is a universally renowned dance company, known for merging the spirit and energy of the country’s best early-career dance talent and is returning to the UK for the first time since 2011.

Unlike many popular dance shows, this show doesn’t follow any specific narrative and is more of a compilation of dance numbers. However, each piece tells its own individual story, taking the audience on a generational journey of dance and passion.

ENEMY IN THE FIGURE (excerpt) (1989)

The show starts with a bang (literally) and we are propelled into this dark eerie atmosphere, accompanied by synth backing music (Thom Willems), which sounds like it’s plucked straight from a horror movie, and sinister, spectral sound effects. Dancers enter the stage from both sides and even when alone, command the entire stage and captivate the audience entirely. Their unbelievable flexibility and ease in morphing their body into foreign shapes is admirable and spectacular. Enemy in the Figure sets off the night magnificently with the mesmerising mystical movements and spectral undertone.


Contrastingly, this modern contemporary piece begins with ethereal enchanting music, creating a charming, alluring atmosphere – amplified by the bright lighting (Abby May) and forest-like setting. The dancers’ delicacy and fluidity of movement drives the performance forward and the effortless grace of lifts is beautiful. The sensitive use of music and lack thereof adds another layer to the aura established.

THE HUNT (2001)

Upbeat, angry and ritualistic, The Hunt lights up the stage in a fiery display of passion. Four female dancers conquer the stage with intense, sharp movements and powerful facial expressions, backed by fierce percussion which keeps you on the edge of your seat every second.


Choreographed by Alvin Ailey himself, Revelations is the perfect finale for this wonderful show with a myriad of dynamic, potent emotions conveyed through the choreography itself, perfectly executed lighting changes and variety of musical themes. A key element in this piece, and the whole show, is the trust the dancers have in one another and the chemistry shines through. Ending with a collective crowd-pleasing buoyant group number, the audience actively groove along to the beat.

Unique and distinctive, Ailey 2 is its own genre of dance theatre with an extremely talented group of young performers whose devotion and enthusiasm to the art is incontestable and commendable, taking us on an ardent, fervent voyage through different dance genres and styles.

Runs until 27th September 2023

The Reviews Hub Score

Mesmerising and Moving

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The Reviews Hub - South West

The Southwest team is under the editorship of John McRoberts. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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