Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's 2019 Five-Day Lincoln Center Engagement Begins June 12
Led by Artistic Director Robert Battle, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will return to Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts David H. Koch Theater for a seven-performance engagement from June 12-16. Highlights include the world premiere of Darrell Grand Moultrie's Ounce of Faith on Wednesday, June 12; The Ailey Spirit Gala benefit celebrating the 50th Anniversary of The Ailey School on Thursday, June 13; performances celebrating and commemorating Pride Month; and a culminating program on Sunday, June 16 honoring dance legend Carmen De Lavallade.
The Company welcomes five new dancers, all former students of The Ailey School Renaldo Maurice, who returns to the Company after a yearlong hiatus, former Ailey II dancers Yazzmeen Laidler, Corrin Rachelle Mitchell, and Jessica Amber Pinkett, and Ailey/Fordham BFA alumnus Patrick Coker. For a comprehensive season release with details on repertory and the season's three distinct programs Bold Visions, Trailblazers, Timeless Ailey as well as other special performances, click here.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12
Bold Visions 7:30pm
The 2019 Lincoln Center engagement opens with the Bold Visions program, featuring works by Darrell Grand Moultrie, Ronald K. Brown, and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar. Moultrie's world premiere and debut for the Company, Ounce of Faith, uses 12 dancers and an original score to reflect on the legacies that we're all a part of and the universal journey that each person takes to find and share their passion. The evening also welcomes 2018 Dance Magazine Award winner Ronald K. Brown's most recent premiere for the Company, The Call, which seamlessly blends modern and West African dance idioms in a love letter to Mr. Ailey. Jawole Willa Jo Zollar's Shelter, a gripping portrait of homelessness featuring powerful spoken word highlighting how our shelter can be threatened by climate change, will also take the stage.
The Bold Visions program debuts 6/12 and will be performed again on 6/15 at 2pm (Family Matinee w/ dancer Q&A).
THURSDAY, JUNE 13
Ailey Spirit Gala 7:00pm
The centerpiece of the Lincoln Center engagement is The Ailey Spirit Gala benefit celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Ailey School, the official school of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and a springboard for many notable artists including more than 70% of the Company's dancers. The benefit honors the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation for its longtime commitment to the Ailey organization, especially its transformative support of The Ailey School to launch lasting initiatives like the Ailey Athletic Boys scholarship program that introduces young male students into the world of dance. Award-winning actress Lorraine Toussaint, who stars in NBC's The Village, Netflix's She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, AMC's Into the Badlands, and the recently released supernatural thriller Fast Color, has been announced as Honorary Chair.
Guests will see the power of their charitable giving firsthand in the one-night-only performance that brings together all parts of the organization, featuring a special tribute to The School's impact choreographed by Ailey II Artistic Director Troy Powell. Entitled Testimony, the piece d'occasion follows a young boy from an Arts In Education program to the Company, which parallels the inspiring journeys of Powell who was discovered by Mr. Ailey at an outreach activity at age 9 and awarded a scholarship to The Ailey School, before dancing with both companies and later leading the junior company and Ailey dancer Solomon Dumas who was introduced to dance at AileyCamp Chicago and has participated in all parts of the organization. The work includes five sections: talented students from The Ailey School's Junior Division in The Beginning and Professional Division in Perseverance, former AileyCampers from New York and Newark in Home, rising stars of Ailey II in Life Lessons, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Solomon Dumas in Legacy. Following an excerpt from Rennie Harris' acclaimed street dance work Lazarus and an uplifting Revelations finale, a festive soir e takes place on the promenade with dancing to the spinning of DJ M.O.S.
Prominent figures in the worlds of entertainment, business, philanthropy, and politics will be in attendance. Expected guests include The Blonds, Cynthia Erivo, Jasmine Guy, Judith Jamison, Carmen De Lavallade, Zadie Smith, Julia Stiles, Ryan Jamaal Swain, Susan L. Taylor, Darren Walker, Emil Wilbekin, Kehinde Wiley, and others. Gala Co-Chairs Michele & Timothy Barakett, Tia Breakley-China & Robert China, Stephen Meringoff, Almaz & Marc S. Strachan and Daria L. & Eric J. Wallach; and Vice Chairs Joy Altimare, Jaishri & Vikas Kapoor, and Leslie & Tom Maheras will join Artistic Director Robert Battle and the dancers for the gala performance as well as the party that follows.
FRIDAY, JUNE 14
The season welcomes the return of hip-hop innovator Rennie Harris' acclaimed world premiere Lazarus, Ailey's first two-act ballet hailed by The Philadelphia Inquirer America's hottest ballet. Inspired by the life and legacy of the Alvin Ailey, this powerful ensemble work features a soundtrack that melds Nina Simone, Terrence Trent D'Arby, Michael Kiwanuka, Odetta, original music by Darrin Ross, and the voice of Alvin Ailey. The program culminates with Alvin Ailey's American masterpiece, Revelations.
The Trailblazers program debuts on 6/14 and will be performed again on 6/15 (eve).
SUNDAY, JUNE 16
Timeless Ailey 3:00pm
Audiences will have the opportunity to experience excerpts from over a dozen treasures by the Company's groundbreaking founder. Excerpts from rarely seen gems, including Hidden Rites, Opus McShann, The Lark Ascending, and For Bird With Love, will be joined by perennial favorites like Memoria, Night Creature, and Cry, all concluding with Revelations.
An Evening Honoring Carmen De Lavallade 7:30pm
The season culminates with a special evening honoring dance icon Carmen De Lavallade. Audiences and Ms. de Lavallade herself will share in the chance to see current dancers perform roles originally danced by the living legend, including excerpts from Alvin Ailey's Blues Suite, his first ballet for the Company, John Butler's Portrait of Billie, about the iconic jazz singer Billie Holiday, and Lester Horton's Sarong Paramaribo, as well as de Lavallade's own Sweet Bitter Love. The evening also includes Ronald K. Brown's The Call, which pays homage to the cherished relationship between Mr. Ailey and Ms. de Lavallade, alongside Darrell Grand Moultrie's world premiere, Ounce of Faith. A close friend of Alvin Ailey's who first introduced him to dance when they were high school students in Los Angeles, Ms. de Lavallade later journeyed with him to New York where they starred together on Broadway in Truman Capote's House of Flowers. She went on to have an illustrious career in dance, theater, and film, and returned to perform as a guest star with the Company throughout the years.
Ailey Pride Night June 14 at 8pm
Friday evening's Trailblazers program will spotlight LGBT icon Alvin Ailey through two works Rennie Harris' acclaimed Lazarus and Mr. Ailey's Revelations and will end with a Dancers Responding to AIDS appeal to raise funds for those battling the illness.
Family Matinee June 15 at 2pm
Following the Bold Visions Saturday matinee program, the entire family is invited to stay in the theater for a free Q&A with Ailey dancers, moderated by Matthew Rushing.
Ailey Family Pride Father's Day Matinee June 16 at 3pm
All are welcome to commemorate and celebrate Pride with an unforgettable Father's Day experience, featuring the Timeless Ailey program, for parents and kids.
NYC Dance Week Thursday, June 13 Saturday, June 22
Throughout Ailey's Lincoln Center engagement, audiences can celebrate dance onstage and off as NYC Dance Week returns. During the annual citywide festival, Ailey Extension invites dancers of all levels and backgrounds to try over 20 free classes, including Horton (the modern dance technique featured in Revelations), West African, Hip-Hop, Salsa, and many more at The Joan Weill Center for Dance Ailey's home and New York's largest building dedicated to dance. More information on NYC Dance Week is available here.
Ticket to Dance welcomes audience members to try their first Ailey Extension class FREE with the presentation of a performance ticket (returning students receive a free class with the purchase of a 10-class card). The offer is valid for 60 days from the performance date. Ailey Extension has fulfilled Alvin Ailey's life long commitment of bringing dance to everyone by offering real classes for real people in 25 different dance and fitness techniques, seven days a week at The Joan Weill Center for Dance.
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