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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater


(New York) June 19, 2009 - Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT), recognized by U.S. Congress as a vital American "Cultural Ambassador to the World," has scheduled 2009 international performances in Paris, France, from July 6 - 25; Copenhagen, Denmark, from September 15 - 20; and Athens, Greece, from September 24 - 27. On the heels of a 50-city global 50th Anniversary tour led by renowned Artistic Director Judith Jamison, the repertory will include a mix of beloved classics, contemporary favorites and innovative new works and mark the debuts of four new AAADT members.  Upon announcing the Company's return to Paris, after a sold-out and extended 2006 month-long engagement, Jamison said, "I am so proud to share the extraordinary artistry of my dancers with international audiences.  Ailey's performances continue to inspire people of all backgrounds around the world."  

In addition to the beloved masterpiece Revelations, classic works by Alvin Ailey will be featured, including Night Creature (1975), Ailey's homage to the music of Duke Ellington, and Memoria (1979), a loving celebration of choreographer Joyce Trisler set to the sublime music of Keith Jarrett. International stage premieres are scheduled for Camille Brown's The Groove to Nobody's Business (2007), an imagining of the meeting of strangers on a subway, and Mauro Bigonzetti's Festa Barocca (2008), a dramatic work to Handel's music involving the entire company. Performances will also include Twyla Tharp's The Golden Section, Maurice Béjart's Firebird, George Faison's Suite Otis and Robert Battle's Unfold (detailed performance schedule attached).

Four new AAADT members will join the Company onstage for the first time in Paris: Megan Jakel (Waterford, M.I.), former Ailey II member and honor graduate of Ailey/Fordham B.F.A. Program; Josh Johnson (San Fernando, C.A.), a former Ailey II member and Ailey School fellowship student; Michael Francis McBride (Johnson City, N.Y.), an Ailey/Fordham B.F.A. Program senior; and Samuel Lee Roberts (Quakertown, P.A.), a founding member of Battleworks Dance Company who trained at The Juilliard School.

Following past popular excursions to Barcelona, Paris, and Shanghai/Beijing, Ailey Partners will be able to get a glimpse of life on tour by joining the Company in Copenhagen as it performs at the famed Tivoli Concert Hall. Participants will be able to watch a rehearsal, tour the theater, enjoy VIP seating on Opening Night and interact with the dancers at exclusive events. For more information about Ailey Partners.

Following the international engagements, AAADT will return to the New York City Center stage for an annual holiday engagement from December 2, 2009 - January 3, 2010.  The five-week season will mark Judith Jamison's 20th year as Artistic Director.

AAADT was founded in 1958 by legendary choreographer and dancer Alvin Ailey with the goal of honoring and enriching the African-American cultural experience and the American modern dance tradition. Since its inception, the company has performed for an estimated 23 million people in 48 states, in over 70 countries and across six continents. For further information, visit:


Gala Highlights (Paris, France - 7/6 gala performance only)

Choreography: Alvin Ailey / Music: Various

This program includes selections from many of Alvin Ailey's most popular ballets and spans the course of his career, from the dance that launched the company in 1958 to his final piece 30 years later. This stunning retrospective demonstrates the tremendous range and resonance of one man's genius.

Festa Barocca (2008)

Choreography: Mauro Bigonzetti / Music: Georg Freidrich Handel

Acclaimed Italian choreographer Mauro Bigonzetti brings his highly dramatic style, complex partnering and seamless integration of classical and modern styles to the Ailey repertory in his first time choreographing for an American modern dance company. Bigonzetti explains, "I discovered choreography when I met Alvin" as a young dancer with Aterballeto performing classic Ailey works. Bigonzetti was so inspired by the Ailey dancers' emotional intensity and technical prowess that he cast the entire company in his ballet's world premiere - a rare and special occurrence.

Firebird (1970)

Choreography: Maurice Béjart / Music: Igor Stravinsky, "The Firebird Suite"

Restaged by: Shonach Mirk Robles

The legendary European choreographer Maurice Béjart's famous ballet is a coming-of-age allegorical tale of revolution, idealism and rebirth. An innovative interpretation of the 1910 Michel Fokine original for Ballets Russes and set to Igor Stravinsky's glorious score, this AAADT take on Firebird features a male Firebird and Phoenix surrounded by a full chorus, showcasing the power and beauty of the Ailey dancers in radiant grandeur.

Hymn (1993)

Choreography: Judith Jamison / Music: Robert Ruggieri
Restaged by Masazumi Chaya

Judith Jamison's Emmy Award-winning Hymn was originally conceived in 1993 as a dialogue among Jamison, the dancers and Alvin Ailey, who had died four years earlier. Jamison collaborated with playwright and author Anna Deavere Smith, who created a libretto based on interviews with numerous dancers. The monologues heard throughout Hymn are derived from those conversations. Now, as Jamison marks her 20th anniversary as artistic director of the company, new dancers are interpreting Hymn, bringing their own experiences and spirits to this celebration of the man and the legacy that Jamison proudly carries forward.

Love Stories (2004)

Choreography: Judith Jamison with Robert Battle and Rennie Harris / Music: Stevie Wonder

Inspired by Sankofa, the Akan word which means "go back" (sanko) and "take" (fa), Judith Jamison's dynamic collaboration with hip-hop pioneer Rennie Harris and modern dance maverick Robert Battle examines the technique, energy, movement and rhythm of African-American social dances on a journey through past, present and future. Under Jamison's direction, the unique styles, expressive voices and no-limits choreography of these artists draw on variations on the lindy-hop, Philly-bop, hip-hop and eclectic modern dance techniques to explore a love of movement, all set to the soundscape of engineer Darrin Ross and the music of the legendary Stevie Wonder.

Memoria (1979)

Choreography: Alvin Ailey / Music: Keith Jarrett "Runes-Solara March"

In the tumultuous time of 1979, when Mr. Ailey's great friend from his Lester Horton days, the choreographer Joyce Trisler, died prematurely, he began choreographing Memoria. Later he wrote, "Memoria is about Joyce's life, my memories of her, my image of her. Although these are very abstract images, nobody has ever asked me what Memoria is about. People everywhere understand it. Making the dance was a very deep and wrenching experience for me."

Night Creature (1975)

Choreography: Alvin Ailey / Music: Duke Ellington

Combining modern dance, classical ballet and jazz, and juxtaposed with Ellington's jazz idiom, Night Creature captivates with Ailey's sexy nocturnal rituals that propel the movement into a fast-paced climactic catharsis. Duke Ellington first composed the phenomenal "Suite For Orchestra" in 1955, later adding the second and third movements in 1963. Night Creature is the definitive Ailey homage to the exuberance of The Duke's jazz, and remains one of Mr. Ailey's most popular works.

Reflections in D (1962)

Choreography: Alvin Ailey / Music: Duke Ellington

Restaged by: Judith Jamison

Alvin Ailey's eloquent solo, created in 1962 for himself and later notably interpreted by Judith Jamison and Dudley Williams, is masterly performed by current Ailey soloists to Duke Ellington's touchingly reflective piano composition.

Revelations (1960)

Choreography: Alvin Ailey / Music: Traditional spirituals

Alvin Ailey said that one of America's richest treasures was the cultural heritage of the African-American - "sometimes sorrowful, sometimes jubilant, but always hopeful." This enduring classic is a tribute to that heritage and to Ailey's genius. Using African-American religious music - spirituals, song-sermons, gospel songs and holy blues - this suite fervently explores the places of deepest grief and holiest joy in the soul.

Solo (2005)

Choreography: Hans van Manen / Music: Johann Sebastian Bach

Hans van Manen divides his kinetic Solo among three dancers in a tour de force work that challenges the Ailey men's daring agility and grace. This explosive display of virtuosity and wit launches the men into an exhilarating whirlwind of movement and musicality.

Suite Otis (1971)

Choreography and costumes: George Faison / Music: Otis Redding

The timeless music of pioneering soul singer Otis Redding sets the stage for former AAADT company member and Tony Award-winning choreographer George Faison's playful battle of the sexes. The yearning sensuality of soul stirring songs such as "Satisfaction," "Try a Little Tenderness," "I've Been Loving You Too Long" and other favorites burst through this wildly popular six-part suite of dances ripe with romance and humor.

The Golden Section (1983)

Choreography: Twyla Tharp / Music: David Byrne

The Golden Section, by Tony Award-winning choreographer Twyla Tharp, sizzles like never before when performed by the fearless Ailey dancers. Set to a propulsive score by David Byrne, it shatters the limits of human physicality with breathtaking leaps, finely honed partnering and explosive joy. It is "dancing of astonishing beauty and power," raved The New Yorker.

The Groove to Nobody's Business (2007)

Choreography: Camille A. Brown / Music: Ray Charles and original compositions by Brandon McCune

Emerging choreographer Camille A. Brown demonstrates why Dance magazine named her one of their "25 to Watch" in this recent work, which joins her explosive, virtuosic movement with Ray Charles' music and an original score by rising talent Brandon McCune. Imagining the meeting of strangers on a subway, Brown's work reveals glimpses of humanity in pedestrian movements and ordinary interactions.

Unfold (2005)

Choreography: Robert Battle / Music: Gustave Charpentier

This duet was dubbed "a highlight" by Dance Magazine at its premiere in 2005. Previously, Robert Battle choreography has been seen in two works in the repertory of both Ailey II and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.