Revelations

Since its creation in 1960, Revelations has consistently enraptured audiences all over the world with its perfect blend of reverent grace and spiritual elation. Alvin Ailey’s signature masterpiece pays homage to and reflects the cultural heritage of the African-American, which Ailey considered one of America’s richest treasures – “sometimes sorrowful, sometimes jubilant, but always hopeful.” Choreographed when he was only 29 years old, Revelations is an intimate reflection inspired by childhood memories of attending services at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Texas, and by the work of writers James Baldwin and Langston Hughes. Set to a suite of traditional spirituals, Revelations explores the emotional spectrum of the human condition, from the deepest of grief to the holiest joy. A classic tribute to the resolve and determination of a people, the ballet has been seen by more people around the world than any other modern work. 

Of its creation, Ailey once recalled: “I did it chronologically, leading off with the opening part of Revelations, which was...about trying to get up out of the ground. The costumes and the set would be colored brown, an earth color, for coming out of the earth, for going into the earth. The second part was something that was very close to me the baptismal, the purification rite. Its colors would be white and pale blue. Then there would be the section surrounding the gospel church, the holy rollers and all the church happiness. Its colors would be earth tones, yellow and black.” 

The ballet premiered at the 92nd Street YM-YWHA on January 31, 1960, and has since been performed a countless number of times all over the world. It was part of Opening Ceremonies of the 1968 Olympics, and has been presented at the White House on numerous occasions, including at the inaugurations of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. The piece has had many film and television broadcasts, its first, the 1962 CBS special Lamp Under my Feet. It is also the framework for Revelations: An Interdisciplinary Approach, a residency program that has been implemented in public schools around the country, and uses Ailey’s signature work as an organizing theme for a comprehensive, in-depth study of language arts, social studies and dance.

Alvin Ailey combined Horton technique with his own astounding choreographic vision to create a series of movement that intertwines impossible strength and ethereal grace. After five decades, this American classic has proven to be a cultural landmark in the world of dance, maintaining its astonishing originality and powerful elegance while continuing to inspire and enthrall audiences everywhere

Featured News Releases

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Opening Night Gala Benefit Performance And Party Honors Philanthropist Elaine Wynn & The Elaine P. Wynn Family and Foundation Wednesday, December 4 at 7pm

NEW YORK – November 11, 2019 —Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will launch a five-week holiday season on December 4 with a star-studded gala benefit performance at New York City Center and party at the New York Hilton Midtown Grand Ballroom. The special evening celebrates philanthropist Elaine Wynn and the Elaine P. Wynn & Family Foundation. Wynn’s generous contributions have supported the creation of new works as well as the Elaine Wynn & Family Education Wing, which in 2017 added three floors – featuring four dance studios and two classrooms – to The Joan Weill Center for Dance, New York’s largest building dedicated to dance.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Returns To Atlanta's Fabulous Fox Theatre February 20-23, 2020 With "AILEY REVEALED" As Part Of 21-City North American Tour

ATLANTA – November 1, 2019 – Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, beloved as one of the world’s most popular dance companies, announces a return to the Fabulous Fox Theatre, February 20 – 23 as part of a 21-city North American tour, for their highly anticipated 2020 Atlanta engagement with six inspiring performances showcasing Ailey’s 32 extraordinary dancers. Led by Artistic Director Robert Battle, Atlantans will be mesmerized and moved with diverse works by preeminent choreographers, including world premieres that shine a spotlight on social issues by celebrated choreographer Donald Byrd and Ailey dancer and first-ever Resident Choreographer Jamar Roberts. Full programming and details will be announced in January 2020.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Announces Programming For New York City Center Season December 4, 2019 - January 5, 2020

NEW YORK – UPDATED October 24, 2019 — Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, New York City Center’s Principal Dance Company, returns to the theater’s stage from December 4, 2019 – January 5, 2020. Artistic Director Robert Battle leads Ailey’s 32 extraordinary dancers during this annual five-week engagement, which has become a joyous holiday tradition. The repertory features more than two dozen diverse works by some of the world’s preeminent choreographers, including world premieres by Donald Byrd and Ailey dancer and newly announced Resident Choreographer Jamar Roberts, company premieres by Aszure Barton and Camille A. Brown, and new productions by Judith Jamison and Lar Lubovitch.

Featured Press Coverage

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The Telegraph - Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Programe A, Sadler's Wells, Review: A Stirring And Skin-Pricklingly Exciting Evening

Alvin Ailey was born in rural Texas in 1931. Like so many other African Americans then and since, he experienced frightful racism, but astonishing talent and tenacity allowed him to claw his way up to become one of America's best-loved dancer-choreographers. He founded his own, contemporary troupe - Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater - in 1958 as a vehicle and haven for black Americans who wanted to dance for a living. And, although Ailey himself died in 1989, his company lives on loud and proud, under the sterling directorship of Robert Battle.

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Arts ATL - Alvin Ailey Artist Taps Georgia Roots To Vivify Founder's Legacy

In the sun-soaked foyer of Atlanta's National Center for Civil and Human Rights, a tall, lean young man guided about 40 dance students last month as they learned an excerpt from Alvin Ailey's masterpiece Revelations. Christopher R. Wilson, a native of Augusta, Georgia, and a first-year member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, moved with ease and elegance between lines of young dancers, calling directions in a voice that matched the choreography's rhythm and cadence.