Ailey II.0

01.21.15
Ailey II
Dance Sprit Magazine

By Jenny Dalzell 
It’s the last hour of an exhausting, all-day Ailey II rehearsal. Troy Powell, the company’s artistic director, has just called for a five-minute break. But the dancers, busy fine-tuning Powell’s lyrical The External Knot, don’t even pause. Instead, their voices lower, and they continue working out the difficult choreography on their own. So much for a break.

The dancers know they need to make the most of every minute. Ailey II, a training and touring offshoot of the iconic Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, only contracts dancers for one to two years—and that’s a lot of pressure. The natural next step for Ailey II dancers is AAADT, but while many dream of joining the main company’s ranks, few actually do.
Even those who don’t make it into the first company, though, get an invaluable crash course in professional dance life. Powell, who became Ailey II’s second-ever director in 2012, has a new vision for the troupe. Its dancers are now experiencing more, and more varied, repertoire than ever before. The company’s structure teaches dancers how to coach as well as how to perform. And a busy touring schedule allows the members of Ailey II to share their talents with fans all over the world.  Meet the Ailey II dancers at DanceSpirit.com.