Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater to Perform Engagement in SoCal, 4/6
COSTA MESA, CA - Segerstrom Center for the Arts welcomes the return of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in an exclusive Southern California engagement April 6 - 10, 2016. The program includes eight works never before seen at the Center, four Southern California premieres and new productions of Ailey classics. In addition to the three full repertory programs, on April 3 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Center and the Company will hold their second free community event - Revelations Celebration - on the Arts Plaza, and on April 6 at 7:30 p.m., Discover Ailey, a special hour-long Ailey mini performance with all seats at just one price.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Company is one of the world's most popular dance companies and recognized by the U.S. Congress as a vital American "Cultural Ambassador to the World." For this, its seventh visit to the Center, Artistic Director Robert Battle has selected four new works that have never been seen in Southern California, three new productions of Ailey classics, plus the company's signature American masterpiece, Revelations.
The repertory will include Battle's Awakening and No Longer Silent, Judith Jamison's A Case of You, Ronald K. Brown's Open Door, Rennie Harris' Exodus and Matthew Rushing's ODETTA. The final performance, Sunday, April 10, will be a program of works by company founder, Alvin Ailey: Cry, Love Songs, Blues Suite and Revelations.
The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's stay in Orange County will begin with Revelations Celebration, a free event on Saturday, April 3 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Center's Arts Plaza. Visitors of all ages are invited to participate and engage with Company performers and teaching artists and in other activities as well. Acclaimed Ailey teaching artist Nasha Thomas-Schmitt, master teacher and former Ailey star, will teach the distinctive movements of three of the most well-known pieces from the Company's cornerstone work, Revelations, including "Rocka My Soul," "Wade in the Water" and "I've 'Been Buked." Fans and novices alike are welcome!
Discover Ailey is an ideal introduction to Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and the Company's energy, artistry and spirit of dance. Discovery Ailey is an hour-long moderated performance in Segerstrom Hall on Wednesday, April 6 at 7:30 p.m. Audiences can participate in a number of fun and informative pre-show activities as well as complete performances of Exodus and Revelations.
All tickets to the Discover Ailey on April 6 are $29. Ticket prices for the full performances April 7 - 10 start at $29. Tickets are now available online at SCFTA.org, by calling (714) 556-2787 and at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa. For inquiries about group ticket discounts, call the Group Services office at (714) 755-0236. Free Preview Talks by Company members will be conducted one hour prior to each performance. The Friday evening, April 8 Preview Talk will be sign-language interpreted. Artists and program are subject to change.
Awakening (2015) ? Southern California Premiere Choreography by Robert Battle
Music: John Mackey
In its world premiere on this tour, Robert Battle uses his signature taut, ritualistic choreographic style and a score by composer John Mackey. This is Battle's first world premiere since becoming artistic director follows a community on a cathartic journey from lamentation to peace. Buoyed by the complex rhythmic quality of Mackey's music ("Turning" and "The Attentions of Souls", the third movement from the symphony "Wine-Dark Sea") and a cast of over a dozen of Ailey's extraordinary dancers, Battle's eagerly-anticipated work is a powerful dance of dissonance and harmony, chaos and resolution.
Open Door (2015) ? Southern California Premiere Choreography by Ronald K. Brown
Music: Arturo O'Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra
Ronald K. Brown's Cuban-inspired Open Door is a work for 10 dancers set to the music of Arturo O'Farrill and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, including songs from their recently released Cuba: The Conversation Continues. Recorded in Havana days after President Obama announced the normalization of relations between our countries, the album is hailed as "an ambitious statement that honors deeply held musical traditions while pushing forward" (The New York Times). Brown's travels to Cuba inspired much of the movement, from the salsa partnering to the references to Elegba - the Santería god who opens pathways. A testament to the power of dance and music as vehicles for culture and compassion, Open Door marks the sixth Ailey world premiere by Brown who is renowned for his signature blend of modern dance and West African idioms in works that often lead into deeper examinations of spirituality, community responsibility and liberation.
Exodus (2015) ? Southern California Premiere
Choreography by Rennie Harris
Music: Original compositions by Raphael Xavier. "A New Deal" by Ost & Kjex
Acclaimed hip-hop choreographer Rennie (Lorenzo) Harris creates a highly-anticipated world premiere that explores the idea of "exodus" - from one's ignorance and conformity - as a necessary step toward enlightenment. Set to gospel and house music along with spoken word, the work underscores the crucial role of action and movement in effecting change. Exemplifying his view of hip-hop as a "celebration of life," Exodus marks Harris' latest invitation to return to spiritual basics and affirm who we are. His previous contributions to the Ailey repertory include Home (2011) and Love Stories (2004), an acclaimed collaboration with Judith Jamison and Robert Battle.
No Longer Silent (2007 / Ailey Company Premiere 2015) ? Southern California Premiere Choreography: Robert Battle
Music: Erwin Schulhoff
No Longer Silent is a large ensemble work featuring the imaginative interplay of four groups of dancers evoking a complex and mysterious ritual to Erwin Schulhoff's percussive score "Ogelala." Originally created in 2007 for The Juilliard School, Robert Battle's alma mater, it was part of a concert of choreography that brought to life long-forgotten scores by composers whose work the Nazis had banned. Powerful phrases stir the imagination with images of flight and fatigue, chaos and unity, and collectivity and individualism as dancers travel in military rows. Created between 1922 and 1924, the music tells the story of a pre-Columbian Mexican warrior and its ever-shifting mechanical cadence is the backdrop against which the dancers, dressed in all black, dramatically build to the work's piercing conclusion. Lamentably, the composer was denied employment after the Germans occupied Czechoslovakia and, after being prevented from emigrating, died of tuberculosis in the Wülzburg concentration camp in 1942.
Blues Suite (1958) ? Center Premiere Choreography by Alvin Ailey
"Blood memories" of rural, Depression-era southern Texas, come to life in Alvin Ailey's hugely popular Blues Suite, his first masterpiece that launched the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in the inaugural 1958 performance. With the rumble of a train and the toll of distant bells, a cast of vividly-drawn characters from the barrelhouses and fields of Alvin Ailey's southern childhood are summoned to dance and revel through one long, sultry night. Ailey's first masterpiece poignantly evokes the sorrow, humor and humanity of the blues, those heartfelt songs that he called "hymns to the secular regions of the soul."
Choreography by Alvin Ailey
Music: Alice Coltrane, Laura Nyro, Voices of East Harlem
In 1971, Alvin Ailey choreographed the ballet Cry, as a birthday present for his mother Mrs. Lula Cooper, and created the dance on his stunning muse, Judith Jamison. It was an instant sensation and went on to become an enduring work of American art. This physically and emotionally demanding 16-minute solo is dedicated to "all black women everywhere - especially our mothers." The solo is made up of three parts - the first set to Alice Coltrane's "Something about John Coltrane," the second to Laura Nyro's "Been on a Train" and the last has the Voices of East Harlem singing "Right On, Be Free." Ms. Jamison, who has since taught the treasured role to subsequent generations of Ailey women, wrote of the work in her autobiography Dancing Spirit: "In my interpretation, she represented those women before her who came from the hardships of slavery, through the pain of losing loved ones, through overcoming extraordinary depressions and tribulations. Coming out of a world of pain and trouble, she has found her way-and triumphed."
Love Songs (1972) ? Center Premiere Choreography by Alvin Ailey
Music: Donny Hathaway, Nina Simone
Love Songs, a three-part technical and dramatic tour-de-force originally created for the legendary Dudley Williams, is often viewed as the male counterpart to Cry, the famous woman's solo that Mr. Ailey originally choreographed for his muse, Judith Jamison. The suite opens with Donny Hathaway's tender "A Song For You," followed by Nina Simone's rendition of "A Field of Poppies," an anti-narcotics song in which the audience witnesses the man's descent into self-destruction, and closes with Hathaway singing "He Aint Heavy" as the dancer travels around the stage bearing an imaginary load with resolve. The work gives the soloist a unique opportunity to display both the power and gentleness of the male dancer while digging deep into all the aspects of his relationships - with himself, his fellow man, his brother.
A Case of You (excerpt from Reminiscin' - 2005 / New Production - 2015) ? Center Premiere Choreography by Judith Jamison
Music: Joni Mitchell, performed by Diana Krall
A Case of You is an emotional and sensual duet by Judith Jamison, performed to Diana Krall's version of Joni Mitchell's song by the same title. The duet was originally created in 2004 as a birthday tribute to Chairman Emerita Joan Weill and premiered publicly the following year as part of Ms. Jamison's larger work, Reminiscin', inspired by Edward Hopper's famous painting Nighthawks and great female jazz artists.
ODETTA (2014) ? Center Premiere Choreography by Matthew Rushing Music: Odetta Holmes
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" in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. With a musical repertoire encompassing American folk music, blues, jazz, and spirituals, Odetta influenced many key figures of the 1960s folk-revival scene, including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Mavis Staples, and Janis Joplin. Her song "Take This Hammer" was included on TIME magazine's list of the All-Time 100 Songs. ODETTA is Matthew Rushing's third ballet created for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater following Acceptance In Surrender (2005), a collaboration with Hope Boykin and Abdur Rahim-Jackson, and Uptown (2010), a celebration of the Harlem Renaissance.
Revelations (1960) Choreography by Alvin Ailey Music: Traditional Spirituals
More than just a popular dance work, Revelations has become a cultural treasure, beloved by generations of fans. An American classic acclaimed as a must?see for all, Alvin Ailey's signature masterpiece is a tribute to his heritage and genius. Using African-American spirituals, the work fervently explores the places of deepest grief and holiest joy in the soul. Seeing Revelations for the first time or the hundredth can be a transcendent experience, with audiences cheering, singing along and dancing in their seats from the opening notes of the plaintive "I Been 'Buked" to the rousing "Wade in the Water" and the triumphant finale, "Rocka My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham."
Segerstrom Center's International Dance Series is made possible by: Audrey Steele Burnand Endowed Fund for International Dance, The Segerstrom Foundation Endowment for Great Performances and the Barbara Steele Williams Designated Agency Endowment. This engagement is presented with special underwriting from Tim and Mary Hayward. Segerstrom Center for the Arts applauds Kia, the Official Automotive Partner of the Center and United Airlines is the Official Airline of the Center. Classical KUSC and COAST Magazine are Media Partners of the International Dance Series.
Segerstrom Center for the Arts is an acclaimed arts institution as well as a beautiful multi-disciplinary cultural campus. It is committed to supporting artistic excellence on all of its stages, offering unsurpassed experiences, and to engaging the entire community in new and exciting ways through the unique power of live performance and a diverse array of inspiring programs.
Previously called the Orange County Performing Arts Center, Segerstrom Center is Orange County's largest non-profit arts organization. In addition to its six performance venues, Segerstrom Center is also home to the American Ballet Theatre William J. Gillespie School, where students ages 3 - 14 are taught by acclaimed teachers utilizing the renowned ABT National Training Curriculum in studios utilized by the world's greatest dancers and choreographers.
The Center presents a broad range of programming for audiences of all ages, including international ballet and dance, national tours of top Broadway shows, intimate performances of jazz and cabaret, contemporary artists, classical music performed by renowned chamber orchestras and ensembles, family-friendly programming, free performances open to the public from outdoor movie screenings to dancing on the plaza and many other special events.
The Center's education programs are designed to inspire young people through the arts and reach hundreds of thousands of students each year. In addition to the presenting and producing institution Segerstrom Center for the Arts, the 14-acre campus also embraces the facilities of two independently acclaimed organizations: Tony Award®-winning South Coast Repertory and a site designated as the future home of the Orange County Museum of Art.
Segerstrom Center for the Arts is also proud to serve as the artistic home to three of the region's major performing arts organizations: Pacific Symphony, the Philharmonic Society of Orange County and the Pacific Chorale, who contribute greatly to the artistic life of the region with annual seasons at Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
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.