New York, NY – August 25, 2021 – The Ailey organization resumes Ailey All Access with a fall series of free programs from August 25 – November 17 in advance of the much-anticipated return to the New York City Center stage for live performances this December. The online initiative, which has built community and celebrated the indomitable human spirit through dance since March 2020, features presentations of performance broadcasts, Ailey Extension dance and fitness classes, and more.
Artistic Director Robert Battle’s Mass features a score by John Mackey, with whom he most recently collaborated on 2015’s Awakening. The work features 16 dancers showcasing Mr. Battle’s signature ritualistic choreography.
“The genesis of this work came to me while seeing Verdi's Requiem at Carnegie Hall,” explains Robert Battle. “I found myself utterly absorbed in the intricacies of how the choir moved as a unit and then organized and condensed themselves in the pews. The juxtaposition of the choir themselves constrained by space while their voices traveled through the hall was fascinating. I began creating the movement you will see in Mass by deconstructing the chorus. I wanted an original score and was familiar with John Mackey from previous works I had created, making him a clear choice for the composer.”
The ballet was originally created for a “New Dances” program at The Juilliard School in November 2004. The New York Times review of the performance declared, “Mr. Battle, the youngest choreographer, has recently made a name for himself with original rapid-fire movement and unexpected imagery. The Juilliard Percussion Ensemble, at the rear of the stage, provided the sound, growing in intensity. Mr. Battle took the senior class along the same path. The dancers scooted around, huddled, and worked themselves up wonderfully into astounding vigor. The ritual ended with the leader throwing himself to the floor and a group flying out into the wings.”