Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Comes to the Segerstrom Center, 3/27-30

Related: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Revelations
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Comes to the Segerstrom Center, 3/27-30

Segerstrom Center for the Arts presents an exclusive Southern California engagement of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater March 27 - 30.

Recognized by the U.S. Congress as a vital American "Cultural Ambassador to the World," Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is one of the most creative and inspiring dance companies in the world. Led by Ailey Artistic Director Robert Battle, this sixth visit to the Center by the Company will feature two programs that include three works never before performed on the West Coast by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Chroma, D-Man in the Waters (Part I) and LIFT. Metro on-line news reported, "In a fresh evening of dance, Robert Battle breathes new life into Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater with works by Wayne McGregor, Bill T. Jones and Aszure Barton ... the program showcases the strength, power and humanity of the charismatic performers in master works by these three talented choreographers." Returning are the beloved Grace and Alvin Ailey's signature American masterpiece, Revelations.

To welcome the return of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the Center and the Company will host Revelations Celebration, a free kick-off event on the Arts Plaza beginning at noon on Saturday, March 22. Visitors of all ages will have the opportunity to participate and engage directly with Company performers and teaching artists and in other activities as well. Among the many activities planned, acclaimed Ailey teaching artist Nasha Thomas-Schmitt, master teacher and former Ailey principal dancer, will teach the distinctive movements of three of the most well-known pieces from the Company's cornerstone work, Revelations, including "Rocka My Soul," "Wade in the Water" and "I've 'Been Buked." Fans and novices alike are welcome!

Discover Ailey takes place in Segerstrom Hall on Wednesday, March 26 and features pre-show audience engagement activities as well as complete performances of D-Man in the Waters (Part I) and Revelations. It is a perfect way for new audiences to discover the energy, artistry and spirit of dance and, in particular the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

Tickets to the Discover Ailey on March 26 are $29 and start at $25 for the complete performances on March 27 - 29. Tickets are now available online at, by calling (714) 556-2787 and at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa. For inquiries about group ticket discounts, call the Group Services office at (714) 755-0236. The TTY number is (714) 556-2746. Free Preview Talks by Company members will be conducted one hour prior to each performance. The Friday, March 28 Preview Talk will be sign-language interpreted. Artists and program are subject to change.

Program A (Thursday, March 27, 7:30 p.m. / Friday, March 28, 7:30 p.m. / Saturday, March 29, 2 p.m.)

Chroma (2006) | First time performed by the Company on the West Coast
Choreographed by Wayne McGregor

The groundbreaking British choreographer's contemporary ballet is full of sensory surprises: sumptuous movement, a driving score by Joby Talbot with orchestrations of songs by The White Stripes, and a luminous set by minimalist architect John Pawson.

"It is as if Mr. Jones' movement invention had simply poured out of him." In this exhilarating work by Kennedy Center Honoree, MacArthur Grant awardee and Tony Award-winner Bill T. Jones (Fela!, Spring Awakening), rigorous formalism and musicality embody resilience and triumph over loss. The piece captures the infectious energy, innocence and will to survive of a beleaguered generation, and though it deals with sorrow, it maintains a defiantly celebratory tone.

Revelations (1960)
Choreographed by Alvin Ailey

This season celebrates five decades of Ailey's timeless masterpiece, Revelations, an American classic called a must-see for all people. Ailey said that one of America's richest treasures was the cultural heritage of the African American - "sometimes sorrowful, sometimes jubilant, but always hopeful." This enduring classic is a tribute to that heritage and to Ailey's genius. Using African American religious music - spirituals - this suite fervently explores the places of deepest grief and holiest joy in the soul.

Program B (Saturday, March 29, 2 p.m. / Sunday, March 30, 2 p.m.)

The River (1970) | New Production
Choreographed by Alvin Ailey

By turns muscular and lyrical, The River is a sweeping full-Company work that suggests tumbling rapids and meandering streams on a journey to the sea. Ailey's allegory of birth, life and rebirth abounds with water references, from the spinning "Vortex" solo to the romantic "Lake" duet, and from the powerful "Falls" quartet to the joyful "Giggling Rapids." Set to Duke Ellington's first symphonic score written for dance, Ailey's choreography demonstrates his admiration for classical ballet but retains the modern and jazz influences found in all his work. "The River shows Mr. Ailey at his inventive best," declared The New York Times.

LIFT (2013) | West Coast Premiere
Choreographed by Aszure Barton

This propulsive world premiere by in-demand choreographer Aszure Barton accentuates the vitality and physical prowess of the Ailey Company. Driven by the dancers' passion, skill and collective power, the work was created over a 5-week developmental process with the entire Company. The 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. "The first section of Aszure Barton's LIFT for eleven men is ... a brilliant and powerful work, capable of standing on its own," said Darrell Wood of NY Dance Stuff.

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by Barnett Serchuk