Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

June 15 - 19, 2022

 

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returns with “a deeper urgency and radiance” (New York Times) in four captivating programs that will exhilarate and electrify audiences. All performances end with Alvin Ailey’s Revelations, the beloved masterpiece that “cannot fail to move” (Vogue).

Contemporary Creators shines a spotlight on two of today’s most provocative voices, Aszure Barton and Resident Choreographer Jamar Roberts.

The Ailey Spirit Gala brings together Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the rising stars of tomorrow from Ailey II, The Ailey School, and AileyCamp for an unforgettable evening of works by Ailey Artistic Director Robert Battle.

Masterful Movement juxtaposes the work of 20th century masters Alvin Ailey and Paul Taylor with 21st century visionary Robert Battle.

Battle 10th Anniversary celebrates Artistic Director Robert Battle’s decade at the helm of Ailey with some of his best-loved works.

 

Contemporary Creators

Wednesday, June 15 at 7:30pm and Saturday, June 18 at 8:00pm

BUSK

Aszure Barton’s ensemble work is a dazzling, episodic look at the nature of performance and the vulnerabilities that artists face in revealing themselves onstage. 

In a Sentimental Mood (W)

An intimate scene from the domestic life of a couple becomes an exploration of love and desire in Resident Choreographer Jamar Roberts’ world premiere. Using an original composition by Duke Ellington and four jazz standards given an avant-garde twist by composer Rafiq Bhatia, Roberts bridges the past and present, making these musical classics freshly relevant and timely.

Revelations 

Using African-American spirituals, song-sermons, gospel songs and holy blues, Alvin Ailey’s masterpiece fervently explores the places of deepest grief and holiest joy in the soul. More than just a popular dance work, it has become a cultural treasure, beloved by generations of fans. 

The Ailey Spirit Gala

Thursday, June 16 at 7:00pm

This spectacular one-night-only event brings together Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the rising stars of tomorrow from Ailey II, The Ailey School, and AileyCamp, all performing works by Ailey Artistic Director Robert Battle. Proceeds from the evening support Ailey’s vital programs for young people, including scholarships for talented students of The Ailey School and innovative Arts In Education & Community Programs. 

A soiree on the promenade follows the performance. 

Gala tickets, which include the performance and soiree, range from $750-$2,000. To order, visit alvinailey.org/support/ailey-spirit-gala 

Masterful Movement

Friday, June 17 at 8:00pm and Sunday, June 19 at 3:00pm

The Friday performance will celebrate dancer Jacqueline Green.

The River (N)

By turns muscular and lyrical, The River is a sweeping full-company work that suggests tumbling rapids and meandering streams on a journey to the sea. Ailey’s allegory of birth, life and rebirth abounds with water references, from the spinning “Vortex” solo to the romantic “Lake” duet. The choreography demonstrates Ailey’s admiration for classical ballet, but retains the modern and jazz influences found in all his work. The grandeur of the dancing is matched by the music, which was Duke Ellington’s first symphonic score written for dance.

DUET (C)

Paul Taylor’s 1964 DUET, set to the music of Franz Josef Haydn, is a testament to the simplicity and clarity of his craft. Brief and beautifully shaped, it portrays a love, perhaps not new, but rather tried and true.

Mass

The idea for this mesmerizing dance came to choreographer Robert Battle at a choral concert where he became absorbed by how the singers moved as a unit. In response, he created an endlessly inventive work that deconstructs the chorus, giving physical life to John Mackey’s haunting percussion score.

Excerpts from Pas de Duke (Friday evening only)

Alvin Ailey’s modern dance translation of a classical pas de deux captures the sassy sophistication of Duke Ellington’s jazz music. The choreography is elegant and deliciously flirtatious, showing off the dancers’ exuberance and virtuosity as they engage in a playful game of one-upmanship.

Revelations

Using African-American spirituals, song-sermons, gospel songs and holy blues, Alvin Ailey’s masterpiece fervently explores the places of deepest grief and holiest joy in the soul. More than just a popular dance work, it has become a cultural treasure, beloved by generations of fans.

Battle 10th Anniversary

Saturday, June 18 at 2:00pm

A free Q&A with Robert Battle will follow this performance         

 

Mass

The idea for this mesmerizing dance came to choreographer Robert Battle at a choral concert where he became absorbed by how the singers moved as a unit. In response, he created an endlessly inventive work that deconstructs the chorus, giving physical life to John Mackey’s haunting percussion score.

In/Side

Set to Nina Simone’s haunting rendition of the Oscar-nominated song "Wild is the Wind," In/Side offers audiences an intimate look at a man’s most private struggles. Artistic Director and choreographer Robert Battle noted that it was Alvin Ailey himself who said that the greatest works of art are the most personal. With this solo, he aimed to evoke a sense of openness that he says “reminds us that we’re not alone in our feelings of sadness and isolation and gives us a connection to someone else.”

Ella

Using a live concert recording of Fitzgerald performing the song “Airmail Special,” Robert Battle’s high-energy, comical dance matches the iconic singer’s virtuosic scatting with lightning-fast, articulated movement in an irresistible tour-de-force that leaves audiences (and the dancers) breathless.

For Four (W)

Take four amazing Ailey dancers and add in Wynton Marsalis’ delicious jazz score – written in 4/4 time – and you’ll understand why Robert Battle cheekily titled this exuberant short work For Four. Capturing the pent-up energy of a world cooped up during the pandemic, Battle expresses the drive to perform and the electricity of dancers coming together to create.

Unfold (N)

Artistic Director Robert Battle’s sensuous, swirling duet evokes the tenderness and ecstasy in Gustave Charpentier’s aria “Depuis Le Jour” sung by the incomparable Leontyne Price. With its fluid grace, this gem exemplifies the choreographer’s skill for nuanced gesture and vivid imagery.

Takademe

Robert Battle’s bravura work mixes humor and high-flying movement in a savvy deconstruction of Indian Kathak dance rhythms. Clear shapes and propulsive jumps mimic the vocalized syllables of Sheila Chandra's syncopated score.

Love Stories finale

2004’s Love Stories was a collaboration among Artistic Director Emerita Judith Jamison, choreographer Rennie Harris, and Artistic Director Robert Battle. Inspired by the African concept of “Sankofa”, which teaches that “we don’t know where we’re going unless we know where we have been”, this extraordinary ballet celebrates the traditions of African American dance and the rich heritage of Alvin Ailey. In the ballet’s joyful finale, being presented as a standalone piece this season, Battle portrays a luminous future built on the lessons and legacy of the past.

Revelations 

Using African-American spirituals, song-sermons, gospel songs and holy blues, Alvin Ailey’s masterpiece fervently explores the places of deepest grief and holiest joy in the soul. More than just a popular dance work, it has become a cultural treasure, beloved by generations of fans.

 

(W) World premiere in 2021-22 season

(C) Company premiere in 2021-22 season

(N) New production in 2021-22 season 

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

When Alvin Ailey and a small group of African-American dancers took the stage on March 30, 1958 at New York City’s 92nd Street Y, the engagement was for one night only, but it turned out to be the start of a new era in the arts. Mr. Ailey envisioned a company dedicated to enriching the American modern dance heritage and preserving the uniqueness of the African-American cultural experience. He became one of the trailblazers of modern dance, and the work of his Company grew to encompass education, community outreach, and cultural diplomacy. To date, the Company has gone on to perform for an estimated 25 million people at theaters in 48 states and 71 countries on six continents—as well as millions more through television, film, and online. More than 270 works by over 100 choreographers have been part of the Ailey repertory. In 2008, a U.S. Congressional resolution designated the Company as “a vital American cultural ambassador to the world.” Before his untimely death in 1989, Mr. Ailey named Judith Jamison as his successor, and over the next 21 years, she brought the Company to unprecedented success. Ms. Jamison, in turn, personally selected Robert Battle to succeed her in 2011, and The New York Times declared he “has injected the company with new life.”

Top Photo: Jacqueline Green and James Gilmer. Photo by Dario Calmese.