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Ailey II Returns To NYU Skirball

Following a 36-city world tour, Ailey II returns to NYU Skirball from March 13 - 17 for its annual New York season during Ailey's 60th Anniversary celebration. The renowned second company to Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will inspire audiences in dynamic works by some of today's most revered choreographers. Premieres by Uri Sands, Bradley Shelver, Ailey Artistic Director Robert Battle, and Ailey II Artistic Director Troy Powell will grace the stage, along with returning crowd-pleasers by Juel D. Lane, Renee I. McDonald, and Darrell Grand Moultrie.

"As we celebrate Ailey's 60th Anniversary, I am excited to bring in works by choreographers from the Ailey family - Uri Sands, Bradley Shelver, Ailey Artistic Director Robert Battle, and myself," said Powell. "I can't wait for New York audiences to experience the power and grace of these 12 gifted dancers, showcased so beautifully through the works of these incredible choreographers."

Uri Sands, in collaboration with the dancers of Ailey II, created Tracks, a work that braids together ballet, modern, and urban dance techniques. The soundtrack, featuring The O'Jays, Big Louisiana, Arthur Davis, and Willy Rafus, 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," said Powell. "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 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."

In addition to the All New program, audiences can revisit standouts from the 2017-18 season with the Returning Favorites program featuring repertory from Darrell Grand Moultrie, Juel D. Lane, and Renee I. McDonald. Darrell Grand Moultrie's Road To One passionately embraces the journey we all take to find meaning in our lives and eventually pass it on to the next generation. Inspired by a mentor who introduced him to the arts at a young age, Moultrie pays it forward with the Ailey II dancers, creating a high-energy ensemble work that uses elegant, modern movement with a contemporary edge. The musical score features an eclectic range of artists, including Ezio Bosso, Kinjey Bunchens, Monica Chuchi, Oliver Davis, and Spark. Juel D. Lane's Touch & Agree explores what it means to be in love and how we commit to another person without losing our own identity. Lane brings his personal experiences as a black gay man to the stage, using such wide-ranging musical sources as Sam Cooke, James Blake, H.E.R., and Byrell the Great. His unique style fuses contemporary, African, and hip-hop - bringing a fresh choreographic perspective to the ups and downs of relationships today. Jamaican-born choreographer Renee I. McDonald's Breaking Point is an intense depiction of the fight for our heart's desire. Whether it is love, friendship, forgiveness, or a secret longing, these things can take us to our limit. Suitably paired with the bold and pulsating sounds of Audiomachine, McDonald's high-powered, modern-based choreography captures the willpower and frenzy it takes to keep up "the fight" until you hit your breaking point.

The dancers of Ailey II come from near (Bronx native Marcel Wilson, Jr.) and far (Brazilian dancer Leonardo Brito and Swiss-Ghanaian dancer Caroline Theodora Dartey), and New Yorkers have seven chances to see why Dance Magazine hailed these rising stars as "second to none." Tickets starting at $15 are on sale beginning Tuesday, January 29, and can be purchased online at or by phone through NYU Skirball at (212) 998-4941. Tickets for groups of 10 or more can be purchased through Group Sales at (212) 405-9082,

Both programs are approximately two hours, including two intermissions -

All New:

Tracks / Ebb and Flow, Flock / Where There Are Tongues

Wednesday, March 13 at 7:30pm

Friday, March 15 at 8pm

Sunday, March 17 at 3pm

Sunday, March 17 at 7:30pm

Returning Favorites:

Road to One / Touch and Agree / Breaking Point

Thursday, March 14 at 7:30pm

Saturday, March 16 at 2pm

Saturday, March 16 at 8pm

In advance of the Skirball season, and as part of Ailey's 60th Anniversary celebration, Ailey II will perform a special 92nd Street Y Fridays at Noon program on February 1. 60 years after Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater first took the stage at the 92nd Street Y, Ailey II will perform excerpts from Blues Suite, which was featured in that inaugural performance, and other Ailey classics - The Lark Ascending, Hidden Rites, Isba, and his signature masterpiece Revelations. The performance will be followed by a conversation with the iconic Ailey II Artistic Director Emerita Sylvia Waters and the current Artistic Director Troy Powell, both former Ailey dancers. Tickets are available at

Press photos, video and info: | General Ailey II info:

Ailey II is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Ailey II - the second company of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater - 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, the company embodies Mr. Ailey's pioneering mission of establishing 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 direction of Sylvia Waters during its first 38 years. With Artistic Director Troy Powell at the helm, Ailey II continues to thrive as he brings a fresh dimension to this beloved company. Ailey II's annual touring schedule now stretches to Europe and beyond, performing in over 30 cities each year.

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