ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER’S 2018 NORTH AMERICAN TOUR REACHES MORE THAN 20 CITIES FROM JANUARY 30 – MAY 13

11.17.17
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Press Room

Ailey's 32 Extraordinary Dancers Will Inspire Audiences in Exciting Premieres, New Productions, and Alvin Ailey's Must-See American Masterpiece, Revelations

World Premieres Include Ailey Star Jamar Roberts' Members Don't Get Weary and 

Spanish Choreographer Gustavo Ramírez Sansano's Victoria

 Tour Features the Company Premiere of Robert Battle's Mass, And New Productions of Works by Twyla Tharp, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, and Talley Beatty in Celebration of His Upcoming Centennial

Following a five-week season launch in New York City, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will continue to grace stages from coast to coast during a 21-city North American tour beginning January 30th in Chapel Hill, NC. On February 6th, a week-long engagement at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. kicks off with a gala to benefit Ailey's D.C. programs, including the creation of new works, arts-in-education activities, and scholarships to talented young area dancers to attend The Ailey School in New York. Other cities throughout the tour include Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, Houston, Boston and Berkeley, culminating with a Mother's Day performance in Newark on May 13th.

Artistic Director Robert Battle leads Ailey's 32 extraordinary dancers as they continue the Company's legacy of using the African-American cultural experience and the American modern dance tradition to uplift, unite, and enlighten. The tour's expansive repertory - which varies from city to city - includes returning favorites, new productions, and world premieres by some of the freshest choreographic voices in modern dance. 

Ailey star Jamar Roberts' Members Don't Get Weary is his first world premiere for the Company, which he joined in 2002. Roberts says the work is "a response to the current social landscape in America," and "takes an abstract look into the notion of one ‘having the blues.'" Set to the powerful music of the legendary jazz saxophonist and composer John Coltrane 50 years after his death, the work aims to allow the audience to momentarily transcend their own personal blues. 

Spanish choreographer Gustavo Ramírez Sansano's work takes the Ailey stage for the first time with his world premiere, Victoria. Spanish for "victory," the work is a tribute to the triumph of good over evil. Set to an adaptation of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony by award-winning composer Michael Gordon, Victoria features Sansano's signature whimsy, theatricality, and physicality. Sansano's work - hailed for its originality and expressiveness - has appeared on companies around the world, including Nederlands Dans Theater, Compañía Nacional de Danza, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Ballet Hispánico, and Atlanta Ballet.  

The tour will also include a striking Company premiere by Robert Battle, and riveting new productions by three American dance innovators. Battle's Mass is an ensemble work that gives physical life to a haunting score by frequent collaborator John Mackey. Tony Award-winning choreographer Twyla Tharp's The Golden Section is a sizzling ensemble work filled with breathtaking leaps, finely-honed partnering, and explosive joy, and is set to a propulsive score by David Byrne. Urban Bush Women founder Jawole Willa Jo Zollar's Shelter - a gripping portrait of homelessness, set to an inventive score featuring drumming by Junior "Gabu" Wedderburn, poetry by Hattie Gossett and Laurie Carlos, and an adapted text by Zollar and Paloma McGregor that references recent natural disasters - returns to the Ailey stage 25 years after first being performed by the Company. Ailey also celebrates modern dance pioneer Talley Beatty during his centennial with the return of Stack-Up, set to the background of vibrant 1970s beats (Earth, Wind & Fire, Grover Washington Jr., Fearless Four, and Alphonze Mouzon) and a graffiti landscape. Inspired by Los Angeles' urban landscape and the lives of its disparate inhabitants, the work depicts the emotional "traffic" in a community that is stacked on top of each other. 

And of course, the tour would be incomplete without Alvin Ailey's American masterpiece Revelations, which will reach every city. Since its creation in 1960, Revelations has been seen by more audiences around the world than any other modern work, inspiring generations through its powerful storytelling and soul-stirring spirituals. Springing from Ailey's childhood memories of growing up in the south and attending services at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Texas, Revelations pays homage to the rich cultural heritage of the African-American and explores the emotional spectrum of the human condition. Revelations has been performed as part of Opening Ceremonies of the 1968 Olympics, for six sitting presidents at various events, at the inaugurations of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, and at The White House Dance Series: A Tribute to Judith Jamison, presented by then First Lady Michelle Obama. Acknowledging its lasting significance after five decades, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution recognizing the artistic and cultural contributions of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the 50th Anniversary of the first performance of Revelations. Hailed by The New York Times as "modern dance's unquestionable greatest hit," this American masterpiece was choreographed when Alvin Ailey was only 29 years old, and is as relevant now as ever. 

Complete programming for Ailey's North American tour will be announced in January 2018.  

Additional Tour Activities

The Ailey organization is also excited to continue the Destination Dance Ailey Atlanta initiative through 2018. As the choreographer and cultural leader Alvin Ailey said, "Dance came from the people, and it should always be delivered back to the people." The goal of Destination Dance Ailey Atlanta is to engage Atlanta's vibrant cultural community through partnerships between Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater - which has been performing in the city since the 1970s - and Atlanta-based cultural, civic, and educational organizations. The pilot season of the program worked to deepen Ailey's connection and commitment to the city's cultural organizations through diverse year-round programming, and included dance classes, workshops, a panel event, and the first-ever Atlanta performances by Ailey II. Using dance as the centerpiece for engagement, the partner organizations present performances, classes and workshops for the public, education programs in schools, conversations with artists and civic leaders, and more. Destination Dance "connects the dots" between these various activities, and promotes them through the press, email, social media, and a website. The initiative brings together all aspects of the organization (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ailey II, The Ailey School, Ailey Extension, and Ailey Arts In Education - including AileyCamp), and currently partners with 10 area organizations. For more information, visit Destination.Dance.

Tour audiences are also invited to enjoy the "Ticket to Dance" promotion during their next visit to New York City. The offer allows audience members to try their first Ailey Extension class FREE with an Ailey performance ticket stub (offer is good for 60 days from the performance date for first time students, and when purchasing a 10-class card for returning students).  The Ailey Extension offers more than classes in 25 dance and fitness techniques for people of all levels at Ailey's home, The Joan Weill Center for Dance - New York's largest building dedicated to dance - which expanded in the fall of 2017 with the addition of The Elaine Wynn & Family Education Wing. The upward expansion adds three stories to the west side of the building, including four spacious new dance studios, two flexible classrooms, and more. The addition increases Ailey's total class offerings to more than 500 per week, an increase of 20% since the start of the project, making it possible for more students of all levels and ages to "join in the dance."

 

In conjunction with the tour, Ailey Extension will also step out of The Joan Weill Center for Dance in New York City and into select cities across the country to offer dance workshops to teens and adults of all backgrounds and levels. Designed to expand Alvin Ailey's life-long commitment of bringing dance to everyone, "Ailey Experience" workshops teach students the rich history of Ailey's signature style, which changed the perception of modern American dance around the world. From February through April 2018, former Ailey dancers and world class instructors will lead Ailey Experience workshops in several cities, including Atlanta, Chicago, Charlotte, and Washington DC. For more information, visit www.aileyextension.com.

The Ailey Organization continues its mission of using dance to educate young people through special activities, including master classes, student performances, lecture-demonstrations throughout the tour, and innovative curriculum-based residencies for public school students. Revelations: An Interdisciplinary Approach, created in 1999, and since implemented nationwide and internationally, used Mr. Ailey's signature work, Revelations, as an organizing theme for a comprehensive, in-depth study of language arts, social studies and dance. Similarly, Night Creature: An Imaginative Journey Through Dance, uses Mr. Ailey's Night Creature, set to a sparkling score by Duke Ellington, as a framework for young students to explore the power of their imaginations through writing poetry, drawing, and creating their own choreography. This year, residences will be implemented in several cities, including Atlanta, Boston, Miami, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. In addition, AileyCamp - a free summer program that helps underserved youth reach their full potential - will return to 10 cities across the country next summer: Atlanta, Kansas City, Baltimore, Berkeley, Chicago, Miami, Seattle, New York City (Washington Heights), and Newark.

The Ailey School, the official school of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater offering world-class dance training to students ages 2-25, will hold auditions for the 2018-2019 academic programs as well as the 2018 summer intensive in conjunction with the tour, in cities including Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, D.C. and New York. Several cities will also feature a Horton Workshop on the night prior to the audition.  Annually, The Ailey School trains more than 3,500 students, offering over 400 classes every week. The diversity of its training, together with individualized mentorship, extensive performance opportunities, and support services, is what sets The Ailey School apart from every other dance academy. More than half of the dancers in the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater studied at The Ailey School. For further information regarding the audition schedule, please click here

Nearly 60 years after its founding, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater continues to move forward under the leadership of Robert Battle, revealing once again why it remains one of the world's most beloved dance companies. Come see why The Huffington Post proclaimed, "If you haven't seen Alvin Ailey, you haven't seen dance...the most exciting dance company in the world," and The Chicago Sun-Times called the Company "more electrifying than ever." For more information, visit www.alvinailey.org

2018 NORTH AMERICAN TOUR (Subject to Change)

Jan 30-31 Chapel Hill, NC Memorial Hall, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill

Feb 2-3 Memphis, TN Orpheum Theatre

Feb 6-11 Washington, DC John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Feb 13 Birmingham, AL Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex

Feb 14-18 Atlanta, GA The Fox Theatre

Feb 20 Jacksonville, FL Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts

Feb 22-25 Miami, FL Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts

Feb 27-28 Charlotte, NC Blumenthal Performing Arts Center

Mar 2-4 Norfolk, VA Chrysler Hall

Mar 7-11 Chicago, IL Auditorium Theatre

Mar 12 Springfield, IL Sangamon Auditorium, University of Illinois - Springfield

Mar 14 Nashville, TN Tennessee Performing Arts Center

Mar 16-17 Houston, TX Jesse H. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts

Mar 20 Hartford, CT The Bushnell

Mar 22-25 Boston, MA Boch Center Wang Theatre

Apr 10-15 Berkeley, CA Zellerbach Hall, Univ. of California - Berkeley

Apr 18-22 Costa Mesa, CA Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Apr 24-25 Portland, OR The Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

Apr 27-29 Seattle, WA The Paramount Theatre

May 1 Victoria, BC Royal Theatre

May 11-13 Newark, NJ New Jersey Performing Arts Center