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Published: December 12, 2019

Programming Announced for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Program A

BUSK by Aszure Barton

Chicago Premiere

In BUSK, internationally renowned choreographer Aszure Barton invites us to enjoy the fragility, tenderness, and resilience that exist within the human experience. Set to a spirited score, Busk has been described as watching the physical unfurling of the human psyche. Under Barton’s direction, every facet of the dancers’ bodies and minds are engaged and the complex layering of movement reveals the inherent wisdom of the body. The dancers must tap into the collective – a hive mind – in order to execute Barton’s layered and intricate choreographic structures which then give way to the nuance of each individual. The audience is invited into the work and the performers – as they are – are celebrated as enough. This is Barton’s second work for the Company, following 2013’s LIFT.

Ode by Jamar Robert

Midwest Premiere

Ailey dancer Jamar Roberts offers 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 will feature a jazz score – Don Pullen’s “Suite (Sweet) Malcolm (Part 1 Memories and Gunshots)” – and Roberts’ own costume designs. Ode is the first in a series of three works he is creating in his new role as Resident Choreographer.

Revelations by Alvin Ailey

Since its creation in 1960, Revelations has consistently enraptured audiences all over the world with its perfect blend of reverent grace and spiritual elation. Alvin Ailey’s signature masterpiece pays homage to and reflects the cultural heritage of the African-American, which Ailey considered one of America’s richest treasures – “sometimes sorrowful, sometimes jubilant, but always hopeful.” Choreographed when he was only 29 years old, Revelations is an intimate reflection inspired by childhood memories of attending services at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Texas, and by the work of writers James Baldwin and Langston Hughes. Set to a suite of traditional spirituals, Revelations explores the emotional spectrum of the human condition, from the deepest of grief to the holiest joy. A classic tribute to the resolve and determination of a people, the ballet has been seen by more people around the world than any other modern work.

Program A will be performed on Wednesday, March 4 @ 7:30PM and Saturday, March 7 @ 2PM.


Program B

Divining by Judith Jamison

New Production

Judith Jamison’s first choreographic effort, created five years before her ascent to artistic director of the Ailey company, displays the musical sophistication and complexity of movement that marked her as a promising dancemaker. African and Latin rhythms lend the work an air of mystery and mysticism while the title suggests a search or quest. Divining is set to the music of Kimati Dinizulu and Monti Ellison, and builds on a variety of dance idioms from throughout Africa to create a pulsating, strikingly modern work.

A Case of You by Judith Jamison

A Case of You is an emotional and sensual duet by Judith Jamison, performed to Diana Krall’s version of Joni Mitchell’s song by the same title. The duet was originally created in 2004 as a birthday tribute to Chairman Emerita Joan Weill and premiered publicly the following year as part of Ms. Jamison’s larger work, Reminiscin’, inspired by Edward Hopper’s famous painting Nighthawks and great female jazz artists.

Fandango by Lar Lubovitch

New Production

In his sensually athletic duet – which first entered the Ailey repertory in 1995 but hasn’t been performed in over a decade –  Lar Lubovitch explores the infinite possibilities of partnering, the dancers’ bodies coming together as if propelled by the lush intensity of Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero”.

Revelations by Alvin Ailey

Since its creation in 1960, Revelations has consistently enraptured audiences all over the world with its perfect blend of reverent grace and spiritual elation. Alvin Ailey’s signature masterpiece pays homage to and reflects the cultural heritage of the African-American, which Ailey considered one of America’s richest treasures – “sometimes sorrowful, sometimes jubilant, but always hopeful.” Choreographed when he was only 29 years old, Revelations is an intimate reflection inspired by childhood memories of attending services at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Texas, and by the work of writers James Baldwin and Langston Hughes. Set to a suite of traditional spirituals, Revelations explores the emotional spectrum of the human condition, from the deepest of grief to the holiest joy. A classic tribute to the resolve and determination of a people, the ballet has been seen by more people around the world than any other modern work.

Program B will be performed on Thursday, March 5 @ 7:30PM and Sunday, March 8 @ 3PM.


Program C

Ounce of Faith by Darrell Grand Moultrie

Midwest Premiere

The lasting impact of a teacher’s influence on a young child is at the heart of Darrell Grand Moultrie’s world premiere and debut for the Company, Ounce of Faith. The ballet uses 12 dancers and an original score to reflect on the legacies that we’re all a part of and the universal journey that each person takes to find – and share – their passion.

Greenwood by Donald Byrd

Midwest Premiere

1921 Tulsa Race Massacre as his main source for Greenwood, a riveting ensemble work with music by Israeli violist and composer Emmanuel Witzthum. As a TONY nominee (The Color Purple), Bessie Award-winner (The Minstrel Show), and 2019 Doris Duke Artist Award recipient, Byrd is an “unabashed eclectic” (The New York Times) celebrated for his creation of compelling characters and exploring complex societal issues through dance. As his fifth work for the company, Greenwood navigates through one of the worst incidents of racial violence in US history and explores the story through different lenses of those who were affected.

Revelations by Alvin Ailey

Since its creation in 1960, Revelations has consistently enraptured audiences all over the world with its perfect blend of reverent grace and spiritual elation. Alvin Ailey’s signature masterpiece pays homage to and reflects the cultural heritage of the African-American, which Ailey considered one of America’s richest treasures – “sometimes sorrowful, sometimes jubilant, but always hopeful.” Choreographed when he was only 29 years old, Revelations is an intimate reflection inspired by childhood memories of attending services at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Texas, and by the work of writers James Baldwin and Langston Hughes. Set to a suite of traditional spirituals, Revelations explores the emotional spectrum of the human condition, from the deepest of grief to the holiest joy. A classic tribute to the resolve and determination of a people, the ballet has been seen by more people around the world than any other modern work.

Program C will be performed on Friday, March 6 @ 7:30PM.


Program D

The Call by Ronald K. Brown

Chicago Premiere

Ronald K. Brown’s joyous mix of modern and West African dance idioms – seen previously in Grace (1999), Open Door (2015), Four Corners (2013), and other works – fits the Ailey dancers perfectly, and his themes of spiritual awakening and redemption never fail to inspire. The Call, which is Brown’s seventh work for the Company, promises to once againrouse audiences with Brown’s infectious call for harmony and hope.

Ella by Robert Battle

Originally created as a solo, this high-energy comical dance was reinvented as a duet by the Ailey company for its December 2016 opening night gala benefit, “An Evening of Ailey and Jazz” – in anticipation of the legendary singer Ella Fitzgerald’s centennial in April 2017.

Using a live concert recording of Fitzgerald performing the song “Airmail Special,” Ella 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.

Ode by Jamar Roberts

Midwest Premiere

Ailey dancer Jamar Roberts offers 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 will feature a jazz score – Don Pullen’s “Suite (Sweet) Malcolm (Part 1 Memories and Gunshots)” – and Roberts’ own costume designs. Ode is the first in a series of three works he is creating in his new role as Resident Choreographer.

Revelations by Alvin Ailey

Since its creation in 1960, Revelations has consistently enraptured audiences all over the world with its perfect blend of reverent grace and spiritual elation. Alvin Ailey’s signature masterpiece pays homage to and reflects the cultural heritage of the African-American, which Ailey considered one of America’s richest treasures – “sometimes sorrowful, sometimes jubilant, but always hopeful.” Choreographed when he was only 29 years old, Revelations is an intimate reflection inspired by childhood memories of attending services at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Texas, and by the work of writers James Baldwin and Langston Hughes. Set to a suite of traditional spirituals, Revelations explores the emotional spectrum of the human condition, from the deepest of grief to the holiest joy. A classic tribute to the resolve and determination of a people, the ballet has been seen by more people around the world than any other modern work.

Program D will be performed on Saturday, March 7 @ 8PM.