Alvin Ailey Brings Three Midwest Premieres To Auditorium Theatre In March
The Auditorium Theatre announces programming for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's return to Chicago March 6-10, commemorating the company's 60th anniversary and the 50th anniversary of its first performances at the Auditorium, its Chicago home. During these special engagements, Ailey gives Midwest premieres to its first ever two-act ballet, Rennie Harris' Lazarus; Wayne McGregor's Kairos; and Jessica Lang's EN. The company also performs the Timeless Ailey program, a curated selection of classic pieces by company founder and visionary Alvin Ailey.
"The Auditorium Theatre is honored to be the Chicago home for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater since 1969, and we are excited to celebrate our longstanding partnership with three incredible programs that represent the past, present, and future of this legendary company," says C.J. Dillon, Auditorium Theatre Chief Programming Officer.
Lazarus, choreographed by the renowned hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris and co-commissioned by the Auditorium Theatre, is inspired by the life and legacy of Ailey himself. Lazarus powerfully addresses the racial inequalities that America faced when the company was founded in 1958 and still faces today. Harris, recently named the inaugural artist-in-residence for Ailey, is the founder of Rennie Harris Puremovement and the recipient of a Pew Charitable Trust Choreographer Initiative Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Dance Magazine award. His previous works for Ailey include Love Stories Judith Jamison's dynamic collaboration with Harris and Robert Battle (2004), Home (2011), and Exodus (2015).
Ailey is the first American company to stage British choreographer Wayne McGregor's Kairos, created in 2014 and set on the Ailey company in 2018. Kairos (a word which means both "the most opportune time to take action" and "weather") is an angular, synchronistic ballet set to experimental composer Max Richter's reimagined version of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons. McGregor is the resident choreographer for The Royal Ballet and has created works for companies including Paris Opera Ballet, New York City Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theatre, and more. The Ailey company previously worked with McGregor to stage his work Chroma (2013).
EN, New York choreographer Jessica Lang's first work for Ailey, is a celebratory ensemble work set to original music by composer Jakub Ciupinski. The title for the piece has multiple meanings in Japanese, signifying circle, destiny, fate, and karma. According to Lang, the work "reflects on the universal experience of coming full circle and, as time passes, we recognize the people we meet along life's journey who play a part in the fate and destiny of our lives." Lang is the Artistic Director of Jessica Lang Dance and has created 100 original works, including for American Ballet Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet, the National Ballet of Japan. She is married to Ailey dancer Kanji Segawa, who served as assistant to the choreographer for the creation of EN.
The Timeless Ailey program brings together over a dozen treasures from Alvin Ailey's rich body of work, including excerpts from lesser-seen pieces like Mary Lou's Mass (1971), Ailey's collaboration with "Queen of Jazz" Mary Lou Williams, and The Lark Ascending (1972), set to music by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Other pieces highlighted in Timeless Ailey are Blues Suite (1958), Streams (1970), Hidden Rites (1973), Night Creature (1974), Cry (1971), Phases (1980), Opus McShann (1986), Pas de Duke (1976), For Bird - With Love (1984), Love Songs (1972), and Memoria (1979).
Since its creation in 1960, Revelations has consistently enraptured audiences all over the world with its perfect blend of reverent grace and spiritual elation. Alvin Ailey's signature masterpiece pays homage to and reflects the cultural heritage of the African-American, which Ailey considered one of America's richest treasures - "sometimes sorrowful, sometimes jubilant, but always hopeful." Choreographed when he was only 29 years old, Revelations is an intimate reflection inspired by childhood memories of attending services at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Texas, and by the work of writers James Baldwin and Langston Hughes. Set to a suite of traditional spirituals, Revelations explores the emotional spectrum of the human condition, from the deepest of grief to the holiest joy. A classic tribute to the resolve and determination of a people, the ballet has been seen by more people around the world than any other modern work.
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. 60 years after its founding, Ailey continues to move forward under the leadership of Robert Battle, revealing time and again why Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is one of the world's most beloved dance companies. Visit AlvinAiley.org or AuditoriumTheatre.org for further information.