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

Artistic Director Robert Battle Announces Exciting Highlights to Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Lincoln Center Season June 13-17, 2018

New York – May 17, 2018 – Artistic Director Robert Battle has announced exciting highlights to Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Lincoln Center season at the David H. Koch Theater June 13 – 17. In addition to three diverse programs – Celebrate Women, with a world premiere by Jessica Lang, Ailey, Then & Now, and Musical Icons – the engagement also includes The Ailey Spirit Gala benefit; three new Company dancers; and a series of activities for all as Ailey enters its sixth decade.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s 2017 International Tour Brings Uplifting Artistry To Paris, Basel, Copenhagen & Five German Cities July 4 – September 10

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, recognized by U.S. Congress as “a vital American cultural ambassador to the world,” returns to Paris, Basel, five German cities, and Copenhagen to perform 15 ballets from July 4 – September 10. The Paris engagement (July 4 – 22) kicks off the tour, and marks the debut dance performance at La Seine Musicale, a new state of the art concert hall on an island in the Seine River, which opened in April 2017.

The Ailey Spirit Gala Benefit Supports Scholarships and Arts In Education Programs - Thursday, June 15th at 7pm

The centerpiece of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Lincoln Center engagement is The Ailey Spirit Gala on Thursday, June 15th. This one-night-only benefit performance and party honors Ailey Board Vice Chairman Stephen Meringoff for his longtime support of Ailey, and his instrumental role in strengthening and sustaining AileyCamp. Critically-acclaimed actor André Holland, who most recently appeared in the eight-time Oscar-nominated film Moonlight, has just been announced as Honorary Chair.

Featured Press Coverage

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The New York Times Celebrating Two Birthdays: City Center And The Ailey Company

This theater, for this city. New York City Center Theater celebrated its 75th anniversary on Tuesday night. That milestone neatly coincides with the annual five-week Christmas season of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the theater’s first resident modern dance company, itself celebrating an anniversary this year: its 60th.