Emily Hawkins, (212) 405.9083
AILEY II EMBARKS ON 2009-2010 U.S. TOUR
The nation’s most talented young dancers hit the road to entertain and inspire audiences of all ages through performances and community programs in over 25 cities
World Premiere of Proximity by Carlos dos Santos
New Productions of Christopher L. Huggins’ Essence, Thang Dao’s Echoes, and
Judith Jamison’s Divining, in celebration of her 20th year as Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
(New York) September 28th, 2009—Over the next five months, Ailey II will travel around the nation sharing the “Ailey Spirit” with audiences in over 25 North American cities. The tour begins on October 8th in Durham, NC and concludes March 26th in Erie, PA. Ailey II, the second company of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, is universally renowned for merging the spirit and energy of the country’s best young dance talent with the passion and creative vision of today’s most promising emerging choreographers.
The Company’s repertory includes 17 ballets created by rising choreographers, dance veterans, and Mr. Ailey himself. In addition to repertory favorites, this year’s audiences will be treated to a world premiere: Proximity, by Ailey School instructor Carlos dos Santos. Dos Santos’ work explores what it means to occupy the same space without any real connection to those around you. Ailey II will take on a restaging of Judith Jamison’s Divining, in celebration of Jamison’s twentieth anniversary as Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Elizabeth Roxas, former Ailey star who danced the lead in Divining, worked with Ailey II to revive this acclaimed ballet. Christopher L. Huggins, former Ailey Company member, brings a new production of his stirring solo, Essence, to the Company. Huggins’ ballet takes audiences on an emotional voyage through a woman’s journey of self-exploration. Lastly, Thang Dao’s Echoes, an enchanting and personal ballet involving the entire company, shares his choreographic reactions to his family’s journey from Vietnam to America.
During past tours and performance engagements, critics have raved that Ailey II consistently amazes audiences with their unique artistry, strength, and passion. “The entire company, directed by Sylvia Waters, looks terrific,” The New York Times wrote after the Company’s 2008 New York season at the Joyce Theater. “Clearly, the future is theirs.”
This year Ailey II welcomes three new dancers into the Company: Sarah Daley, Brittany Engel-Adams, and Daniel Harder-- all of whom have trained extensively at The Ailey School. Over three-quarters of the acclaimed artists of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater began their early professional experience with Ailey II.
In celebration of Mr. Ailey’s vision of “bringing dance to all people,” Ailey II will lead master classes and lecture demonstrations at schools and community organizations during the tour. Ailey II will return to New York City April 13-25 for a sizzling two-week season at the famous Joyce Theater, as a part of the 1.2.3. Festival with ABT II and Taylor II.
See attached schedule for tour dates and locations.
Official Tour Sponsor
Ailey II gratefully acknowledges the generous support provided by New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency,
and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
Carlos dos Santos’ new ballet, Proximity explores the dynamics of relationships between four strangers and the natural energetic shifts and differences that occur between them. Dos Santos encourages the audience to investigate the purpose of keeping relationships distant while living and working in close, intimate environments. His unique style, which includes Brazilian folkloric, Ballet, and West African techniques, is key to creating universal movements that echo the universal theme of his ballet.
In 1984, Artistic Director Judith Jamison set her ballet Divining on the Ailey company at the request of her mentor, Alvin Ailey. Jamison wrote in her 1993 autobiography, Dancing Spirit, “Divining begins with runners going out into virgin unknown territory to make sure their leader can proceed safely. The leader then blesses the ground, checking out the spirits that are about, sensing the air, and making sure the ambiance is right before the celebrants gather. Divining is mysterious, its title suggesting a search or quest.” The ritualized dance is set to a score that incorporates North African, Latin, and Central African rhythms.
Christopher L. Huggins, a former Ailey company member, is now a choreographer greatly admired for his distinctively theatrical works. Essence is a tour-de-force for a female soloist, who explores a spectrum of emotions in this deeply moving portrait of self-discovery.
Thang Dao’s Echoes began as a depiction of haunting memories. But this poignant ballet has since taken on a life of
its own, as the echoes of memories cascade into the distant past while pervading our awareness of the present.
Full Repertory: Ailey Highlights, Blues Suite, Divining, Echoes, Essence, The External Knot, Hope (The Final Rise), The Hunt, Movin’ On, Quintet, Revelations, Splendid Isolation II (excerpt), Streams, Takademe, Valse and When Dawn Comes…
Ailey II is an exceptional company that merges the spirit and energy of the country’s best young dance talent with the passion and creative vision of today’s most outstanding emerging choreographers. Ailey II began in 1974 as the Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble, when Alvin Ailey initiated a workshop composed of the most promising scholarship students from The Ailey School. The original members of the Company were handpicked by Mr. Ailey from among that group. Ailey II embodies Mr. Ailey’s pioneering mission to establish an extended cultural community that provides dance performances, training and community programs for all people. Today, it has become one of the most popular dance companies in the United States.
Under the artistic direction ofSylvia Waters, Ailey II invigorates the American dance scene by offering unique opportunities for artists. Ailey II company members refine their technique while gaining invaluable performing and teaching experience during their tenure with the Company. Throughout its history, many Ailey II company members have gone on to pursue successful careers as dancers, teachers and choreographers with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, other professional dance companies, on Broadway and in schools.
In recent years, Ailey II’s distinctive repertory has included works by dance masters Alvin Ailey, Talley Beatty, Ulysses Dove, George Faison, Lar Lubovitch, and Ailey's Artistic Director Judith Jamison. Ailey II has also performed innovative choreography by Robert Battle, Sidra Bell, Stephane Boko, Christopher L. Huggins and Jessica Lang. The Company’s 2009-2010 North American Tour consists of performances in over 25 cities. This year’s New York City season will be at The Joyce Theater, April 13-25, 2010.
Ailey II continues to win unmatched critical praise for its residencies at major colleges and universities as well as its visits to elementary, middle and high schools across the U.S. The Company has received numerous honors, awards and proclamations in recognition of its community outreach programs. Showcasing the talent of the country’s best young dancers, the critically acclaimed Ailey II brings exciting dance and innovative outreach programs to diverse communities throughout the country.
SYLVIA WATERS ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Troy Powell associate artistic director
2009 North American Tour Schedule
October 6 New York, NY Bryant Park Fall Festival
October 8-9 Durham, NC Carolina Theatre of Durham
October 12 Knoxville, TN Clarence Brown Theater – University of Tennessee
October 16 Baton Rouge, LA River Centre Theatre
October 18 Midwest City, OK Rose State Performing Arts Theater
October 22-24 Kansas City, MO Folly Theater
November 5 New York, NY Kaufmann Concert Hall – 92nd St Y Harkness Dance Center
November 6 Stamford, CT Palace Theater
2010 North American Tour Schedule
January 26 Bennettsville, SC Marlboro Civic Center
January 28 Cullowhee, NC The Fine and Performing Arts Center – Western Carolina University
January 30 Roanoke Rapids, NC Roanoke Rapids Theater
February 2 Wesson, MS Rea Auditorium – Copiah-Lincoln Community College
February 5 Monroe, LA Jack Howard Theater at Monroe Civic Center
February 6 Alexandria, LA Coughlin-Saunders Performing Arts Center
February 11 San Antonio, TX Carver Cultural Center
February 12 Corpus Christi, TX Selena Auditorium
February 14 San Angelo, TX San Angelo City Auditorium
February 17 Springfield, MO Juanita K. Hammons Hall – Missouri State University
February 18 Fort Scott, KS Gordon Parks Center for Culture
February 21 Aurora, IL Paramount Theater
February 23 Kirksville, MO Baldwin Hall – Truman State University
February 26 Akron, OH Akron Civic Theatre
February 27 Columbus, OH Capitol Theatre
March 16 New Bedford, MA Zeiterion Theater
March 19 Concord, MA Capital Center for the Arts
March 21 Great Barrington, MA Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center
March 23 Wallingford, CT Paul Mellon Arts Center
March 24 Selinsgrove, PA Degenstein Center Theater
March 26 Erie, PA Mary D’Angelo Arts Center – Mercyhurst College
2010 NEW YORK SEASON
April 13*, 14, 17 mat, 17 eve, 18, 21, 22 The Joyce Theater
* April 13 performance shared with ABT II and Taylor 2