NEW YORK, Jan. 17, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, beloved as one of the world's most popular dance companies, will embark on a 21-city US tour from January 30 through May 19th. Following record-breaking performances in New York City that brought full houses to their feet, Ailey's second season led by Robert Battle will move audiences in major cities across the country, including: Washington, D.C.; Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; Los Angeles, CA; Newark, NJ; Boston, MA and Robert Battle's hometown Miami, FL, among many others.
Artistic Director Robert Battle continues to surprise and delight audiences with premieres and new productions that expand his vision for the company, adding dynamic choreographic voices to the repertory that give Ailey's extraordinary artists new ways to inspire.
Another Night, by rising young choreographer Kyle Abraham, innovatively fuses the many dynamic facets of American dance and showcases the artistry and versatility of the Ailey dancers. Set to Art Blakey & The Jazz Messenger's rendition of one of Dizzy Gillespie's seminal compositions, A Night in Tunisia, the world premiere for ten dancers was created with the support of commissioning funds from New York City Center and the Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth, in celebration of the Center's 50th Anniversary.
Petite Mort, a ballet of breathtaking sensuality and visual surprises, marks the first time a work by renowned European choreographer Jiří Kylián appears in the Ailey repertory. Set to two of Mozart's most popular piano concertos, the theatrical work blends a classical sensibility with a bold, modern wit with fencing foils and elaborate ball gowns in an unforgettable duel featuring six couples.
From Before beautifully blends the rhythms of African dance with Caribbean influences, with movements distilled to their purest form by Garth Fagan, the Tony Award-winning choreographer of The Lion King. Featuring a jazzy percussive score by Grammy winner Ralph MacDonald, the Ailey premiere marks the first staging of this revered work for a company other than Garth Fagan Dance.
Artistic Director Robert Battle's Strange Humors is a thrillingly intense duet, set to John Mackey's propulsive score for strings and African drum that pits two men against each other. Surprising sequences ignite with aggression and discord, mischievousness and humor, as the relationship between the two dancers builds to an exciting crescendo.
Ronald K. Brown's landmark work Grace, created for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1999, has returned to the repertory in a rapturous, spiritually-charged new production. Infused with Brown's signature blend of modern dance and West African idioms, this moving journey acknowledging the grace that surrounds us all is set to Duke Ellington's classic "Come Sunday," Roy Davis' hit "Gabriel," and the powerful rhythms of Fela Kuti's Afro-Pop.
A new production of Ailey Classics features a vibrant anthology of highlights from founder Alvin Ailey's prolific 30-year career — including audience favorites and classics such as Cry, Love Songs and For 'Bird' With Love — culminating with his signature masterpiece Revelations, performed in its entirety.
"I'm thrilled to be further expanding Ailey's diverse repertory this season with new voices and talented contemporary choreographers that showcase the depth and breadth of the dancers' artistry," stated Artistic Director Robert Battle. "Audiences across the country will have the opportunity to experience these new treasures, along with encores of last season's notable works, and a program that highlights the work of our legendary founder Alvin Ailey."
Encore performances from Battle's acclaimed first season will include modern dance master Paul Taylor's Arden Court, hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris' soul-lifting Home, and Ohad Naharin's unique and innovative Minus 16, which features improvisation and audience participation. Also, a variety of repertory favorites and classic Ailey works will be performed, including the always inspiring must-see American masterpiece Revelations.
The Ailey Organization will continue its mission of using dance to educate, inspire and entertain by reaching young people through special student performances and master classes. Revelations: An Interdisciplinary Approach curriculum program will be implemented in public schools in Miami, FL; South Bend, IN; Detroit, MI; Los Angeles, CA, and Chicago, IL. Utilizing Alvin Ailey's signature work, Revelations, the program is an inspirational framework for a comprehensive study of language arts, social studies, and dance.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater inspires all in a universal celebration of the human spirit using the African-American cultural experience and the American modern dance tradition. Having embarked on an exciting new era guided by Robert Battle's vision, Ailey's acclaimed dancers will reveal once again this season why the Company is beloved as a vital American "Cultural Ambassador to the World."
Detailed 2013 US Tour programming information and schedule is below (subject to change). For further details on the Ailey organization's performances, training programs and educational activities, visit www.alvinailey.org.
PRESS: For additional press materials or photos, members of the media may visit pressroom.alvinailey.org
American Express is the official card of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the lead funder of From Before. Toyota is the Official Vehicle Partner of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. The 2013 U.S. Tour is supported, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts. The creation of Another Night is supported by commissioning funds from New York City Center and by The Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth, in celebration of the Center's 50th Anniversary
The 2013 United States Tour: Highlights
For his second season as Artistic Director, Mr. Battle has chosen to add dynamic new choreographic voices to expand Ailey's diverse repertory. The premieres and new productions provide a platform for a rising young voice with multi-faceted choreography representing the broad range of American dance, celebrates a revered work by an American modern dance master, and exposes Ailey audiences and dancers to a renowned international choreographer whose work is being performed by Ailey for the first time. The new season presents a special program featuring eight of the founder's works, a compelling piece by the company's new leader, and a new production of a beloved repertory classic.
Another Night (2012) choreographed by Kyle Abraham Music: Dizzy Gillespie
The world premiere of Another Night by in-demand young choreographer Kyle Abraham innovatively fuses the many dynamic facets of American dance and showcases the artistry and versatility of the Ailey dancers. Set to Art Blakey & The Jazz Messenger's rendition of one of Dizzy Gillespie's seminal compositions, A Night in Tunisia, the new work for ten dancers was created with the support of commissioning funds from New York City Center and the Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth, in celebration of the Center's 50th Anniversary. Over the past few years, Abraham has received numerous accolades and awards for his dancing and choreography including the 2012 Jacob's Pillow Dance Award, which honors outstanding, visionary dance artists; a Bessie Award for Outstanding Performance in Dance for his work in The Radio Show; a Princess Grace Award for Choreography; and recognition as one of Dance Magazine's 25 To Watch. A recipient of a BFA from SUNY Purchase and a MFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts, he currently teaches his unique approach to post-modern dance throughout the United States, in addition to performing, choreographing and leading his own company, Abraham.In.Motion. Robert Battle comments: "Kyle Abraham is someone I've known and watched for quite some time. His work is provocative, with a diverse dance vocabulary that embodies a variety of traditions and styles. It is the right time for him to create a new work on the dancers of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and I'm proud to be able to provide this platform for him."
Petite Mort (1991) choreographed by Jiří Kylián Music: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
The company premiere of Petite Mort, a ballet of visual surprises that showcases the sensuality, humor and technical prowess of Ailey's dancers, marking the first time a work by renowned European choreographer Jiří Kylián will appear in the Ailey repertory. Set to two of Mozart's most popular piano concertos (Piano Concerto in A Major – Adagio, and Piano Concerto in C Major – Andante), it blends a classical sensibility with a bold, modern wit in an unforgettable duel featuring six couples. Born in Czechoslovakia in 1947, Kylián was a long-time Artistic Director of Nederlands Dans Theater who became recognized as one of the most influential choreographers of the past three decades, receiving many international awards and honors. Robert Battle comments: "Jiří Kylián is one of the top international choreographers and Petite Mort, one of his best works, will be his first piece set on the Company. I was introduced to him when I was a student at Juilliard. I find Kylian's partnering and his movement vocabulary reflective of some of the modern dance pioneers. This exquisite work will stretch the dancers and the way people see Ailey."
From Before (1978) choreographed by Garth Fagan Music: Ralph MacDonald
From Before beautifully blends the rhythms of African dance with Caribbean influences, with movements distilled to their purest form by Jamaican-born Garth Fagan, the Tony Award-winning choreographer of The Lion King. The Ailey company premiere was the first staging of this revered work, which features a jazzy percussive score by Grammy winner Ralph MacDonald, for a company other than Garth Fagan Dance. Mr. Fagan attributed its popularity with audiences all across the world to "the fluidity of Caribbean dance, the polyrhythms of African, the precision of ballet and the strength and weight of modern dance." His many honors include the prestigious 1998 Tony Award for Best Choreography for The Lion King, as well as an Astaire Award, and a Laurence Olivier Award, and he holds an honorary doctorate from the Juilliard School. Fagan recently collaborated with Grammy-winning musician and composer Wynton Marsalis on the world premiere of his newest work, Lighthouse/Lightning Rod at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in celebration of BAM's 150th anniversary and Garth Fagan Dance's 40th anniversary. Robert Battle comments: "Garth Fagan has a unique and, in a way, abstract approach to movement. There is an element of purity in his work - he taps into his West African and Caribbean roots and fuses them in surprising ways. Fagan is a true original and From Before is a quintessential representation of his artistry."
Strange Humors (1998) choreographed by Robert Battle Music: John Mackey
Artistic Director Robert Battle's Strange Humors is a thrillingly intense duet set to a propulsive score for strings and African drum by composer John Mackey, a fellow Juilliard classmate of Mr. Battle. This riveting company premiere pits two men against each other in surprising sequences that ignite with aggression and discord, mischievousness and humor, as the relationship between the two dancers builds to an exciting crescendo. Robert Battle comments: "Strange Humors is a physically challenging duet containing influences of tango, Martha Graham and hints of hip hop and martial arts, with unexpected leaps and falls, that break the viewer's false sense of security. The title of this work was inspired by the writings of Maya Angelou – 'When I think of death, and of late the idea has come with alarming frequency, I seem at peace with the idea that a day will dawn when I will no longer be among those living in this valley of strange humors.'"
Grace (1999) choreographed by Ronald K. Brown Music: Duke Ellington, Roy Davis Jr., Paul Johnson & Fela Anikulapo Kuti
Ronald K. Brown's landmark Grace, created for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1999, returns to the repertory in a rapturous, spiritually-charged new production. Infused with Brown's signature blend of modern dance and West African idioms, this moving journey acknowledging the grace that surrounds us all is set to Duke Ellington's classic "Come Sunday," Roy Davis' hit "Gabriel," and the powerful rhythms of Fela Kuti's Afro-Pop. Born in Brooklyn, Brown has created and presented dances since 1985 with his company Evidence and has received the Bessie Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the American Dance Festival Humphrey/Weidman/Limon Award, among others. Most recently he received accolades for his Astaire award-winning choreography for the Broadway revival of The Gershwin's Porgy and Bess.
Robert Battle comments: "Brown's choreography uses African dance in a unique and potent way. Grace is a brilliant work, and an important part of the Ailey repertory. From the beautiful opening solo set to Duke Ellington's "Come Sunday," there are elements that represent both the religious and secular. The strong tension between these two opposites, and how they sometimes reflect one another, remains gripping right to the very end when the dancers exit upstage in white."
Ailey Classics (1971-1988) choreographed by Alvin Ailey Music: Various Artists
A new production will be staged of Ailey Classics, a vibrant anthology of highlights from founder Alvin Ailey's prolific 30-year career — including audience favorites and classics such as Memoria, Night Creature, Phases, Opus McShann, Love Songs, For 'Bird' - With Love, Hidden Rites, and Cry — culminating with the beloved classic Revelations, performed in its entirety. Robert Battle comments: "I remember being that 12-year-old boy from Miami who was bused from my school to see Alvin Ailey's Revelations for the first time and now I have the opportunity to present an evening dedicated to his work, so that others can have that transformative experience while we celebrate his genius and generosity. Mr. Ailey said it so well: 'Dance comes from the people and should always be delivered back to the people.' He wanted people to be in awe of what these dancers are able to do, along with the variety of great musicians who also inspired him, but he wanted audiences to see reflections of themselves on stage."
Repertory Favorites & Classics
Arden Court (1981) choreographed by Paul Taylor Music: William Boyce
Modern dance master Paul Taylor supervised the staging of this technically challenging work (rarely performed by companies other than his own) the first of his works to enter the Ailey repertory. Set to a sumptuous baroque score by William Boyce, Arden Court is a richly dynamic dance featuring striking duets, solos and a men's sextet showcasing the dancers' skills.
Episodes (1989) choreographed by Ulysses Dove Music: Robert Ruggieri
Ulysses Dove, former Ailey Company member, created this explosive choreographic masterpiece - a passionate interpretation of expressing feelings and power struggles involved in human relationships - set to a percussive score by Robert Ruggieri.
Home (2011) choreographed by Rennie Harris Music: Dennis Ferrer, Raphael Xavier
Bold hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris, who worked alongside Judith Jamison and Robert Battle to create Love Stories for the company in 2004, choreographed this work set to a soul-lifting score of gospel house music. The work is inspired by stories submitted to the "Fight HIV Your Way" contest of people living with or affected by HIV, an initiative of Bristol-Myers Squibb.
In/Side (2008) choreographed by Robert Battle Music: Nina Simone
The vivid emotions of Nina Simone's "Wild is the Wind" play out in this gripping male solo. Battle's bold, unrestrained signature style is displayed in this visceral cry of pure physicality.
Minus 16 (1999) choreographed by Ohad Naharin Music: Various Artists
A delightfully eclectic score ranging from Dean Martin to mambo, techno to traditional Israeli music propels Ohad Naharin's phenomenally inventive piece. Breaking down the barrier between audience and performer, this work, unlike any other in the Ailey repertory, challenges the dancers to improvise and invites the audience members to experience joining the dancers onstage.
Night Creature (1975) choreographed by Alvin Ailey Music: Duke Ellington
One of Ailey's most classically choreographed ballets juxtaposed within Ellington's jazz idiom-the dance captivates with Ailey's sexy nocturnal rituals that propel the movement into a fast paced climatic catharsis.
Pas de Duke (1976) choreographed by Alvin Ailey Music: Duke Ellington
Pas de Duke is regarded as Alvin Ailey's modern dance rendition of a classical pas de deux. Choreographed in five sections to the jazzy compositions of the late Duke Ellington, the movement depicts good-natured competition between the male and female soloists, full of dynamic steps and clean lines. Executed with absolute precision and accompanied by memorable music, Pas de Duke is an exuberant blend of orchestration and dance.
Revelations (1960) choreographed by Alvin Ailey Music: Traditional Spirituals
An American classic acclaimed as a must‐see for all, Alvin Ailey's signature masterpiece is a tribute to his heritage and genius. Using African-American religious music--spirituals--this suite fervently explores the places of deepest grief and holiest joy in the soul.
Takademe (1999) choreographed by Robert Battle Music: Sheila Chandra
The complex, tightly woven rhythms of Indian Kathak dance are deconstructed and abstracted in this percussive, fast-paced work, where clear shapes and propulsive jumps mimic the vocalized rhythmic syllables of Sheila Chandra's jazzy score.
ABOUT ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, recognized by U.S. Congressional resolution as a vital American "Cultural Ambassador to the World," grew from a now‐fabled March 1958 performance in New York that changed forever the perception of American dance. Founded by Alvin Ailey, and guided by Judith Jamison beginning in 1989, the Company is now led by Robert Battle, whom Judith Jamison chose to succeed her on July 1, 2011. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has performed for an estimated 23 million people in 71 countries on 6 continents, promoting the uniqueness of the African‐American cultural experience and the preservation and enrichment of the American modern dance tradition. In addition to being the Principal Dance Company of New York City Center, where its performances have become a year‐end tradition, the Ailey company performs annually at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami‐Dade County in Miami, The Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley, CA and at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark where it is the Principal Resident Affiliate), and appears frequently in other major theaters throughout the United States and the world during extensive yearly tours. The Ailey organization also includes Ailey II (1974), a second performing company of emerging young dancers and innovative choreographers; The Ailey School (1969), one of the most extensive dance training programs in the world; Ailey Arts in Education & Community Programs, which brings dance into the classrooms, communities and lives of people of all ages; and The Ailey Extension (2005), a program offering dance and fitness classes to the general public, which began with the opening of Ailey's permanent home—the largest building dedicated to dance in New York City, the dance capital of the world —named The Joan Weill Center for Dance, at 55th Street at 9th Avenue in New York City. For more information, visit www.alvinailey.org.
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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Artistic Director Robert Battle with A. Douthit, R. McLaren, J. Green, J. Roberts and A. Mack. Photo by Andrew Eccles_01
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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Alicia Graf Mack. Photo by Andrew Eccles_01
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