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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Announces 2009 New York City Center Season Celebrates Judith Jamison's 20th Year as Artistic Director

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Announces 2009 New York City Center Season Celebrates Judith Jamison's 20th Year as Artistic Director

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, recognized by U.S. Congress as a vital American "Cultural Ambassador to the World," returns to the stage of New York City Center from December 2, 2009 - January 3, 2010 with exciting performances that have become a joyous holiday tradition.

The Company's five-week season will celebrate the renowned Judith Jamison as she embarks on her 20th year as Artistic Director beginning December 2nd at a special one-night-only performance. This Opening Night Gala, with Honorary Chairs and Honored Guests Pauletta and Denzel Washington, will benefit Ailey's scholarship fund and educational programs for children.

Among the series of special programs and performances, Ronald K. Brown pays tribute to Judith Jamison's profound influence with the world premiere of Dancing Spirit, set to music by Duke Ellington, Wynton Marsalis and War.

The multi-talented actor/playwright Anna Deavere Smith will appear live onstage with the Company in select performances, to deliver the narrative recollections she arranged for Hymn, Judith Jamison's Emmy Award-winning homage to Alvin Ailey.

Judith Jamison's new ballet, inspired by a series of her own drawings, examines the joys and complications of human relationships, with original jazz compositions by musical iconoclast Eric Lewis and costumes by the award-winning designer Paul Tazewell.

Others season highlights include a new Best of 20 Years program featuring some of the nearly 100 ballets that Jamison has commissioned or revived in the Ailey repertory during her tenure. AAADT's acclaimed 18-year veteran Matthew Rushing invites audiences to visit the boisterous, swinging glory and meet the legends of the Harlem Renaissance in Uptown, a new work to the music of Fats Waller, Eubie Blake, Nat "King" Cole and more. The Company will also premiere Robert Battle's In/Side, a gripping solo that plays out to the vivid emotions of Nina Simone's "Wild is the Wind".

In addition, throughout the season, Ailey's extraordinary artists will move audiences with a diverse repertory that represents over 40 ballets by 20 choreographers, including favorites such as Alvin Ailey's signature masterpiece Revelations, a must-see for all people.

The Prudential Foundation is the sponsor of AAADT's New York Season.

WORLD PREMIERES

A new ballet (yet untitled), choreographed by Judith Jamison 

Characters from all walks of life come together in Judith Jamison's new collection of vignettes examining the joys and complications of human relationships. Original jazz compositions by the musical iconoclast Eric Lewis and costumes by the award-winning designer Paul Tazewell are inspired by a series of Jamison's own drawings that depict these characters' ordinary and sometimes extraordinary lives.

DEC 4, 5 eve, 10, 16, 18, 19 eve, 20 mat, 22, 29, JAN 1, 3 mat

Dancing Spirit, choreographed by Ronald K. Brown

Ronald K. Brown pays tribute to Judith Jamison's profound influence with a new work that echoes the title of Jamison's autobiography. Set to music by Duke Ellington, Wynton Marsalis and War, Brown's evocative choreography uses movement from Cuba, Brazil and the United States to conjure dancing spirits who embody Jamison's elegance, vision, dignity and generosity.

DEC 11, 12 mat, 22, 27 mat, 29, 30, JAN 3 mat

Uptown, choreographed by Matthew Rushing

Take a vibrant tour through the Harlem Renaissance era in all its boisterous, swinging glory. In this new ballet by the beloved, 18-year Company veteran Matthew Rushing, legends like Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Josephine Baker and their contemporaries come alive to the music of Fats Waller, Eubie Blake, Nat "King" Cole and more.

DEC 9, 12 eve, 13 mat, 22, 26 mat, 27 mat, 29, 30, JAN 1


COMPANY PREMIERE

In/Side, choreographed by Robert Battle

The vivid emotions of Nina Simone's "Wild is the Wind" play out in Robert Battle's gripping solo. The bold, unrestrained style that has become his signature is evinced in this visceral cry of pure physicality.

DEC 23, 26 eve, 29

NEW PRODUCTIONS

"BEST OF 20 YEARS" highlights program

Over the last two decades, Judith Jamison has commissioned or revived nearly 100 works, providing unparalleled opportunities for choreographers both renowned and newly discovered. This season, a "Best of 20 Years" program features highlights from popular ballets she has brought to or revived in the Ailey repertory, representing the wide range of styles and voices that have contributed to the Ailey canon. Among the dances represented in this program are Ronald K. Brown's Grace, Alonzo King's Following the Subtle Current Upstream and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar's Shelter.

DEC 13 eve, 15, 17, 19 mat, 20 eve, 31

Hymn, choreographed by Judith Jamison

Judith Jamison's moving, Emmy Award-winning 1993 homage to Alvin Ailey uses explosive, full company dances and quiet solos to illuminate Ailey's humanity and the dancers' unique qualities. Narrative recollections from dancers are arranged by the multi-talented actor/playwright Anna Deavere Smith, who will appear live onstage with the Company at select performances.


REVIEWS
BWW Previews: VAREKAI by Cirque du Soleil Comes to Prudential Center, 8/27BWW Previews: VAREKAI by Cirque du Soleil Comes to Prudential Center, 8/27

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FROM THE EDITOR
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by Barnett Serchuk