AAADT & Sweet Honey In The Rock Join Up In Chicago 4/1-5

The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University (ATRU), 50 E. Congress Parkway, proudly announces programming for the 50th Anniversary celebration of the world-renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT), performing as part of ATRU's International Dance Series in a Chicago exclusive engagement April 1 - 5. Tickets are now on sale.

"I am incredibly proud that Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's 2008 engagement at the Auditorium Theatre broke ticket revenue and attendance records for all prior Ailey engagements in Chicago, a testament to the company's unrivaled talent and enduring popularity," said Brett Batterson, executive director, Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. "I am also delighted that AAADT returns to our stage in April to celebrate their 50th anniversary with a dynamic and eclectic repertoire, which includes two Chicago premieres. The Auditorium Theatre's vibrant and diverse audience in Chicago will once again have the opportunity to experience AAADT's incredible artistry and universal appeal."

Recently recognized by U.S. Congressional resolution as a vital "American Cultural Ambassador to the World," AAADT performs a repertoire featuring the talents of a wide array of both established and emerging choreographers. The Chicago premiere of "Go in Grace," choreographed by company member Hope Boykin as her first solo choreographic endeavor for AAADT, is a highlight of opening night. Boykin collaborated with Grammy Award-winning female a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock to create an original composition, including music and lyrics for the piece; the ensemble will perform LIVE ON STAGE as active participants for opening night. "Go in Grace" weaves a gentle, affecting tale of community, family and growth that illustrates the African proverb "it takes a village to raise a child." Boykin casts the dancers and singers as members of a society who unite to move a young girl forward in wisdom and grace.

For Thursday evening's performance, AAADT showcases 50th Anniversary Highlights, a brand new program featuring excerpts from many of Alvin Ailey's most popular and beloved ballets spanning each decade of his phenomenal career. The audience will have the opportunity to discover rarely-seen gems and revisit favorite works including "Blues Suite" (1958), "Streams" (1970), "Choral Dances" (1971), "Mary Lou's Mass" (1971), "The Lark Ascending" (1972), "Hidden Rites" (1973), "Night Creature" (1975), "Cry" (1971), "Phases" (1980), "Landscape" (1981), "For Bird - With Love" (1984), "Caverna Magica" (1986), "Opus McShann" (1988) and Ailey's 1960 masterpiece "Revelations" performed in its entirety.

Another highlight of the engagement is the Chicago premiere of "Festa Barocca" to be performed on Friday and Saturday evening, by acclaimed Italian choreographer Mauro Bigonzetti. Praised for his fresh and inventive sensibility, Bigonzetti brings his distinctly European flair to the Ailey repertory for the first time in a new ballet inspired by the aesthetic beauty of Baroque art. "Festa Barocca" tells the story of a festive party, and Bigonzetti was so inspired by the Ailey dancers' emotional intensity and technical prowess that he cast the entire company in this ballet - a rare and special occurrence. Friday's program also includes Elisa Monte's sculptural, mesmerizing 1979 duet "Treading."

The Saturday matinee performance features a new production of Alvin Ailey's "Blues Suite," the ballet that launched the sensational company in 1958. Blood memories of rural, Depression-era southern Texas come to life in this hugely popular ballet, in which Ailey imagined beloved but troubled characters as they gather for a bawdy night of partying and blues in an old barrelhouse.

Various programs also feature "Suite Otis" (1971) by Tony Award-winning choreographer George Faison, former AAADT company member, in which the timeless music of pioneering soul singer Otis Redding sets the stage for a playful battle of the sexes. The yearning sensuality of soul stirring Redding songs such as "Satisfaction," "Try a Little Tenderness," "I've Been Loving You Too Long" and other favorites burst through this wildly popular six-part suite of dances ripe with romance and humor.

Rounding out the program offerings on Sunday are Robert Battle's sensuous, swirling 2005 duet "Unfold" and Alvin Ailey's "Night Creature," a definitive homage to Duke Ellington's jazz created in 1975. "Night Creature" captivates with Ailey's sensual nighttime rituals, propelling the movement into a fast-paced climatic catharsis using slow jazz walks, boogie woogie and ballet arabesques to create prowling patterns and communal configurations.

The finale of each program is "Revelations," Alvin Ailey's most significant cultural masterpiece. Ailey's inspiration for creating "Revelations" came from a variety of sources: memories of attending Baptist services in Texas as a child, interest in Brueghal's paintings, Oriental Theater and his acquaintances with African American writers James Baldwin and Langston Hughes. Since its premiere in 1960, more people around the world have seen this modern dance classic than any other work.

VENUE: Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Parkway, Chicago, IL 60605
TICKET PRICES: $30 - $82
TICKET PURCHASES: Visit the Auditorium Theatre box office at 50 E. Congress Parkway or
Call Ticketmaster at (800) 982-ARTS or (312) 902-1500 or
Log on to

For general information, please visit

Wednesday, April 1 at 7:30 p.m. (features a LIVE, onstage performance by Sweet Honey In The Rock)
Thursday, April 2 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, April 3 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 4 at 2 & 8 p.m.
Sunday, April 5 at 3 p.m.

Wednesday, April 1 at 7:30 p.m. "Go in Grace" (Boykin 2008) ** ‡ / "Suite Otis" (Faison 1971) * / "Revelations" (Ailey 1960)
Thursday, April 2 at 7:30 p.m. 50th Anniversary Highlights: "Blues Suite" (1958) * / Excerpts of "Streams" (1970), "Choral Dances" (1971), "Mary Lou's Mass" (1971), "The Lark Ascending" (1972), "Hidden Rites" (1973), "Night Creature" (1975), "Cry" (1971), "Phases" (1980), "Landscape" (1981), "For Bird - With Love" (1984), "Caverna Magica" (1986), "Opus McShann" (1988) / "Revelations"
Friday, April 3 at 7:30 p.m. "Festa Barocca" (Bigonzetti 2008) ** / "Treading" (Monte 1979) , "Revelations"
Saturday, April 4 at 2 p.m. "Blues Suite" (Ailey 1958) * / "Suite Otis" * / "Revelations"
Saturday, April 4 at 8 p.m. "Festa Barocca" ** / "Treading" , "Revelations"

Sunday, April 5 at 3 p.m. "Night Creature" (Ailey 1975) , "Unfold" (Battle 2005) / "Suite Otis" * / "Revelations"
** Chicago premiere
* New production
‡ features a special live ONSTAGE performance by Sweet Honey In The Rock
" / " indicates an intermission and " , " indicates a pause
Programming is subject to change


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