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Robert Battle on Alvin Ailey's "Revelations"

05.17.12
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Minnesota Public Radio

by Tom Weber

When you talk about longevity in the arts, you have to look at the well-known Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York. Founded by the late Alvin Ailey in 1958, here was a group of young African-American modern dancers performing in an age before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed.

Within two years, Ailey created a piece known as "Revelations" -- it's the keystone performance for the company. You can't say Alvin Ailey without putting "Revelations" in the same sentence. It's amazing that both a dance company and one specific piece of work could both last more than 50 years.

Last summer Robert Battle became just the third artistic director in the company's history. He spoke with The Daily Circuit when he was in town. We wanted to know: Would he ever consider retiring the performance of "Revelation?"

Battle said it was something founder Alvin Ailey wondered too, given that he created the piece so early in his career.

Listen to the full interview here.