As part of the 19th season of Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will be in residence providing five days of performances, April 6-10, 2022, featuring premieres, returning favorites and Ailey Classics. The Ailey Company is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Ailey’s famous solo Cry which features choreography set to Alice Coltrane’s “Something about John Coltrane,” Laura Nyro’s “Been on a Train” and the Voices of East Harlem singing “Right On, Be Free.” Cry debuted on May 4, 1971, at New York City Center performed by Judith Jamison. This year also marks a decade of leadership by Artistic Director Robert Battle and the company’s residency will include middle school students and older dancers learning the history of and choreography from Ailey’s iconic work Revelations. Tickets are on sale now.
There will be a Robert Battle 10th Anniversary program – an All Ailey program feature: Blues Suite, Alvin Ailey’s original masterpiece based upon his “blood memories” of growing up in rural Texas, Cry, his beloved classic dedicated to “all Black women everywhere—especially our mothers” and a new production of Battle’s Reflections in D from Ailey’s legendary collaboration with Duke Ellington. A later program will include the return of choreographer Rennie Harris’s acclaimed Lazarus. Each performance will culminate in Alvin Ailey’s American 1960 masterpiece Revelations.
“Alvin Ailey’s vision opened the door for generations of artists to use dance to inspire, unite and enlighten,” stated Artistic Director Robert Battle. “Despite the twists and turns on the road we have all traveled together, we continue to find new ways to share artistry that renews our spirit of courage, hope and joy. I am thrilled we are returning to The Music Center and deeply humbled to have led this seminal Company for a decade, joined by incomparable dancers and choreographers on a journey of discovery that extends from the powerful works of our founder to the important voices of today—an ongoing dance dialogue that shines a light on the strength and resilience of our common humanity around the world.”
Also on the list of works are Los Angeles-based choreographer Aszure Barton’s BUSK set to music by Marcus Vinicius da Cruz de M. Morales, August Soderman, Ljova, Camille Saint- Saëns, Moondog, and Daniel Belanger; Robert Battle’s Ella choreographed to music by Ella Fitzgerald; and the finale of Love Stories with music by Stevie Wonder & Clarence Paul-Henry Cosby. Love Stories was a collaboration among Artistic Director Emerita Judith Jamison, choreographer Rennie Harris and Artistic Director Robert Battle, and inspired by the African concept of “Sankofa,” which teaches that “we don’t know where we’re going unless we know where we have been.”
FEATURED REPERTORY BY DATE
Robert Battle 10th Anniversary Celebration
April 6 & April 9 at 2:00 p.m.
Love Stories (Finale)
April 7 & April 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Reflections in D
April 8 at 7:30 p.m. & April 10 at 2:00 p.m.
Lazarus (Act 1)
Lazarus (Act 2)
Blues Suite (1958)
Choreography: Alvin Ailey
“Blood memories” of rural, Depression-era southern Texas, come to life in Blues Suite, Alvin Ailey’s hugely popular ballet that launched Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at its first performance in 1958. 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.”
Reflections in D (1962/New Production 2021)
Choreography: Alvin Ailey
Music: Duke Ellington
Alvin Ailey originally created this strong yet serene solo in 1962. The ballet is a stunning, masterful expression of Duke Ellington’s composition, highlighting the power and grace of the male dancer.
BUSK (2009 / 2019 Company Premiere)
Choreography by Aszure Barton
Music: Marcus Vinicius da Cruz de M. Morales, August Soderman, Ljova, Camille Saint- Saëns, Moondog, Daniel Belanger
Internationally renowned choreographer Aszure Barton invites us to enjoy the fragility, tenderness and resilience that exist within the human experience. Set to a spirited score, BUSK has been described as watching the physical unfurling of the human psyche. Under Barton’s direction, every facet of the dancers’ bodies and minds are engaged and the complex layering of movement reveals the inherent wisdom of the body. The dancers must tap into the collective—a hive mind—to execute Barton’s layered and intricate choreographic structures that then give way to the nuance of each individual. The audience is invited into the work and the performers—as they are—are celebrated as enough.
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 on his muse, the legendary Judith Jamison. This physically and emotionally demanding tour-de-force 16-minute solo—dedicated to “all black women everywhere—especially our mothers” went on to become an enduring work of American art. Made up of three parts—the first is 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.”
Choreography by Robert Battle
Music: Ella Fitzgerald
Originally created as a solo, the high-energy comical Ella was reinvented as a duet by the Ailey company for its December 2016 opening night gala benefit, “An Evening of Ailey and Jazz”—in anticipation of the legendary singer Ella Fitzgerald’s centennial in April 2017. Using a live concert recording of Fitzgerald performing the song “Airmail Special,” Ella matches the iconic singer’s virtuosic scatting with lightning-fast, articulated movement in an irresistible tour-de-force that leaves audiences (and the dancers) breathless.
Choreography by Rennie Harris
Music: Darrin Ross, Nina Simon, Terence Trent D’Arby, Michael Kiwanuka, Odetta
Inspired by the life and legacy of Alvin Ailey, hip hop choreographer Rennie Harris—the organization’s inaugural artist-in-residence—connects past and present in a powerful ensemble work that addresses the racial inequities America faced when Ailey founded this company in 1958 and still faces today. The Company’s first two-act ballet, Lazarus is set to a soundtrack produced by Darrin Ross, with his original music, and featuring Nina Simone, Terrence Trent D’Arby, Michael Kiwanuka, Odetta, spoken text written and adapted by Rennie Harris that is performed by Wadud Ahmad, Rennie Harris as well as the voice of Alvin Ailey.
Love Stories (Finale)
Choreography by Robert Battle
Music: Stevie Wonder & Clarence Paul-Henry Cosby
Love Stories was a collaboration among Ailey Artistic Director Emerita Judith Jamison, choreographer Rennie Harris and Ailey Artistic Director Robert Battle. Inspired by the African concept of “Sankofa,” which teaches that “we don’t know where we’re going unless we know where we have been,” this ballet celebrates the traditions of African American dance and the rich heritage of Alvin Ailey. In the ballet’s joyful finale, Battle portrays a luminous future built on the lessons and legacy of the past. The New York Times called it “astoundingly well danced… a breakthrough in creative choreography” and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution proclaimed, “It’s a party!
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 and acclaimed as a must‐see for all. Alvin Ailey’s signature masterpiece is a tribute to his heritage. 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. Audiences cheer, sing along and dance 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.”
Tickets for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performances at The Music Center start at $34 and are available online at musiccenter.org/ailey; at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Box Office, 135 N. Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012; or by calling (213) 972-0711. For groups of 10 or more, call (213) 972-8555 or email email@example.com.
At the current time, The Music Center requires all members of the public who attend performances and events inside The Music Center’s four theatres to show proof of full vaccination for COVID-19 with a booster as eligible or provide a negative COVID-19 test. An antigen test must be taken within 24 hours prior to the start of the event, and a PCR test must be taken within 48 hours prior to the start time; this includes children over two years of age. At-home COVID tests will not be accepted for entry. This policy applies to performances and events presented by TMC Arts and any organizations that present in The Music Center’s theatres with the exception of The Music Center’s resident companies, which have their own vaccination policies. As directed by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, all current visitors to The Music Center’s indoor venues must wear a face covering, whether fully vaccinated or not. Respiration masks (N95, KN95 and KF94) or well-fitting medical/surgical masks are recommended. These policies could change and will be adapted to current conditions.
In accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Los Angeles County Department of Public Health directives, The Music Center worked behind-the-scenes during the pandemic to prepare for the return of live performances in its venues, both indoors and outdoors, by implementing new measures and procedures. The Music Center became the first performing arts organization in the nation to earn the UL Verified Healthy Buildings Mark for Indoor Air and Water Quality. The Music Center underwent an extensive assessment process to earn the verification, demonstrating that each of its four venues, Grand Park’s administrative office and The Music Center Annex, has excellent quality for indoor air and water. Additionally, The Music Center has enhanced all cleaning procedures, installed hand sanitizer dispensers in all public spaces and created a contact-free experience in its public restrooms as well as instituted electronic ticketing and a digital program book, among other measures. More information about The Music Center’s Commitment to Safety is available at musiccenter.org/safety.
To learn more about the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, please visit their website HERE.
For more information about the Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center, please click HERE.
About The Music Center, please visit their website HERE.
Written and Compiled by Jeff Slayton for LA Dance Chronicle from a Music Center 3/9/2022 press release.
Featured image: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater – Ailey’s “Blues Suite” – Photo by Paul Kolnik