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A veteran company presents an old favorite — and an uneven pair of Bay Area premieres

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Legacy of movement: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
PHOTO BY ANDREW ECCLES

Brown's Four Corners, apparently, is inspired by the apocalypse's four horsemen. I didn't see it except when some unseen forces, perhaps launched by a divine spirit, perhaps just a strong wind, appeared to animate and propel the performers on some kind of journey toward ecstasy. Brown's vocabulary has integrated modern dance and African influences like no other choreographer whom I can think of; it has become a language that starts inside and ripples out so that every part of the body seems to sing. The dancers open their torsos in every direction, giving in to the momentum, with their flexible arms turned into wings that keep them buoyed. Yet periodically, like birds alighting, they fold them on their backs and focus on the ground ahead of them.

Rushing is the leader on the lookout for his group of congregants; eventually, he leads them in a single-file procession toward who knows where. He is joined by the regal Linda Celeste Sims and the astounding Belen Pereyra, in an earth-colored outfit that lets you see every tremor, every shift of weight, and every searching glance.

Revelations is what it is, or perhaps not. This was the first time that I remember seeing a white dancer in this quintessential tribute to African American culture. The finale of the piece once again turned into a competition between the audience and the dancers. The audience won. "Rocka My Soul" got a repeat. *

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