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Alvin Ailey Dance Theater Announces New York City Center Season, 12/4 - 1/5

Alvin Ailey Dance Theater Announces New York City Center Season, 12/4 - 1/5

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, beloved as one of the world's most popular dance companies and New York City Center's Principal Dance Company, returns to the New York City Center stage for the 42nd consecutive year from December 4, 2013 - January 5, 2014 with exciting performances that have become a joyous holiday tradition.

Artistic Director Robert Battle continues to expand the Company's diverse repertory with premieres and new productions representing a wide range of important choreographic voices giving Ailey's extraordinary group of artists new ways to inspire audiences.

In-demand choreographer Aszure Barton's world premiere LIFT is an exhilarating exchange with Ailey's renowned dancers, who inspired the process, movement, and composition, as well as the original percussive score by musical partner Curtis Macdonald. With a collaborative stylistic approach that is constantly evolving like no other, Barton's exhilarating new work celebrates and challenges the cast of 19 dancers with its markedly intricate rhythmic patterns and mercurial structure. Barton's distinctive and award-winning choreographic achievements are gaining wide recognition and have been presented by a diverse group of notable national and international dance companies.

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, marks the first time a work by this multi award-winning British choreographer will appear in the Ailey repertory. Set to an amalgam of original music by Joby Talbot and orchestrations of music byJack 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.

Modern dance innovator Bill T. Jones's D-Man in the Waters (Part I) is a true modern dance classic and a New York Dance and Performance ("Bessie") Award-winning work. Set to Mendelssohn's Octet for Strings in E-flat Major, Op. 20 (1825), it is a celebration of life and the resilience of the human spirit that embodies loss, hope and triumph. The addition of this joyful tour-de-force to Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's repertory comes 30 years after Alvin Ailey originally invited Bill T. Jones to create Fever Swamp for the Company.

Ailey's dancers have become known as inspiring interpreters of the dance storytelling of celebrated choreographer Ronald K. Brown.Four Corners, set to the music of Carl Hancock Rux and various artists, recently had its acclaimed world premiere in June during Ailey's historic engagement at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater. Using Brown's signature blend of modern dance and West African idioms, the work's 11 dancers bring to life the vision of four angels standing on the four corners of the earth holding the four winds.

Associate Artistic Director Masazumi Chaya restaged new productions of The River and Pas de Duke ? two of the 14 ballets founderAlvin Ailey created during his career that celebrate the musical genius of the eminent American composer Duke Ellington.

Originally choreographed in 1970 for American Ballet Theatre and first performed by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1980, The River features Ellington's first symphonic score written specifically for dance. A legendary collaboration between two great American artists, the suite 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 human existence.

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. It was first presented as part of the "Ailey Celebrates Ellington" festival 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. Last staged for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater during the 2006-2007 season, it captures the star dancers' technique, personality, and virtuosity as the male and female soloists go toe-to-toe and line-for-line in a bravura and playful competition.

A special program on Tuesday, December 17th celebrating renowned Guest Artist Matthew Rushing, who has been inspiring Ailey audiences for over two decades, will include excerpts of Pas de Duke and Home, as well as A Song for You, Grace, and Revelations in their entirety. Appointed Rehearsal Director and Guest Artist by Robert Battle in 2011, Rushing was a former student of The Ailey School and member of Ailey II before joining Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1992. He is acclaimed as one of the great male artists on the American concert dance stage.

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by Barnett Serchuk