Ailey II Announces New Works As World Tour Kicks Off
As the "Ailey Ascending" 60th Anniversary celebration gets underway, Ailey II embarks on a 38-city world tour this Saturday, September 15, continuing through May 18 (schedule below). The renowned 12-member ensemble will inspire audiences in nearly two dozen cities across the U.S., including a stop in Atlanta as part of Ailey's Destination Dance initiative, which uses dance as a centerpiece for engagement through partnerships with cultural, civic, and educational institutions. Ailey II will reach international audiences in Canada, Poland, Germany, France and Luxembourg, and will return home for its annual New York season, taking place at NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts March 13 - 17, 2019.
Ailey II is universally renowned for merging the spirit and energy of the country's best young dance talent with the passion and creative vision of today's most outstanding emerging choreographers. One of the most popular dance companies in the country, Ailey II combines a rigorous touring schedule with extensive community outreach programs. In his seventh year as Artistic Director, Troy Powell announces four exciting new commissions.
"This is a special year for the Ailey organization," said Powell. "As the Second Company joins in Ailey's 60th Anniversary celebration, it seems only fitting to bring in works by choreographers from the Ailey family - Uri Sands, Bradley Shelver, Ailey Artistic Director Robert Battle, and myself."
Uri Sands, in collaboration with the dancers of Ailey II, created Tracking Suffering Smiling, a work that braids together ballet, modern, and urban dance techniques. The soundtrack, ranging from The O'Jays to Pharrell and Snoop Dogg, underscores the powerful movement which examines racial, sexual, and economic divisions in our world today.
South African-born Bradley Shelver's high-energy Where There Are Tongues is inspired by the idea that we are all in this world together, succeeding or failing as a collective. The rhythmically complex music, by French a cappella group Lo Còr De La Plana, couples with Shelver's quirky style to make dance theater that will set pulses racing.
An early signature work by Robert Battle, Flock depicts a community of believers under the control of a charismatic but flawed leader. The percussive score, composed by the Scottish virtuoso Evelyn Glennie, delivers intense emotions that mirror Battle's distinctive, hard-hitting choreography.
Troy Powell's picturesque duet Ebb and Flow - set to Samuel Barber's most famous work, "Adagio for Strings" - calls to mind the rush and calm of the ocean tide. This non-narrative work matches the emotional impact of Barber's lyrical music as two beings come together as one.
"I had the pleasure of dancing with Uri Sands in Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in the '90s, a time during which the Company went on a historic tour to South Africa. While there, then-Artistic Director Judith Jamison handpicked Bradley Shelver from an outreach activity to receive a scholarship to The Ailey School, where he attended before joining Ailey II. Both men have become outstanding choreographers, and I'm proud to welcome them home. I'm also thrilled to bring another breathtaking work by Ailey Artistic Director Robert Battle into the repertory. And of course, after six years, I'm excited to unveil my first world premiere since becoming the Artistic Director of this extraordinary company."
Part of Ailey II's tour will include a stop in Atlanta, where they will perform on Friday, October 19 at 8pm at Providence Missionary Baptist Church as part of the ELEVATE festival, and at The Rialto Center for the Arts on Saturday, October 20 at 8pm. Additionally, on Friday, October 19 at Auburn Avenue Research Library, Ailey and Hammonds House will present "Movement In Focus: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater on Film," a screening of 2015's Lincoln Center at the Movies: Great American Dance film, followed by a Q&A with Troy Powell moderated by WABE 90.1 FM host Rose Scott. All of these events are part of Destination Dance, the Ailey organization's initiative to collaborate with Atlanta's arts and civic organizations through workshops, master classes, performances, special events, and more. Destination Dance activities taking place in advance of Ailey II's performances include an AileyDance for Active Seniors workshop, a weeklong Arts In Education Revelations Residency at two Atlanta public schools, an Ailey Extension Horton workshop, and more. For more details on these activities, visit Destination.Dance.
In addition, six new dancers - Grace Bergonzi, Leonardo Brito, Caroline Theodora Dartey, Amarachi Valentina Korie, Alisha Rena Peek, and Marcel Wilson, Jr. - join the six returning members - Antuan Byers, Kyle H. Martin, Corrin Rachelle Mitchell, Adrien Picaut, Arianna Salerno, and Marcus Williams. Along with the three world premieres, Ailey II's touring repertory will include Breaking Point by Renee McDonald, Circular by Jae Man Joo, Road To One by Darrell Grand Moultrie, Touch & Agree by Juel D. Lane, Virtues by Amy Hall Garner, and additional works by members of the Ailey family - Gêmeos by Ailey star Jamar Roberts, Stream of Consciousness by former Ailey dancer Marcus Willis, The Hunt and Takademe by Ailey Artistic Director Robert Battle, and Revelations - the must-see masterpiece by Alvin Ailey himself. For more information on the tour, visit alvinailey.org.
Ailey II - Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Second Company - is universally renowned for merging the spirit and energy of the country's best young dance talent with the passion and creative vision of today's most outstanding emerging choreographers. Founded in 1974 as a bridge between The Ailey School and the professional dance world, Ailey II embodies Alvin Ailey's pioneering mission to establish an extended cultural community that provides dance performances, training, and community programs for all people. Ailey II flourished into one of the most popular dance companies in the country under the leadership of Sylvia Waters from 1974-2012, combining a rigorous touring schedule with extensive community outreach programs. With Artistic Director Troy Powell at the helm, Ailey II continues to thrive as he brings a fresh dimension to this beloved company.