ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER RETURNS TO LINCOLN CENTER’S DAVID H. KOCH THEATER WITH FOUR PROGRAMS DURING A TWO-WEEK 15-PERFORMANCE ENGAGEMENT FROM JUNE 11 to 22, 2014

04.02.14
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Artistic Director Robert Battle Announces Diverse Repertory Featuring World Premiere by Robert Moses, Company Premiere of Asadata Dafora’s Awassa Astrige/Ostrich, New Productions of Hans Van Manen’s Polish Pieces and David Parson’s Caught
Plus Encore Performances of 2013 – 2014 Season Premieres and Repertory Favorites


Tickets starting at $25 go on sale April 9, 2014.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, beloved as one of the world’s most popular dance companies, will return to Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts with four different programs for a two-week 15-performance engagement at the David H. Koch Theater June 11 – 22, 2014.  Today, Artistic Director Robert Battle announced repertory for the season, highlighted by a world premiere from Robert Moses – a first-time collaboration with the Company – new productions of Hans van Manen’s Polish Pieces and David Parsons’ signature work Caught, along with the company premiere of Asadata Dafora’s groundbreaking 1932 solo Awassa Astrige/Ostrich.  Ailey’s acclaimed dancers will perform in diverse repertory including encore performances of 2013-14 season premieres and new productions such as Wayne McGregor’s Chroma and an “Ailey/Ellington” program, as well as favorites like Alvin Ailey’s American masterpiece Revelations.  

In 2013, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s seven-performance engagement at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts was the Company’s first appearance there in 13 years.  “To culminate the 25th season since the passing of our legendary founder, it gives me great pride to lead the Company back to Lincoln Center for an extended two-week engagement with four programs that showcase the range and artistry of Ailey’s unparalleled dancers,” said Artistic Director Robert Battle. “Alvin Ailey was a pioneer in creating an American modern dance repertory company and I’m thrilled to extend his vision through an expansive variety of new and acclaimed works by the widest array of choreographers.  It is also wonderful that the Ailey Spirit Gala will kick-off the engagement with a joyous and very meaningful celebration.”  

The 2014 engagement opens on Wednesday, June 11th at 7pm with the inaugural Ailey Spirit Gala benefit honoring Ailey Board of Trustees Chair Joan H. Weill for her exceptional leadership and dedication to Ailey over the past 20 years.  Sanford I. Weill and Vanessa Williams are Honorary Chairs for the benefit, sponsored by FedEx Corporation, that will provide scholarships for talented students of The Ailey School and supports Ailey’s extensive Arts In Education & Community Programs.  Highlights of the opening performance celebration include the world-renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Caught and Revelations and appearances by the rising stars of Ailey II, gifted young dancers from The Ailey School, and talented students from AileyCamp.   A soirée on the promenade follows the performance and tickets are available by calling 212-405-9031.

Robert Moses’ world premiere on Thursday, June 12th at 7:30pm is being created especially for the Company’s Koch Theater engagement and marks his first collaboration with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.  Known for sexy, sophisticated choreography that makes audiences want to dance too, he has choreographed for film, theater and opera, exploring topics ranging from oral African-American traditions, urban culture and the nuanced complexities of parentage and identity. 

This program (also scheduled for 6/14 eve, 6/18 eve, & 6/22 matinee) includes an encore performance of Chroma, a 2013 company premiere filled with layered, beautiful dancing and astonishing lifts by multi award-winning British choreographer Wayne McGregor.  Created in 2006 for The Royal Ballet, the piece has a driving score by Joby Talbot and orchestrations of music by Jack White III of The White Stripes and a luminous set by minimalist architect John Pawson.  The performance will end with Alvin Ailey’s always inspiring must-see American classic Revelations

The Friday, June 13th 8pm performance marks the company premiere of Awassa Astrige/Ostrich by Sierra Leone-born choreographer Asadata Dafora, who blended his vision of a traditional African dance with Western staging in this groundbreaking 1932 solo set to Carl Riley’s score of African drumming and flute.  With arms flapping like wings, torso rippling and head held high, a warrior is transformed into the proud, powerful ostrich — the king of birds.  Dafora is recognized as one of the first to present African dance on the concert stage, influencing many future artists like Pearl Primus and Katherine Dunham.

Along with Awassa Astrige/Ostrich, this program (repeated on 6/15 eve & 6/21 eve) will include Ronald K. Brown’s landmark and spiritually-charged Grace, Ohad Naharin’s unique and innovative Minus 16  and D-Man in the Waters (Part I), Bill T. Jones’ “Bessie” Award-winning modern dance classic celebrating life and the resiliency of the human spirit that embodies loss, hope and triumph with non-stop movement set to Mendelssohn’s Octet for Strings in E-flat Major, Op. 20 (1825).

The Ailey/Ellington program (6/14 matinee, 6/15 matinee, 6/20 eve) showcases Night Creature, Pas de Duke, and The River, three of the 14 ballets founder Alvin Ailey created during his career celebrating the musical genius of the eminent American composer Duke Ellington, along with Revelations.  The River, originally choreographed in 1970 for American Ballet Theatre to Ellington’s first symphonic score written specifically for dance, combines classical ballet, modern dance, and jazz in sections suggesting tumbling rapids and slow currents on a voyage to the great sea, mirroring the journey of life.  Pas de Duke,  commemorates America’s two great art forms – modern dance and jazz music – in Alvin Ailey’s translation of a classical pas de deux created for the renowned Judith Jamison and Mikhail Baryshnikov.  It was originally presented in 1976 as part of the “Ailey Celebrates Ellington” festival at Lincoln Center’s New York State Theater for the nation’s bicentennial.

The engagement’s second week of performances begins on Tuesday, June 17th at 7:30pm with new productions of Hans van Manen’s Polish Pieces and David Parson’s Caught.   In Polish Pieces, Dutch choreographer van Manen displays his mastery for building dazzling creations from simple motifs and geometric patterns.  Driven by the rhythms of Henryk Górecki’s score, the 12 dancers in this colorful ensemble work create a brilliant kaleidoscope through endlessly shifting formations that culminate in two sensual pas de deux.  The dancer in Parsons’ signature work Caught defies gravity as he flies through the air in a bravura display of athletic stamina and a breathtaking fusion of art and technology using split-second timing.  Flashing lights capture the dancer in more than 100 leaps, suspending him in flight before magically returning to rest at center stage.  

Also repeated on 6/19 eve, 6/21 mat., 6/22 eve, this program ends with Revelations and begins with  LIFT, a 2013-14 season world premiere by in-demand choreographer Aszure Barton celebrating and challenging the cast of 19 dancers who inspired the process, movement and composition, as well as the original percussive score by Curtis Macdonald.

Tickets starting at $25 can be purchased beginning April 9th at the David H. Koch Box Office, by phone at 212-496-0600, and online at www.alvinailey.org.  For further information about Ailey’s performances and discounts for groups and students, please visit www.alvinailey.org.  On Saturday afternoons, bring the whole family to enjoy the matinee and stay afterward for a free Q & A with the Ailey dancers in the theater. 

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is currently on a 23-city coast-to-coast tour that ends in the tri-state area on Mother’s Day weekend from May 10th and 11th at the beautiful Prudential Hall of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, where Ailey is the Principal Resident Affiliate. 

World Premiere
Robert Moses Premiere (2014)
Choreography by Robert Moses
Music: TBA
Robert Moses’s world premiere
is being created especially for the Company’s Koch Theater engagement and marks his first collaboration with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.  Known for sexy, sophisticated choreography that makes audiences want to dance too, he has created numerous works of varying styles and genres for his highly praised dance company Robert Moses’ Kin, founded in 1995 in San Francisco.  His work explores topics ranging from oral traditions in African American culture (Word of Mouth, 2002), the life, times, and work of author James Baldwin (Biography of Baldwin, 2003), and the dark side of contemporary urban culture (Cause, 2004), to the nuanced complexities of parentage and identity (The Cinderella Principle, 2010), and the simple joys of the expressive power of pure movement (Toward September, 2009). Since 2008 Moses has composed original scores for several of his dances.  In addition, Moses has choreographed for film, opera, theater and other dance companies, including: San Francisco Opera (La Forza del Destino, 2005), Philadanco, Cincinnati Ballet, African Cultural Exchange (UK), Oakland Ballet, the Lorraine Hansberry Theater, and Olympic Arts Festival, among others.  In 2005 Moses was named Choreographer-in-Residence and Artistic Director of the Committee on Black Performing Arts at Stanford University, where he has been on the dance faculty since 1995. An alumni of California State University Long Beach and a highly regarded master teacher, Moses has taught on campuses and at festivals throughout the United States, including Bates Dance Festival, Colorado Dance Festival, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, University of Texas, and University of Nevada. He conducts movement and performance workshops internationally, most recently for artists of African descent with State of Emergency Limited in the United Kingdom.

Company Premieres and New Productions
Awassa Astrige/Ostrich (1932)
Choreography by Asadata Dafora    
Music:  Carl Riley

Sierra Leone-born choreographer Asadata Dafora blended his vision of a traditional African dance with Western staging in Awassa Astrige/Ostrich - a groundbreaking 1932 solo set to Carl Riley’s score of African drumming and flute.  With arms flapping like wings, torso rippling and head held high, a warrior is transformed into the proud, powerful ostrich — the king of birds.  Dafora is recognized as one of the first to present African dance on the concert stage, influencing many future artists like Pearl Primus and Katherine Dunham.  Assdata Dafora, a native of free town Sierra Leone, West Africa, was 40 years old when he came to New York in 1929.  Earlier, he had been in Europe teaching African dance while studying music, and for a time, sang at La Scala. However his true interest was always the rich heritage of African art and culture. Not only did he study the folklore of his own country, but he traveled extensively throughout Africa seeking additional knowledge. His unique talents burst upon the New York entertainment scene with a short run of the Opera Kykunkor, subtitled the Witch Women. Kykunkor not only shattered many myths concerning the potential of Black ethnic materials as themes for concert dance, but proved that black dancers could be successful on the American concert stage. His company Shologa Oloba, was made up of 25 Africans and African Americans whose dancing was acclaimed by critics and audiences.

Polish Pieces (1995)
Choreography by Hans van Manen          
Music:  Henryk-Mikolaj Górecki

In Polish Pieces, Dutch choreographer van Manen displays his mastery for building dazzling creations from simple motifs and geometric patterns.  Driven by the rhythms of Henryk Górecki’s score, the 12 dancers in this colorful ensemble work create a brilliant kaleidoscope through endlessly shifting formations that contrasts with two sensual pas de deux.  Hans van Manen began his ballet career in 1951 as a member of Sonia Gaskell's Ballet Recital.  He created his first ballet for the Nederlandse Opera Ballet in 1957 and has gone on to create over 50 ballets for the Nederlands Dans Theater, where he has also been the artistic director and a dancer.  He has created over 120 ballets and his works have been staged by companies all over the world including the Stuttgart Ballet, Berlin Opera, the National Ballet of Canada, Pennsylvania Ballet, the Royal Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet and the State Opera in Vienna.  In 1992, the year of his 35th anniversary as a choreographer, he was given a Knighthood in the Order of Orange Nassau by the Queen of The Netherlands.  He has been honored for his work many times, including the prestigious German Dance Prize for his influence on German dance, the much-heralded Erasmus Prize for his outstanding achievements in Dutch dance, and the Benois de la Danse for Lifetime Achievement.  At the occasion of his 75th birthday at the gala premiere of the Hans van Manen festival, Amsterdam’s mayor honored him with the Commandeur in de Orde van de Nederlandse Leeuw.

Caught (1982)
Choreography by David Parsons       
Music: Robert Fripp
David Parsons’
signature solo Caught is a breathtaking fusion of art and technology demanding split-second timing and athletic stamina. The concept behind Caught is amazingly simple but wonderfully unexpected, with the dancer executing a continual series of over 100 leaps synchronized to the flashes of a strobe light to a soundtrack by English guitarist Robert Fripp. The effect is a stunning suspension of weight in which the dancer appears to fly through the air, devouring space before magically returning to rest at center stage.  At the root of the piece is humankind’s fascination with flight, something that Parsons believes is universal.  Born near Chicago and raised in Kansas City, Mr. Parsons received an MFA from Jacksonville University under the Howard Gilman fellowship and an honorary Doctorate from the University of Kansas City.  From 1978-1987, Mr. Parsons was a leading dancer with the Paul Taylor Dance Company, where Mr. Taylor created many roles for him in works such as Arden Court, Last Look, and Roses.  Parsons founded Parsons Dance in 1985 with lighting designer Howell Binkley.  Since then, he has created more than 70 works, both for the company and through commissions from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, the American Dance Festival, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, New York City Ballet, Paul Taylor Dance Company, and the Spoleto Festival, among others.  He is a recipient of the 2000 Dance Magazine Award, the 2001 American Choreography Award and the 2011 Dance Masters of America Award.

2013-14 Season Premieres and New Productions
Chroma (2006)
Choreography by Wayne McGregor            
Music by Joby Talbot and Jack White
Wayne McGregor’s Chroma
is a ballet filled with layered, beautiful dancing and astonishing lifts.  The Ailey company premiere, made possible in part by the generous support of New York City Center, marked the first time a work by this multi award-winning British choreographer appeared in the Ailey repertory.  Set to an amalgam of original music by Joby Talbot and orchestrations of music by Jack White III of The White Stripes, the work explores McGregor’s curiosity of a concept freed from whiteness and the drama of the human body.  Created in 2006 for The Royal Ballet, a luminous, minimalist set designed by architect John Pawson uses motifs of inside and outside, entrance and exit, light and shadow, void and plenitude, to create a spatially charged environment explored through the medium of the ten dancers’ bodies.  Wayne McGregor CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) is a multi-award-winning British choreographer, renowned for his physically testing choreography and ground-breaking collaborations. He is the Artistic Director of Wayne McGregor | Random Dance, Resident Company at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London, Resident Choreographer of The Royal Ballet (appointed 2006) and frequent creator of new work for La Scala, Milan, Paris Opera Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theatre, Stuttgart Ballet and New York City Ballet; as well as movement director for theatre, film (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) and music video (Radiohead’s Lotus Flower).  His recent productions include new work for the Royal Ballet and National Gallery Titan Metamorphosis project (July 2012), a large-scale public dance work, Big Dance Trafalgar Square, in celebration of the London 2012 Olympics (July 2012), and a new work for San Francisco Ballet, Borderlands, which premiered in January 2013. 

D-Man In The Waters (Part I) (1989, revised 1998)
Choreography by Bill T. Jones        
Music by Felix Mendelssohn

Bill T. Jones’ joyful tour-de-force, D-Man in the Waters is a true modern dance classic and a New York Dance and Performance (“Bessie”) Award-winning work. It is a celebration of life and the resiliency of the human spirit that embodies loss, hope and triumph. Set to Mendelssohn’s Octet for Strings in E-flat Major, Op. 20 (1825), the work is one of the finest examples of the post-modern aesthetic and was featured in PBS’s landmark film Dancing in the Light: Six Dances by African-American Choreographers.   D-Man in the Waters is dedicated to Demian Acquavella.  Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater first performed choreography by Bill T. Jones in 1983 when Alvin Ailey invited him to create Fever Swamp on the Company.   Jones choreographed and performed worldwide with his late partner, Arnie Zane, before forming the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in 1982, for which he has created more than 140 works.  Bill T. Jones is the recipient of numerous recognitions, including the Kennedy Center Honors; Tony Award (FELA! And Spring Awakening); Obie Award; the 2010 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award; the 2005 Wexner Prize; the 2005 Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement; the 2003 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize; and the 1994 MacArthur “Genius” Award.   In 2011, Jones was named Executive Artistic Director of New York Lives Arts.

LIFT (2013)
Choreography by Aszure Barton            
Original Music by Curtis Macdonald

This propulsive season world premiere by in-demand choreographer Aszure Barton, her first commission for Ailey, accentuates the vitality and physical prowess of the Ailey company.  Driven by the dancers’ passion, skill and collective power, LIFT was created over a five-week developmental process with the entire Company. The original percussive score, composed by Curtis Macdonald, is infused with the infectious energy and heart that she observed in her initial encounters with the Ailey dancers.  With a collaborative stylistic approach that is constantly evolving like no other, Barton’s exhilarating new work celebrates and challenges the dancers with its markedly intricate rhythmic patterns and mercurial structure.  “LIFT embodies an atmosphere and energy created by our time spent together in collaboration,” stated Barton.  “I feel very welcomed by the Ailey family and am honored to be working with such a wonderful group of artists.”  Dance Magazine described her work as “vulnerable and feisty, brightly adept yet peculiar, witty and impetuously wild.”  Born and raised in Alberta, Canada, Barton received her formal training at the National Ballet School in Toronto.  Barton has created works for Mikhail Baryshnikov, The National Ballet of Canada, Nederlands Dans Theater, American Ballet Theatre, the Martha Graham Dance Company, Sydney Dance Company, and Les Ballet Jazz de Montréal (Resident Choreographer 2005-08), and also choreographed the Broadway revival production of The Threepenny Opera.  She recently received the Banff Centre’s 2012 Koerner Award for Choreography and Canada’s prestigious Arts and Letters Award for her outstanding choreographic achievements. 

Pas de Duke (1976)
Choreography by Alvin Ailey             
Music: Duke Ellington

Pas de Duke was Alvin Ailey’s modern dance translation of a classical pas de deux honoring two of the most renowned dancers in the world, Judith Jamison and Mikhail Baryshnikov and celebrating the musical genius of the late Duke Ellington (1899-1974).   Last staged for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater during the 2006-2007 season, it was originally presented as part of the festival “Ailey Celebrates Ellington” at Lincoln Center’s New York State Theater in 1976, commemorating the nation’s bicentennial with America’s two great art forms – modern dance and jazz music.  Ailey choreographed five sections capturing the sassy sophistication of “The Duke’s” jazz music: the introduction to “Such Sweet Thunder” (1957); the pas de deux to “Sonnet for Ceasar” (1975); the male solo to “Sonnet for Hank Cinq” (1957); the female solo to “Unclothed Woman” (1948); and the finale to “Old Man’s Blues” (1930), which captured the exuberance of the star dancers’ qualities and techniques as the male and female soloists mirror each other toe-to-toe and line-for-line in this playful, good-natured competition.  

The River (1970)
Choreography by Alvin Ailey     
Music: Duke Ellington

The River is Alvin Ailey’s acclaimed collaboration with the late musical genius Duke Ellington, choreographed and composed in 1970 for American Ballet Theatre and first performed by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1980.   One of 14 dances Ailey created to Ellington’s music, The River was Ellington’s first symphonic score written specifically for dance.  Combining classical ballet, modern dance and jazz, the suite suggests tumbling rapids and slow currents on its voyage to the great sea, mirroring the journey of life.  The River has been restaged by Associate Artistic Director Masazumi Chaya for several companies in addition to Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.  With Ailey’s mixture of light and fun yet dark and romantic choreography balanced with Ellington’s score, the work is an abstract celebration of birth, life, and rebirth. 

Repertory Favorites
Grace (1999)
Choreography by Ronald K. Brown                
Music: Duke Ellington, Roy Davis Jr., Paul Johnson & Fela Anikulapo Kuti

This landmark creation for Ailey returned to the Ailey repertory in a rapturous, spiritually-charged new production for the 2012-13 season.  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. 

Minus 16 (1999)
Choreography 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.  Using Naharin’s acclaimed “Gaga” method to overcome old habits and make room for new movement and new experiences, this expansive ensemble work is unlike any other in the Ailey repertory in the way it challenges the dancers to improvise and breaks down barriers between audience and performers.

Night Creature (1975)
Choreography by Alvin Ailey  
Music: Duke Ellington

A bubbly champagne cocktail of a dance that perfectly fuses Alvin Ailey’s buoyant choreography and Duke Ellington’s sparkling music in a definitive homage to The Duke’s jazz that remains one of Mr. Ailey’s most popular works.  Ellington said “night creatures, unlike stars, do not come OUT at night– they come ON, each thinking that, before the night is out, he or she will be the star.” The large ensemble work is full of stars - strutting, leaping and slinking using modern dance, classical ballet and jazz.

Revelations (1960)
Choreography 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 a testament to his genius.  Using African-American religious music – spirituals – this suite fervently explores the places of deepest grief and holiest joy in the soul.