Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Under the artistic direction of Robert Battle, ALVIN AILEY® AMERICAN DANCE THEATER offers something for every taste: from the pulse-racing thrill of new works by some of the world’s best choreographers to the spirit-lifting joy of Mr. Ailey’s beloved classic, Revelations. The New Yorker declared “the company is dancing better than ever” and The New York Times proclaimed them “sleek, athletic masters of the universe.” Experience it for yourself as America’s most popular dance company returns for just two performances.ALVIN AILEY® AMERICAN DANCE THEATER’s Antonio Douthit-Boyd. Photos by Andrew Eccles
ALVIN AILEY® AMERICAN DANCE THEATER grew from a now-fabled performance in March 1958 at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. Led by Alvin Ailey and a group of young African-American modern dancers, that performance changed forever the perception of American dance. The Ailey company has gone on to perform for an estimated 23 million people in 48 states and 71 countries on six continents — as well as millions more through television broadcasts. In 2008, a U.S. Congressional resolution designated the Company as “a vital American cultural ambassador to the world” that celebrates the uniqueness of the African-American cultural experience and the preservation and enrichment of the American modern dance heritage. Although he created 79 ballets over his lifetime, including the American masterpiece Revelations, Mr. Ailey maintained that his company was not exclusively a repository for his own work. Today, the Company continues Mr. Ailey’s mission by presenting important works of the past and commissioning new ones. In all, more than 200 works by over 80 choreographers have been part of the Ailey company’s repertory. Before his untimely death in 1989, Alvin 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 Washington Post declared he “has the troupe’s forward momentum well in hand.”
Saturday, March 22: Chroma / Minus 16 / Revelations
Sunday, March 23: LIFT / Petite Mort, Strange Humors / Revelations
Wayne McGregor’s contemporary ballet is full of sensory suprises: sumptuous movement, a driving score by Joby Talbot with orchestrations of songs by The White Stripes, and a luminous set by minimalist architect John Pawson.
About Minus 16
Featuring an eclectic score ranging from Dean Martin to mambo, techno to traditional Israeli music, Ohad Naharin’s Minus 16 uses improvisation and Naharin’s acclaimed “Gaga” method, a unique movement language that breaks down old habits, pushing the dancers to challenge themselves in new ways. The work is unique in the Ailey repertory for removing the barrier between performers and spectators. “Minus 16 not only delights in its own wackiness, but also celebrates the joy of dancing,” said the San Francisco Chronicle. The piece has elements of unpredictability and fun that makes each performance of Minus 16 delightfully different.
Using African-American spirituals, song-sermons, gospel songs and holy blues, Alvin Ailey’s Revelations 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. Seeing Revelations for the first time or the hundredth can be a transcendent experience, with audiences cheering, singing along and dancing in their seats from the opening notes of the plaintive “I Been ’Buked” to the rousing “Wade in the Water” and the triumphant finale, “Rocka My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham.”
This propulsive world premiere by in-demand choreographer Aszure Barton accentuates the vitality and physical prowess of the Ailey company. Driven by the dancers’ passion, skill and collective power, the work was created over a 5-week developmental process with the entire Company. The percussive score, composed by Curtis Macdonald, is infused with the infectious energy and heart that she observed in her initial encounters with the Ailey dancers.
About Petit Mort
Visual surprises abound in this tantalizing contemporary ballet, which blends a classical sensibility with a bold, modern wit. The choreography includes six men, six women, and six fencing foils. The foils are, in many ways, the men’s real dancing partners and sometimes turn out to be more stubborn and willful than a human partner. Kylián also makes playful use of black baroque dresses, which seem to exist both separately from the dancers and molded to their bodies.
About Strange Humors
Equal parts comedic and combative, Artistic Director Robert Battle’s Strange Humors is an eccentric, jocular display for two dancers. Composer John Mackey, with whom Battle is a frequent collaborator, provides a fiery score propelled by elements of African hand drumming and Middle Eastern folk music.