Last week, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s holiday season at New York City Center kicked off with an Opening Night Gala Benefit. The one-night-only benefit performance and party honored BNY Mellon for its major support of the Ailey Organization since 2007, and Agnes & Gerald Hassell accepted on the institution’s behalf. Film star Chadwick Boseman and actress and Grammy-Award winning artist Brandy served as Honorary Chairs, and the event’s co-chairs were Simin Allison, Kathryn & Kenneth Chenault, Debra L. Lee, Doris & Gilbert Meister, Daria L. & Eric J. Wallach and Joan & Sandy Weill. $2.5 million was raised in support of the creation of new works, scholarships to The Ailey School, and Ailey’s extensive educational programs for young people.
The one-night-only program included a performance of David Parsons’ signature gravity-defying male solo Caught, and the world premiere of Ronald K. Brown’s Cuban-inspired Open Door set to music from Arturo O’Farrill & the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra’s most recent album, Cuba: The Conversation Continues. Alvin Ailey’s beloved Revelations rocked the crowd in a rousing finale to live music with singers that included the incomparable Ella Mitchell.
The celebration continued at the Hilton New York’s Grand Ballroom where approximately 900 guests from the worlds of business, politics, entertainment and philanthropy, including Savion Glover, Andre Holland, Glorya Kaufman, Ricki Lander, New York’s First Lady Chirlaine McCray, Janet Mock, Joe Morton, Arturo O’Farrill, Phylicia Rashad, and Kelly Rowland, Darren Walker, Elaine Wynn, and Malik Yoba, joined in dinner and dancing with Robert Battle, Judith Jamison and the stars of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Throughout December, Ailey’s extraordinary dancers will unveil a variety of premieres, new productions, and special programs. After the New York City Center engagement concludes on January 3rd, Ailey will perform in 20 cities across North America beginning in February. For more information, visit www.alvinailey.org.
SEASON PERFORMANCE HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:
AWAKENING – WORLD PREMIERE
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 4TH
Awakening is a work featuring Robert Battle’s signature taut, ritualistic choreographic style and a score by American composer John Mackey. The much-anticipated world premiere is the first work Battle has choreographed since becoming Ailey’s Artistic Director. Buoyed by the complex rhythmic quality of Mackey’s music (“Turning” and “The Attention of Souls,” the third movement from the symphony Wine-Dark Sea), a dozen Ailey dancers lead the audience on a cathartic journey in this powerful dance of dissonance and harmony, chaos and resolution.
Performance Dates: Dec 4, 5 eve, 12 mat, 17, 19 eve, 22, 24, 26 eve, Jan 2 eve
UNTITLED AMERICA: FIRST MOVEMENT – WORLD PREMIERE
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 9TH
In the first installment of a three-part suite to be completed in 2016, MacArthur “Genius” Kyle Abraham, renowned for his avant-garde aesthetic and powerhouse athleticism, explores the lasting impact of incarceration in the prison system on individuals and families across generations. Untitled America: First Movement is a trio set to a contemporary sound score comprised of Laura Mvula’s “Father, Father.” Fusing many facets of dance vocabulary, Abraham’s movement style is decidedly original and contains wealth of physical detail that resonates with the Ailey dancers’ trademark versatility.
Performance Dates: Dec 9, 12 mat, 17, 19 eve, 22, 26 eve, Jan 2 eve
PIAZZOLLA CALDERA – COMPANY PREMIERE
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11TH
Set to music by Astor Piazzolla and Jerzy Peterburshsky, Piazzolla Caldera is a finely wrought work sizzling with erotic energy by modern dance masterPaul Taylor that captures the essence of tango culture. 12 men and women engage in a series of fiery encounters, in turns playful and predatory, in vivid duets and trios through the work’s four sections in this passionate homage to tango’s Argentinian working class roots.
Performance Dates: Dec 11, 13 eve, 17, 19 eve, 26 eve, Jan 2 eve
EXODUS – 2015 SEASON PREMIERE
Hip-hop choreographer Rennie (Lorenzo) Harris’ critically-acclaimed 2015 season premiere explores the idea of “exodus” – from one’s ignorance and conformity – as a necessary step toward enlightenment. Set to gospel and house music along with spoken word, the work underscores the crucial role of action and movement in effecting change. Exemplifying his view of hip hop as a “celebration of life,” Exodus marks Harris’ latest invitation to return to spiritual basics and affirm who we are.
Performance Dates: Dec 3, 6 mat, 9, 12 eve, 22, 23, 26 mat, 27 eve, 3 mat
REVELATIONS WITH LIVE MUSIC
For one week only, Alvin Ailey’s beloved Revelations will be performed to live music with singers that include the incomparable Ella Mitchell.
Performance Dates: Dec 4, 5 mat and eve