Pictured above: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Samantha Figgins and Jeroboam Bozeman/Photo by Andrew Eccles.
Alvin Ailey Dance Theater returns to the Fox Theatre this month, Feb. 20-23, for “Ailey Revealed,” a weekend of three programs over six shows, featuring 32 dancers.
The company will perform two world premiere pieces exploring topical issues, including “Greenwood” from choreographer Donald Byrd, and “Ode” by Ailey Dancer and Resident Choreographer Jamar Roberts.
“It is my pleasure to bring the unique perspectives of so many important choreographers to the Fox stage, especially the powerful voices of Donald Byrd, examining the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, and Resident Choreographer Jamar Roberts, creating an ode to all those impacted by gun violence. I know the brilliance of Ailey’s dancers will bring Atlantans to their feet as they continue to further Alvin Ailey’s legacy of holding up a mirror to society while uplifting hearts and minds with their unparalleled artistry.”– Robert Battle, Artistic Director, Alvin Ailey Dance Theater
Opening Night and “Ode” Premiere – Two Shows
The opening night program on Thursday, Feb. 20 unveils Ailey dancer and Resident Choreographer Jamar Roberts’ “Ode”– a meditation on the beauty and fragility of life in a time of growing gun violence.
Like his critically-acclaimed “Members Don’t Get Weary” (2017), this work for six dancers features his own costume designs and a jazz score–Don Pullen’s “Suite (Sweet) Malcolm (Part 1 Memories and Gunshots).”
Other works gracing the opening program include Artistic Director Emerita Judith Jamison’s “Divining”, a revival of her first major choreographic effort which incorporates African polyrhythms and complex movement, as well as Alvin Ailey’s timeless classic “Cry”, the 16-minute tour-de-force solo choreographed as a birthday present to his mother and dedicated to “all black women everywhere–especially our mothers.”
The opening night performance is also WSB-TV’s Family 2 Family Night.
This program repeats on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 8 p.m.
“Greenwood” Premiere – Two Shows
The Friday, Feb. 21 program debuts Donald Byrd’s “Greenwood,” a riveting ensemble work that draws on the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre as a source.
Set to music by Israeli violist and composer Emmanuel Witzthum, “Greenwood” navigates through one of the worst incidents of racial violence in U.S. history and explores the story through different lenses of those who were affected.
A Tony Award nominee (The Color Purple), Bessie Award-winner (The Minstrel Show), and 2019 Doris Duke Artist Award recipient, Byrd is celebrated for exploring complex societal issues through dance. The lasting impact of a teacher’s influence on a young child is at the heart of the exuberant opening work – Darrell Grand Moultrie’s “Ounce of Faith.”
This program also repeats on Sunday, Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m.
“BUSK” and “City of Rain” Premieres – Two Shows
The matinee programs on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 2 p.m. (Family Matinee performance with a Q&A with Ailey dancers) and Sunday, Feb. 23 at 3 p.m. feature company premieres of Aszure Barton’s dazzling “BUSK,” an episodic look at the nature of performance and the vulnerabilities that artists face in revealing themselves onstage, and Camille A. Brown’s quietly lyrical “City of Rain,” a work honoring a close friend that passed away due to an illness that paralyzed him from the waist down. Brown uses the physicality and vulnerability of 10 dancers to share his story.
This program also includes the return of repertory favorite “A Case of You,” an emotional and sensual duet by Judith Jamison.
In addition to both exciting premieres, the inspiring finale of all programs will be Alvin Ailey’s American masterpiece “Revelations,” acclaimed around the world for sending hearts soaring and lifting audiences to their feet. Since its debut in 1960, “Revelations” has been seen by more people than any other modern dance work and has moved audiences around the world through its powerful storytelling and soul-stirring music, evoking timeless themes of determination, hope, and transcendence. Springing from Ailey’s childhood memories of growing up in the south and attending services at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Texas, “Revelations” pays homage to the rich cultural heritage of the African-American and explores the emotional spectrum of the human condition.
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