Ailey's Choreography Unlocked Festival Fosters Community And Creativity With Panels, Performances, And Workshops
As part of the "Ailey Ascending" 60th Anniversary celebration, the Choreography Unlocked Festival of performance, conversation, and master classes will take place at Ailey's home across two weekends - October 12 - 14 & 26- 28. Building on the success of the New Directions Choreography Lab, created by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Artistic Director Robert Battle in 2011, the festival will elevate The Joan Weill Center for Dance's role in the community as a hub for creating and presenting new work and fostering the next generation of choreographers.
Leaders from the arts world will come together for a series of enlightening panel discussions taking place across both festival weekends. On Friday, October 12 at 6pm choreographer Ronald K. Brown will interview Robert Battle about the choreographic process in Unlocking the Mystery of Choreography. Saturday, October 13 welcomes Battle back as the moderator of a 4pm Nurturing New Voices conversation about how institutions can encourage emerging artists across genres, featuring panelists Thelma Golden (Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem), Rennie Harris (Founder of Rennie Harris Puremovement and Ailey's 2018-19 Artist-in-Residence), Tarell Alvin McCraney (Oscar-winning co-writer of Moonlight, Chair of Playwriting at the Yale School of Drama), Shanta Thake (Senior Director of Artistic Programs at The Public Theater), and Darren Walker (President of The Ford Foundation).
On Friday, October 12 and Saturday, October 13 (both at 8pm) Choreography Unlocked performances will bring works by New Directions alumni Netta Yerushalmy, Juel D. Lane, and Camille A. Brown to the Ailey Citigroup Theater stage. Yerushalmy's ensemble work PICTORGRAMS will be performed; followed by a solo and duet from Lane's 2017 work for Ailey II, Touch & Agree, and his dance film, Daydream; and the evening will culminate with Brown performing a solo from her work Mr. Tol E. RAncE. Each work will be introduced through a brief conversation with Battle and the choreographer.
On Friday, October 26 at 12pm, New Directions alumni and invited choreographers will hear Battle and Judy Hussie Taylor (Danspace Project Executive Director and Chief Curator) discuss how they process choreography. The panels conclude on Saturday, October 27 with an 8pm Process and Research conversation moderated by Judy Hussie Taylor, featuring Dianne McIntyre (Choreography Fellows Program Director at Jacob's Pillow), Matthew Rushing (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Rehearsal Director and Guest Artist), and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar (Urban Bush Women Founder), about the role research plays in the process of creating art.
The public will have the rare opportunity to learn choreography from Ailey's Artistic Director when Robert Battle teaches an Ailey Extension Choreography Workshop on Sunday, October 14 at 12pm. Private learning activities include workshops for students from The Ailey School's Professional Division led by Stefanie Batten Bland on Friday, October 12 at 1:30pm and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar on Friday, October 26 at 2pm; and workshops led by Zollar (through Urban Bush Women's Choreography Institute Initiative) for New Directions alumni and invited choreographers on Saturday, October 27 at 4pm and Sunday, October 28 at 3pm.
For tickets and registration to Choreography Unlocked activities, visit alvinailey.org/choreography-unlocked-festival or call OvationTix at 866-811-4111.
Choreography Unlocked is part of a yearlong celebration in honor of Alvin Ailey's pioneering legacy and enduring vision. This landmark year includes Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's New York City Center season November 28 - December 30, Ailey Legacy Panels taking place throughout New York City, and more.
For the complete "Ailey Ascending" 60th Anniversary press release, click here.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 12
1:30pm - Master Choreography Workshop for The Ailey School's Professional Division led by Stefanie Batten Bland (Closed)*
8pm - Performance: PICTOGRAMS by Netta Yerushalmy, Touch & Agree (excerpts) and Daydream by Juel D. Lane, Mr. Tol E. RAncE by Camille A. Brown
$30; Ticket package with 6pm conversation and performance: $35
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 13
4pm - Panel Discussion: Nurturing New Voices - Thelma Golden, Rennie Harris, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Shanta Thake, Darren Walker, moderated by Robert Battle
$20; Ticket package with conversation and 8pm performance: $45
8pm - Performance: PICTOGRAMS by Netta Yerushalmy, Touch & Agree (excerpts) and Daydream by Juel D. Lane, Mr. Tol E. RAncE by Camille A. Brown (Public)
$30; Ticket package with 6pm conversation and performance: $45
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 14
12pm - Robert Battle Workshop at Ailey Extension
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26
12pm - Conversation with Robert Battle and Judy Hussie Taylor (Closed)*
2pm - Master Choreography Workshop for The Ailey School's Professional Division led by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar (Closed)*
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27
4pm - Master Choreography Workshop for NDCL alumni and invited choreographers led by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar (Closed)*
8pm - Panel Discussion: Process and Research - Dianne McIntyre and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, moderated by Judy Hussie Taylor
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 28
3pm - Master Choreography Workshop for NDCL alumni and invited choreographers led by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar (Closed)*
*These events are not open to the public.
Robert Battle created the New Directions Choreography Lab in 2011, during his first year as Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, to serve the entire field of dance. The program assists choreographers in developing their craft by granting resident fellowships to four emerging and mid-career artists. The selected choreographers receive a monetary stipend, creative mentorships, the opportunity to utilize dancers from The Ailey School, and rehearsal time at Ailey's home - The Joan Weill Center for Dance. Unlike other programs that require the production and presentation of a final performance or commission, Ailey's lab enables choreographers to focus solely on the process of choreography as a creative experience, free from restricting expectations or deadlines. The 2018-19 fellows and mentors are Kyle Marshall and Rennie Harris; Davalois Fearon and Gus Solomons, Jr.; Yusha Sorzano and Charmaine Warren; and Bryn Cohn and Joanna Koetze.
About Ailey's 60th Anniversary
When Alvin Ailey and a small group of African American modern dancers first took the stage in 1958, appearing at New York City's 92nd Street Y, the engagement was for one night only-but it turned out to be the start of a new era in the performing arts. Mr. Ailey became one of the groundbreaking greats in African American history, while the work of his Company grew beyond the limits of the stage to encompass education at all levels, community outreach and cultural diplomacy. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater now embodies six decades of achievement, celebrating the human spirit with performances that unite and inspire all. This fall the organization that Mr. Ailey founded is honoring his pioneering legacy and carrying it forward with a 60th Anniversary celebration titled Ailey Ascending. In the spirit of Mr. Ailey's belief that "dance came from the people and should always be delivered back to the people," the celebration will include the Choreography Unlocked Festival of performance, conversation and master classes; exceptional discussions and legacy panels at partner institutions throughout New York City; a momentous New York City Center Season of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, November 28 through December 30; national and international tours by the first company and Ailey II, and more.
About Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, recognized by U.S. Congressional resolution as a vital American "Cultural Ambassador to the World," grew from a now?fabled March 1958 performance in New York that changed forever the perception of American dance. Founded by Alvin Ailey, recent posthumous recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom - the nation's highest civilian honor, and guided by Judith Jamison beginning in 1989, the Company is now led by Robert Battle, whom Judith Jamison chose to succeed her on July 1, 2011. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has performed for an estimated 25 million people in 71 countries on 6 continents - as well as millions more through television broadcasts, film screenings, and online platforms - promoting the uniqueness of the African?American cultural experience and the preservation and enrichment of the American modern dance tradition. In addition to being the Principal Dance Company of New York City Center, where its performances have become a year?end tradition, the Ailey company performs annually at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami?Dade County in Miami, The Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley, CA and at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark where it is the Principal Resident Affiliate), and appears frequently in other major theaters throughout the United States and the world during extensive yearly tours. The Ailey organization also includes Ailey II (1974), a second performing company of emerging young dancers and innovative choreographers; The Ailey School (1969), one of the most extensive dance training programs in the world; Ailey Arts in Education & Community Programs, which brings dance into the classrooms, communities and lives of people of all ages; and The Ailey Extension (2005), a program offering dance and fitness classes to the general public, which began with the opening of Ailey's permanent home-the largest building dedicated to dance in New York City, the dance capital of the world -named The Joan Weill Center for Dance, at 55th Street at 9th Avenue in New York City. For more information, visit www.alvinailey.org.