Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Announces New York City Center Season, Featuring Company Premieres of AFTER THE RAIN PAS DE DEUX, UPRISING and More
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, recognized as a vital "American Cultural Ambassador" to the world and New York City Center's Principal Dance Company, will return to the New York City Center stage for the 43rd consecutive year from December 3, 2014 - January 4, 2015. The Company will present 39 performances during an exciting annual season that has become a joyous holiday tradition.
Artistic Director Robert Battle continues the expansion of the Company's diverse repertory with premieres from a variety of choreographers and performances of over two dozen ballets that give Ailey's extraordinary dancers many opportunities to inspire audiences.
Odetta Holmes - one of the most influential singers of the 20th century - is rediscovered as renowned Ailey dancer Matthew Rushing marries soul-stirring movement to songs by the artist anointed "the queen of American folk music" by Martin Luther King, Jr. Rushing's world premiere for Ailey, created with the support of commissioning funds from New York City Center, will pay tribute to Holmes's life as a singer, songwriter, actress, activist and "the voice of the Civil Rights Movement," and her musical repertoire encompassing American folk music, blues, jazz, and spirituals.
Planned Company premieres will introduce Ailey audiences and dancers to ballets by three different and respected choreographers whose work is being performed by Ailey for the first time - Christopher Wheeldon, Jacqulyn Buglisi and Hofesh Shechter.
Christopher Wheeldon's dreamlike After the Rain Pas de Deux - praised for its sublime simplicity and intricate partnering - was an instant hit at New York City Ballet in 2005. Set to music by the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, the sensual male-female pas de deux will be revealed in a fresh light as the Ailey dancers make it their own.
Jacqulyn Buglisi's Suspended Women is a mesmerizing ensemble piece created in 2000 illuminating the frailty and strength of women through time. Set to music by Maurice Ravel, and interpolations composed by Daniel Bernard Roumain, it is recognized as one of the signature works by this celebrated former Martha Graham dancer, choreographer and master teacher.
Created in 2006, Hofesh Shechter's acclaimed Uprising features seven men who bombard the stage with intensity in an exhilarating work set to a percussive score by the choreographer himself. Utilizing a movement style that is primal and imbued with a certain high-tension energy, the 38 year old Israeli-born Shechter has risen to become one of Europe's most sought-after dance creators since his move to London in 2002.
In a new production of Ulysses Dove's Bad Blood, emotional passion and kinetic energy encapsulate the powerful yet extremely tender war between the sexes. The work features music by Laurie Anderson and Peter Gabriel and was originally staged on Ailey in 1986, as the fourth of seven ballets mounted on the Company by Dove, who is hailed as one of the most exciting choreographers to emerge in the latter half of the twentieth century.
New York City Center's five-week holiday season will also showcase 2014-2015 season premieres and new productions, including: The Pleasure of the Lesson, the Company's first collaboration with Robert Moses,known for his sophisticated and sexy choreography; Awassa Astrige/Ostrich, a groundbreaking and influential 1932 solo set to Carl Riley's score of African drumming and flute by Sierra Leone-born choreographer Asadata Dafora; Polish Pieces by Hans van Manen, a colorful ensemble work where 12 dancers create a brilliant kaleidoscope through endlessly shifting formations that contrasts with two sensual pas de deux; and David Parsons' gravity-defying Caught, a breathtaking fusion of art and technology demanding split-second timing and athletic stamina.
"Alvin Ailey was a pioneer in creating an American modern dance repertory company, and I am honored to continue expanding our founder's legacy 25 years after his passing. I look forward to returning to New York City Center for the holidays with Ailey's exciting dancers showcasing a wide variety of new works and choreographers in our repertory for the first time," stated Artistic Director Robert Battle. "We are delighted to open the season with a joyful celebration of Joan Weill - someone who means so much to all of us at Ailey and who has helped move the organization forward by leaps and bounds."
The December 3rd Opening Night Gala Benefit performance and party launches the season while raising support for Ailey's extensive educational and training programs for young people. This year's gala will honor Board Chair Joan Weill for 20 years of incomparable leadership at Ailey. The memorable opening performance will begin with the exciting Company premiere of Uprising, and Revelations, danced to live music, will provide the inspiring finale.
In addition to performances of Ailey classics, including Alvin Ailey's signature American masterpiece Revelations and an Ailey/Ellington program, notable ballets from Ailey's recent seasons will also be presented, including Aszure Barton's propulsive work LIFT, Wayne McGregor's spellbinding ballet Chroma, Bill T. Jones' modern dance classic D-Man in the Waters, two works by celebrated choreographer Ronald K. Brown; the spiritually-charged work Grace and 2013-2014 world premiere work Four Corners, and Ohad Naharin's unique and innovative Minus 16.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater inspires all in a universal celebration of the human spirit using the African-American cultural experience and the American modern dance tradition. A quarter of a century after the passing of the Company's legendary founder, Ailey continues to move forward this season under the leadership of Robert Battle. This December, Ailey's inspiring dancers will move audiences in a diverse repertory of premieres, new productions and repertory classics by a variety of choreographers, revealing once again why Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is one of the world's most beloved dance companies.
A detailed performance schedule for the season will be announced prior to September 2nd, when tickets go on sale. Tickets starting at $25 will be available for purchase at the New York City Center Box Office, through CityTix® at (212) 581-1212 or online at www.alvinailey.org or www.nycitycenter.org. Discount tickets are available for Ailey Super Fans who purchase tickets for more than one performance, for students with an appropriate ID and for groups of 10 or more (discounts do not apply to $25 tickets). For group sales, call 212-405-9082 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information about Ailey's New York City Center season please visit www.alvinailey.org.
Wells Fargo is the sponsor of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's New York Season.
American Express is the Official Card of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the lead funder of Odetta.
The creation of Odetta is supported by commissioning funds from New York City Center.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater gratefully acknowledges the support of Diageo during the New York City Center Season.
The 2014-2015 season is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
Photo by Andrew Eccles