AILEY II impresses, surprises Eastern students at Doudna


Ashanti Thomas

The Company dance together in the “PSUKHE” performance of AILEY II in the Theatre of Doudna Fine Arts Center on Thursday night.

Drew Coffey, Campus Reporter

The renowned group of dancers from AILEY II were met with a packed house on Thursday night at the Doudna Fine Arts Center.  

AILEY II is a studio of dancers and performers from all around the country that bring fresh perspectives and passion to their craft. The show presented four separate performances blending various forms of music and interpretive dances.   

According to junior English education major Madison Mills, she said she was very entertained throughout the performance as an audience member.  

 “I’m not a big dance person in general,” Mills said. “So I genuinely was like on the edge of my seat the whole performance.”  

Mills also said there were aspects of the show that she was not expecting when the lights dimmed.  

“I definitely was expecting more of a classical approach,” Mills said. “I just found that it was very edgy, and it felt very contemporary. It was very emotional. For me, at least, it was the first time I’d seen any kind of fine arts performance in like forever, so I just loved it.”

Isabella Nantes, a sophomore public relations major, said she was very impressed with the show despite having seen it before.  

“I liked their costuming and the lighting,” Nantes said. “Everything really played a huge role into the way they were able to communicate the movements.”

“They all just have incredible athleticism and control over all of their motions,” Nantes said. “So I feel like they have such a high sense of professionalism.”  

Dennis Malak, the director of programming, publicity and promotion at the Doudna Fine Arts Center, said that the group did not disappoint.  

“Their reputation precedes them,” said Malak. “They’re a phenomenal group of dancers and just tremendous athletes.” 

Malak credited the group’s physical ability as well as the choreography in the show’s success.  

“They’re known, I would say, for their excellent choreography and technique,” Malak said. “Their body control and their ability to make the incredibly difficult, easy and fluid.”

Malak said that the creative blend of music and choreography was what drove him to contact the group to perform at Eastern.  

“I just thought it would be something spectacular to have here at Eastern to expose our students to,” Malak said.” We offered a free masterclass this afternoon that a lot of community members and Eastern students got to take advantage of.”  

Malak said that the uniqueness of the show made it more enjoyable artistically and allowed it to appeal to different audiences. 

“The lighting was exquisite as well, and it really highlighted their movements and helped tell the story of everything,” Malak said. “And one of the joys of art is that you’re interpreting what it is and so everybody’s experience is slightly different and unique. But everyone has that same captivated feeling and they’re drawn to it, which is really powerful.”


Drew Coffey can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].