Afrocentric Theatre, Music, Culture and Business

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre @ Sadler’s Wells (4-14 Sept) Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre @ Sadler’s Wells (4-14 Sept)
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre @ Sadler’s Wells (4-14 Sept)

Following its recent 60th anniversary, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre brings its 32 extraordinary dancers to Sadler’s Wells, presenting a series of new works alongside modern classics in three mixed programmes.


Founded in 1958, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre is recognised by US Congressional resolution as a vital American “Cultural Ambassador to the World,” promoting the uniqueness of the African‐American cultural experience, and the enrichment of the American modern dance tradition.


2019 marks 30 years since Alvin Ailey’s death, during which time the company has been directed by Judith Jamison from 1989-2011, followed by Robert Battle, its current Artistic Director.


Programme A: Lazarus Act I / Lazarus Act II / Revelations

Inspired by the life and legacy of the company’s founder, Rennie Harris’ Lazarus uses street dance language set to an eclectic score that encompasses Nina Simone, Terence Trent D’Arby, Michael Kiwanuka, Odetta plus the voice of Ailey himself as w


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. 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.


Programme B: EN / The Call / Juba / Revelations 

Jessica Lang makes her choreographic debut with EN. The work she says, “reflects on the universal experience of coming full circle and, as time passes, we recognise the people we meet along life’s journey who play a part in the fate and destiny of our lives.” Music is by composer Jakub Ciupinski.


The Call is Ronald K. Brown’s joyous mix of modern and West African dance idioms His themes of spiritual awakening and redemption never fail to inspire. It promises to rouse audiences with its call for harmony and hope. Features music of Johan Sebastian Bach, Mary Lou Williams, and the Asase Yaa Entertainment Group.


Juba by artistic director Robert Battle’s explores where ritual and folk traditions exist in today’s society, as four dancers engage in a modern-day Rite of Spring with an abstract twist. Music by John Mackey, an American composer of contemporary classical music, who in recent years has focused on music for modern dance and ballet.


Programme C: Ounce of Faith / Members Don’t Get Weary / Ella / Revelations 

In programme three rising-star choreographer Jamar Roberts takes an abstract look into the notion of “having the blues” in Members Don’t Get Weary, set to the music of jazz icon John Coltrane. and the company


The lasting impact of a teacher’s influence on a young child is at the heart of this world premiere of Ounce of Faith by Darrell Grand Moultrie. Using 12 dancers and an original score, Moultrie reflects on the legacies that we’re all a part of and the universal journey that each person takes to find – and share – their passion.


Originally created as a solo, this high-energy comical dance was reinvented as a duet by the Ailey company Using a live concert recording of Fitzgerald performing the song Airmail SpecialElla 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 is by Robert Battle.


Photo: Alvin’s Ailey’s Revelations. Credit: Paul Kolnik


The programmes runs at various times https://www.sadlerswells.com/whats-on/2019/alvin-ailey-american-dance-theater/

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, 4 – 14 September, Sadler’s Wells, EC1R 4TN, 7:30 pm; weekend matinees at 2:30 pm, £15 – £75, 020 7863 8000 or www.sadlerswells.com

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