Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Celebrates a Decade of Robert Battle’s Leadership
- Friday, 5/6 @ 8:00 p.m.—Battle 10th Anniversary: Mass, In/Side, Ella / For Four, Unfold, Takademe, Love Stories finale / Revelations
- Saturday, 5/7 @ 8:00 p.m.—New Jersey Premieres: Holding Space / BUSK / Revelations
- Sunday, 5/8 @ 3:00 p.m.—Battle 10th Anniversary: Mass, In/Side, Ella / For Four, Unfold, Takademe, Love Stories finale / Revelation
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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, America’s beloved cultural ambassador to the world, completes its coast-to-coast North American tour at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC).
“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, it is exciting to be returning to our Newark home while finding new ways to share artistry that renews our spirit of courage, hope, and joy. I am 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.”
The NJPAC homecoming engagement opens with a Battle 10th Anniversary program celebrating Artistic Director Robert Battle’s visionary leadership over the past 10 years that has moved the Company forward in exciting ways into a seventh decade. Robert Battle’s featured works are the New Jersey premiere of For Four, which captures the pent-up energy of a world cooped up during the pandemic set to a Wynton Marsalis jazz score written in 4/4 time, along with a new production of Robert Battle’s sensuous, swirling duet Unfold, evoking the tenderness and ecstasy in Gustave Charpentier’s aria “Depuis Le Jour” sung by the incomparable Leontyne Price. Signature works will be performed like Ella, In/Side, Love Stories finale, Mass, and Takademe. Battle 10th Anniversary program repeats on the Sunday, May 8th at 3:00 p.m. matinee on Mother’s Day.
The Saturday, May 7, program features two New Jersey Premieres—Aszure Barton’s BUSK and Ailey Resident Choreographer Jamar Roberts’ Holding Space, translated from film to the stage this season. Holding Space examines the ways in which we can collectively accommodate one another to better traverse this new and unprecedented terrain. In BUSK, 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.
The uplifting finale of all performances is Alvin Ailey’s American masterpiece, Revelations, created in 1960, which has inspired generations through its powerful storytelling and soul-stirring spirituals. Since its debut in 1960, Revelations has been seen by more people than any other modern dance work and has moved audiences through its powerful storytelling and soul-stirring music, evoking timeless themes of determination, hope, and transcendence. Springing from Ailey’s childhood memories of growing up in the south and attending services at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Texas, Revelations pays homage to the rich cultural heritage of the African American and explores the emotional spectrum of the human condition.
About Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
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, 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 six continents, 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 the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, 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 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.
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New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located in downtown Newark, N.J., is America’s most diverse performing arts center, and the artistic, cultural, educational and civic center of New Jersey – where great performances and events enhance and transform lives every day. NJPAC brings diverse communities together, providing access to all and showcasing the state’s and the world’s best artists while acting as a leading catalyst in the revitalization of its home city. Through its extensive Arts Education programs, NJPAC is shaping the next generation of artists and arts enthusiasts. NJPAC has attracted nearly 10 million visitors (including over 1.7 million children) since opening its doors in 1997, and nurtures meaningful and lasting relationships with each of its constituents.