New York Trend Online
Serving New York City, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties
0

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Announces Programming for New York City Center Season Dec. 4, 2019 – Jan. 5, 2020

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Jacqueline Green in Alvin Ailey’s Revelations. Photo by Paul Kolnik.

 Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, New York City Center’s Principal Dance Company, returns to the theater’s stage from December 4, 2019 – January 5, 2020. Artistic Director Robert Battle leads Ailey’s 32 extraordinary dancers during this annual five-week engagement, which has become a joyous holiday tradition.  The repertory features more than two dozen diverse works by some of the world’s preeminent choreographers, including world premieres by Donald Byrd and Ailey dancer and newly announced Resident Choreographer Jamar Roberts, company premieres by Aszure Barton and Camille A. Brown, and new productions by Judith Jamison and Lar Lubovitch.

“I’m not only excited about this season’s topical works and the range of choreographers, but also to announce Jamar Roberts as Ailey’s first-ever Resident Choreographer” stated Artistic Director Robert Battle. “Continuing the Company’s legacy of excellence, works will be staged by three dance masters while we also showcase the artistry of some of today’s most sought-after choreographers following in their footsteps. We will also celebrate Masazumi Chaya, the untiring and unmatched keeper of the flame whose dedication to Alvin Ailey’s vision spans nearly five decades, as well as The Ailey School for fifty years of world-class training that has developed countless performing artists. And we’re happy to kick off the season honoring Elaine Wynn at the Opening Night Gala, as her support led to our building’s expansion, allowing the organization – especially The Ailey School – to grow and thrive.” 

Ailey’s December 4th Opening Night Gala Benefit performance at New York City Center and party at the New York Hilton Midtown Grand Ballroom honors philanthropist Elaine Wynn and the Elaine P. Wynn & Family Foundation. Wynn’s generous contributions have supported the creation of new works as well as the Elaine Wynn & Family Education Wing, which added three floors – featuring four dance studios and two classrooms – to The Joan Weill Center for Dance in 2017. The evening raises funds to support the creation of new works and Ailey’s extensive educational and training programs for young people. The one-night-only performance features two Merce Cunningham Centennial Solo – the first time this landmark choreographer’s work will be seen on the Ailey stage – special season excerpts, and an uplifting Revelations finale featuring live musicians and singers.  

Celebrated choreographer Donald Byrd, known for his eclecticism and creating compelling characters, will present his fifth premiere for the Company on Friday, December 6thGreenwood is an ensemble work with music by Israeli violist and composer Emmanuel Witzthum that draws on Ailey’s theatrical roots and legacy of shining a spotlight on social issues. A TONY nominee (The Color Purple), Bessie Award-winner (The Minstrel Show) and 2019 Doris Duke Artist Award recipient, Byrd is using the 1921 Tulsa riots as a source of inspiration.   

The following week, on Tuesday, December 10thAiley dancer Jamar Roberts will unveil Ode, the first in a series of three works as he steps into the new role of Resident Choreographer. Like his critically-acclaimed Members Don’t Get Weary (2017), this work for six dancers will feature a jazz score – Don Pullen’s “Suite (Sweet) Malcolm (Part 1 Memories and Gunshots).” Ode offers a meditation on the beauty and fragility of life in a time of growing gun violence and will include Roberts’ own costume designs. The work will be explored during a special Works & Process preview event at the Guggenheim on Monday, November 18. A member of the Company since 2002, Roberts has become renowned for his powerful performances on world stages, including at The White House and as a guest star with London’s Royal Ballet, receiving the prestigious New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” award for Outstanding Performer.

The December 10 performance also celebrates The Ailey School’s 50th Anniversary. Founded in 1969, The program has served as a springboard for many notable artists, including season choreographers Camille A. Brown and Roberts, along with more than 70% of the dancers in the Company. In addition to Ode, the evening will also feature students from The Ailey School alongside the Ailey dancers in Alvin Ailey’s Memoria and Revelations

Opening on Friday, December 13th, Award-winning choreographer Aszure Barton’s dazzling BUSK is an episodic look at the nature of performance and the vulnerabilities that artists face in revealing themselves onstage. A group work spotlighting the Ailey dancers, Barton adapts the choreography for each new production, drawing on the individual strengths and personalities of each performer. The founder and director of Aszure Barton & Artists, an inter-disciplinary international dance project, she has collaborated with celebrated dance artists and companies including Mikhail Baryshnikov, American Ballet Theatre, Teatro alla Scala, Nederlands Dans Theater, Martha Graham Dance Company, National Ballet of Canada and Sydney Dance Company, among many others, and choreographed the Broadway production of The Threepenny Opera.

Premiering on Tuesday, December 17th, Camille A. Brown’s quietly lyrical City of Rain honors the struggles and grace of a lost friend, showing a different facet of the choreographer than Ailey audiences have seen in her previous works for the Company (The Groove To Nobody’s Business and The Evolution of a Secured Feminine).  Dedicated to Greg ‘Blyes’ Boomer, the work for 10 dancers is set to an original composition by Jonathan Melville Pratt entitled Two Way Dream.  A recipient of numerous honors, including a 2014 Bessie Award for Outstanding Production for the work Mr. TOL E. RAncE (Camille A. Brown & Dancers), Ms. Brown choreographed Broadway’s Choir Boy (TONY nominee for Best Choreography), the TONY Award-winning revival of Once On This Island, and the Emmy Award-Winning television special, “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert.”

New productions taking the stage this season include Judith Jamison’s Divining (1984) – her first major choreographic effort which incorporates North African, Central African, and Latin rhythms and complex movement – and Lar Lubovitch’s Fandango (1995) – a sensually athletic duet set to Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero” that explores the infinite possibilities of partnering. 

The New York City Center engagement also marks the final season as Associate Artistic Director for Masazumi Chaya, who will be celebrated with a special program on Sunday, December 22nd. The tribute performance will feature over a dozen excerpts that highlight his extensive career of nearly five decades, a special piece d’occasion created by Matthew Rushing, and appearances and performances by former company members. 

In addition, the engagement showcases a variety of 2018-19 season premieres: Darrell Grand Moultrie’s uplifting Ounce of Faith; hip-hop innovator Rennie Harris’ acclaimed Lazarus; Ronald K. Brown’s “love letter to Mr. Ailey,” The Call; and Jessica Lang’s luminous EN.

Special season programs include All Ailey performances comprised of four of Mr. Ailey’s most celebrated ballets, Night Creature, Cry, Memoria, and Revelations (December 12, 14 mat); Three Visionaries featuring ballets by each the Company’s artistic directors – Alvin Ailey, Judith Jamison, and Robert Battle (December 21 mat, 24, Jan 4 mat); Ailey Classics featuring excerpts of eight works by Mr. Ailey, from rarely-seen gems – including Hidden Rites, Mary Lou’s Mass, and Phases – to timeless favorites – like Night Creature and Cry (December 19, 22 mat, 28 mat, Jan 3); and All New programs of season premieres (December 14 eve, 20, 28 eve, Jan 1, Jan 4 eve).   

The engagement also includes Family Matinee performances each Saturday at 2pm, followed by a Q&A session with Ailey’s revered dancers after the finale of Revelations, a must-see for all ages. Revelations will also bring an inspiring close to the performances on Christmas EveChristmas DayNew Year’s Eve, and a special Season Finale on January 5, what would have been Mr. Ailey’s 89thbirthday.  Live music performances of Revelations will take place on December 4, 6, and 7 (matinee and evening). New dancers performing in their City Center debut with Ailey are Patrick CokerJames Gilmerand Corrin Rachelle MitchellA detailed performance schedule is attached (subject to change). 

Following the New York City Center engagement, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will dance from coast-to-coast on a 21-city National Tour from February – May 2020.  A tour schedule is below (subject to change).

In 1958, Alvin Ailey and a small group of dancers took the stage in New York and forever changed American dance and culture. One of the country’s groundbreaking greats, his Company inspires all in a universal celebration of the human spirit using the African-American cultural experience and the modern dance tradition. More than 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 

Tickets starting at $29 are on sale Monday, September 9 at the New York City Center Box Office, through CityTix® at (212) 581-1212, or 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 $29 tickets). For group sales, call 212-405-9082 or email groupsales@alvinailey.org.  For further information about Ailey’s New York City Center season please visit www.alvinailey.org

Delta Air Lines is the Official Airline of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s New York Winter Season.

American Express is the Official Card of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and a major supporter of the company premiere of City of Rain.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater gratefully acknowledges the support of Diageo, North America.

The creation of Ode is supported by commissioning funds from New York City Center.

Generous support for the creation of Ounce of Faith is provided by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Bank of America is the sponsor of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s 2020 North American Tour

The 2020 North American Tour is supported, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Wells Fargo is the sponsor of Ailey Young New York.

The 2019 Winter 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.

For more general information, visit www.alvinailey.org.

New York City Center 2019 Season Highlights: 
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will take the stage at New York City Center from December 4, 2019 – January 5, 2020 in a five-week season that has become a joyous holiday tradition. Led by Artistic Director Robert Battle, Ailey’s acclaimed dancers will perform an expansive repertory of more than two dozen works, including the world premieres by Jamar Roberts – the Company’s newly announced Resident Choreographer – and Donald Byrd. The season also includes company premieres of Aszure Barton’s BUSK and Camille A. Brown’s City of Rain, and new productions of Judith Jamison’s Divining and Lar Lubovitch’s Fandango. The season begins on December 4th with an Opening Night Gala Benefit honoring Elaine Wynn and the Elaine P. Wynn & Family Foundation, which includes a performance at New York City Center and party at the New York Hilton Midtown Grand Ballroom to raise funds to support the creation of new works and Ailey’s extensive educational and training programs for young people. Other highlights include special live music performances of Revelations; evenings celebrating The Ailey School’s 50th Anniversary and Masazumi Chaya; All Ailey, Three Visionaries, Ailey Classics, and All New programs; Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day performances; the Family Matinee Series with a post-performance Q&A with dancers; and a Special Season Finale. 

WORLD PREMIERES
Greenwood (World Premiere)  
Choreography by Donald Byrd                              Music: Emmanuel Witzthum
Renowned choreographer Donald Byrd returns with Greenwood, his fifth work for Ailey. Byrd’s long association with the Company, his adeptness at creating compelling characters, and his reputation as “an unabashed eclectic” (The New York Times) promise an original work that draws on Ailey’s theatrical roots and legacy of shining a spotlight on social issues.  A TONY nominee (The Color Purple), Bessie Award-winner (The Minstrel Show) and 2019 Doris Duke Artist Award recipient, Byrd is using the 1921 Tulsa riots as a source of inspiration.   

Ode (World Premiere)
Choreography by Jamar Roberts                                      Music:  Don Pullen
Ailey dancer Jamar Roberts offers a meditation on the beauty and fragility of life in a time of growing gun violence. Like his critically-acclaimed Members Don’t Get Weary (2017), this work will feature a jazz score – Don Pullen’s “Suite (Sweet) Malcolm (Part 1 Memories and Gunshots)” – and Roberts’ own costume designs. A member of the Company since 2002, Roberts has become renowned for his powerful performances on world stages, including at The White House and as a guest star with London’s Royal Ballet, receiving the prestigious New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” award for Outstanding Performer. Ode is the first in a series of three works he is creating in his new role as Resident Choreographer.

Ounce of Faith (2019 Lincoln Center World Premiere)
Choreography by Darrell Grand Moultrie                     Music: Wynton Marsalis & Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Chuck Harmony, Liquid Liquid
The lasting impact of a teacher’s influence on a young child is at the heart of this exuberant work by Darrell Grand Moultrie. Using a mix of jazz standards, original music, and spoken word, Moultrie reflects on the legacies that we’re all a part of and the notion that “when someone has an ounce of faith in you, it can change the course of your life.”

COMPANY PREMIERES
BUSK (2009 / 2019 Company Premiere)
Choreography by Aszure Barton     Music: August Soderman, Camille Saint-Saëns, Daniel Belanger, Ljoyva, Moondog, Slava Grigoryan
Aszure Barton’s dazzling BUSK is an episodic look at the nature of performance and the vulnerabilities that artists face in revealing themselves onstage. Though the ballet has previously been performed by other companies, Barton adapts the choreography for each new production, drawing on the individual strengths and personalities of each dancer. This is Barton’s second work for the Company, following 2013’s LIFT. The founder and director of Aszure Barton & Artists, an inter-disciplinary international dance project, she has collaborated with celebrated dance artists and companies including Mikhail Baryshnikov, American Ballet Theatre, Teatro alla Scala, Nederlands Dans Theater, Martha Graham Dance Company, National Ballet of Canada and Sydney Dance Company, among many others, and choreographed the Broadway production of The Threepenny Opera.

City of Rain (2010 / 2019 Company Premiere)  
Choreography by Camille A. Brown       Music: Jonathan Melville Pratt
Camille A. Brown’s quietly lyrical City of Rain honors the struggles and grace of a lost friend, showing a different facet of the choreographer than Ailey audiences have seen in her previous works for the Company (The Groove To Nobody’s Business and The Evolution of a Secured Feminine). Dedicated to Greg ‘Blyes’ Boomer, the work for 10 dancers is set to an original composition by Jonathan Melville Pratt entitled Two Way Dream. A recipient of numerous honors, including a 2014 Bessie Award for Outstanding Production for the work Mr. TOL E. RAncE (Camille A. Brown & Dancers), Ms. Brown choreographed Broadway’s Choir Boy (TONY nominee for Best Choreography), the TONY Award-winning revival of Once On This Island, and the Emmy Award-Winning television special, “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert.” She is an alumna of The Ailey School.

Cunningham Centennial Solos 
Choreography by Merce Cunningham                                                  Music: John King
For the first time on the Ailey stage, Company members perform the work of modern dance giant Merce Cunningham. Jacquelin Harris and Chalvar Monteiro will perform solos that they danced in Night of 100 Solos: A Centennial Event, which was presented at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on April 16, 2019 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Merce Cunningham’s birth. The solos came from work spanning five decades: Scramble (1967), Loops (1971), Landrover (1972), Change of Address (1992), Scenario (1997), Way Station (2001), and Nearly Ninety (2009), and were arranged into a continuous sequence by Merce Cunningham Trust stager Jean Freebury. With this performance, the Ailey company joined in the worldwide celebration of the innovative choreographer’s life and legacy. 

NEW PRODUCTIONS
Divining (1984 / New Production 2019)
Choreography by Judith Jamison       Music: Monti Ellison & Kimati Dinizulu
Judith Jamison’s first choreographic effort, created five years before her ascent to artistic director of the Ailey company, displays the musical sophistication and complexity of movement that marked her as a promising dancemaker. African and Latin rhythms lend the work an air of mystery and mysticism while the title suggests a search or quest. Jamison joined Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1965 and quickly became an international star. Over the next 15 years, Mr. Ailey created some of his most enduring roles for her, most notably the tour-de-force solo Cry. In 1989, Mr. Ailey asked her to succeed him as Artistic Director, and in the 21 years that followed, she brought the Company to unprecedented heights.

Fandango (1990 / Company Premiere 1995 / New Production 2010)
Choreography by Lar Lubovitch        Music: Maurice Ravel
In his sensually athletic duet, Lar Lubovitch explores the infinite possibilities of partnering, the dancers’ bodies coming together as if propelled by the lush intensity of Ravel’s “Bolero”.

Ailey Classics (Special Program)
Choreography by Alvin Ailey      Music: Various Artists
This special program brings new vitality to treasures from Mr. Ailey’s wonderfully rich body of work, including highlights of seldom-seen gems like Hidden Rites, Mary Lou’s Mass, and Phases as well as perennial favorites like Memoria, Night Creature, and Cry. Act I excerpts: Memoria – first section (1979), Night Creature – second and third sections (1974); Act II excerpts: Phases – “Flight Time” (1980), Mary Lou’s Mass (1971), For Bird – With Love – “A Night in Tunisia” (1984), Hidden Rites – “of Love” (1973), Love Songs – “A Song for You” (1984), Cry – third section(1971). Act III: Revelations

2018-2019 SEASON PREMIERES & NEW PRODUCTIONS 
Lazarus (World Premiere)
Choreography by Rennie Harris   Music: Darrin Ross, Nina Simon, Terence Trent D’Arby, Michael Kiwanuka, Odetta
Acclaimed hip-hop choreographer Rennie (Lorenzo) Harris returns to Ailey this season with the Company’s first two-act work, Lazarus. Inspired by the life and legacy of Mr. Ailey, Harris connects past and present in a powerful work that addresses the racial inequities America faced when Mr. Ailey founded this company in 1958 and still faces today. Harris’ previous contributions to the Ailey repertory include Exodus (2015), Home (2011), and Love Stories (2004), an acclaimed collaboration with Judith Jamison and Robert Battle.

The Call (World Premiere)
Choreography by Ronald K. Brown     Music: Johan Sebastian Bach, Mary Lou Williams, Asase Yaa Entertainment Group
Ronald K. Brown’s joyous mix of modern and West African dance idioms – seen previously in Grace (1999), Open Door (2015), Four Corners (2013), and other works – fits the Ailey dancers perfectly, and his themes of spiritual awakening and redemption never fail to inspire. The Call, which is Brown’s seventh work for the Company and a love letter to Mr. Ailey, promises to once again rouse audiences with Brown’s infectious call for harmony and hope.

EN (2018-19 Season World Premiere) 
Choreography by Jessica Lang                           Music: Jakub Ciupinski
Jessica Lang, a 2014 New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award and 2017 Arison Award recipient, makes her choreographic debut on the Ailey company with the world premiere EN, her 100th ballet.  EN – whose multiple meanings in Japanese signify circle, destiny, fate and karma – is a celebratory ensemble work set to original music by composer Jakub Ciupinski, with costumes by Bradon McDonald.  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.” 

Season Repertory
In addition to the premieres, new productions, and special programs, the season repertory includes:

A Case of You – Judith Jamison (2004)
Music: Joni Mitchell, performed by Diana Krall Cry – Judith Jamison (1971)
Music: Alice Coltrane, Laura Nyro, Voices of East HarlemElla – Robert Battle (2016)
Music: Ella Fitzgerald In/Side – Robert Battle (2008)
Music: Nina Simone
Mass – Robert Battle (2017)
Music: John MackeyMemoria – Alvin Ailey (1970)
Music: Keith JarrettNight Creature – Alvin Ailey (1974)
Music: Duke Ellington Revelations – Alvin Ailey 1960
Music: Traditional Spirituals

SEASON HIGHLIGHTS & SPECIAL PROGRAMS
Opening Night Gala Benefit (Dec. 4 at 7pm)
The 2019 Opening Night Gala Benefit honoring Elaine Wynn and the Elaine P. Wynn & Family Foundation includes a performance of special season excerpts, two Cunningham Centennial Solos and culminates with an uplifting Revelations finale featuring live musicians and singers. Followed by a dinner-dance at the New York Hilton Midtown Grand Ballroom, the benefit raises support for the creation of new works and Ailey’s extensive educational and training programs for young people. 

Family Matinee Series (Dec. 7, 14, 21, 28, and Jan. 4)
On Saturday afternoons, bring the whole family to enjoy the performance and stay for a free Q & A with the Ailey dancers in the theater following the inspiring finale of Revelations, which is acclaimed as a must-see for all ages.     

Celebrating The Ailey School at 50 (Dec. 10)
Join Ailey in celebrating The Ailey School’s 50th Anniversary at this special performance, featuring former Ailey School student Darrell Grand Moultrie’s Ounce of Faith, and students performing alongside the Company in Alvin Ailey’s Memoria and Revelations.

Celebrating Masazumi Chaya (Dec. 22 at 7:30pm)
Ailey celebrates longtime Associate Artistic Director Masazumi Chaya during his final season with a tribute performance featuring over a dozen excerpts that highlight his extensive career, a special piece d ‘occasion created by Matthew Rushing, and appearances and performances by former company members.

Christmas Eve Performance (Dec. 24)
Dance into the holidays with a festive the Three Visionaries program on Christmas Eve featuring Robert Battle’s Mass and In/Side, Judith Jamison’s A Case of You and Divining, and Alvin Ailey’s timeless masterpiece Revelations.  

Christmas Day Performance (Dec. 24)
Celebrate the holidays with three joyful works – Darrell Grand Moultrie’s Ounce of Faith, Jessica Lang’s EN, and Alvin Ailey’s Revelations

New Year’s Eve Performance (Dec. 31 at 7pm)
Join Ailey for a very special New Year’s Eve performance, featuring Darrell Grand Moultrie’s Ounce of Faith, Donald Byrd’s world premiere, and Revelations

Revelations – performed with live music – November 29, December 1, and 2 (mat and eve)

“All Ailey” Programs – December 12, 14 mat

“Three Visionaries” Programs – December 21 mat, 24, Jan 4 mat

“Ailey Classics” Programs – December 19, 22 mat, 28 mat, Jan 3

“All New” Programs – December 14 eve, 20, 28 eve, Jan 1, Jan 4 eve

Ticket to Dance
The New York City Center season welcomes the return of “Ticket to Dance,” which invites audience members to try their first Ailey Extension class FREE with the presentation of a performance ticket stub (returning students receive a free class with the purchase of a 10-class card). The offer is valid for 60 days from the performance date. The Ailey Extension has fulfilled Alvin Ailey’s life‐long commitment of bringing dance to everyone by offering “real classes for real people,” with over 90 classes per week in more than 25 different dance and fitness techniques.

About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Leave a Reply




If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.