Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s coming season at New York City Center will celebrate Robert Battle’s 10 years as artistic director, the company announced Wednesday. After the difficulties of the past 17 months, Battle is more open to embracing the occasion than he might otherwise have been.
Uplift is what people expect from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. And so its no surprise that for its spring gala – this spring all springs – the company focused explicitly on themes of hope, promise and future. What’s pledged is delivered, with much of the rottenness that comes with reliability. But the Ailey company’s official hope doesn’t entirely eclipse a more troubled and therefore more trustworthy kind, supplied mostly by the troupe’s increasingly important resident choreographer, Jamar Roberts.
On Thursday, June 24, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater held its annual Ailey Spring Gala—this year a tribute to Washington, D.C. that drew guests including Michelle Obama, Alicia Keys, Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III, and Congressman James E. Clyburn. The evening honored the late Congressman John Lewis and featured three premieres, including “Hope” by Ghrai DeVore-Stokes, “Promise” by Chalvar Monteiro, and “Future” by Kanji Segawa, as well as excerpts from In Memory, a film by Ailey resident choreographer Jamar Roberts and “For Four,” a filmed dance choreographed by artistic director Robert Battle.
San Francisco Chronicle - Review: Power Of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Virtual Return To Berkeley Rivals A Live Performance
Eavesdrop pre-curtain at Bay Area dance shows and you’ll hear audience members sharing their top dance memories. High on almost everyone’s list? Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at UC Berkeley. The company first visited the campus in 1960, two years after its founding, and has come back every year since. And neither Artistic Director Robert Battle nor Cal Performances’ leader Jeremy Geffen were about to let that Bay Area bond lapse in a pandemic, so the dancers have returned virtually in a streaming program that does an astonishing job of relaying their in-person power. The performance premieres Thursday, June 10, with a digital “watch party,” and will be available for streaming through Sept. 8.
Jamar Roberts stands still, all six feet and four inches of him, arms quietly at his sides. As a man's voice is heard—the first two words of text are "Black is"—Roberts steps into a wide stance, arms held out to their fullest wingspan. He fills every inch of the stage with his presence. Then he begins to lower both arms, slowly curving them inward. As if by the flip of a switch, on the words "oh my god," he flexes his wrists, twists his torso, and curves into a deep backbend. His body responds as if an electric current were going through it.
CNN's Tomeka Jones talks to Jamar Roberts, a dancer and resident choreographer for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, who shares why he expresses his voice through dance.
As part of the free Ailey Forward first-ever virtual holiday season celebrating six decades of Revelations, comes tonight's world premiere of A Jam Session for Troubling Times on Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's website. It's the latest work from acclaimed Ailey dancer and choreographer Jamar Roberts. During his Zoom chat with WBGO News Director Doug Doyle, Roberts talked about how the December 14 virtual world premiere (7:30pm) that marks the centennial (dubbed Bird100) of jazz revolutionary saxophonist Charlie "Bird" Parker.
In normal times, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater would now be encamped at New York City Center for the month, inspiring awe and bringing joy. This year, everything is virtual: a mix of archival and newly filmed video, supplemented with conversations, available free on the company’s website, YouTube channel and Facebook page.
Every December, the dancers of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre fill the City Center stage, night after night, with their joy, very, and technical prowess. Traditionally, most of those performances end with "Revelations," Ailey's signature work from 1960. Ailey's virtual season kicks off, on Dec. 2, with an online gala, featuring excerpts from "Revelations," filmed outdoors at Wave Hill, in the Bronx.
For 17 years, New York City Center’s annual Fall for Dance festival has relied on a winning formula. Naturally, this year is somewhat different. Still, it was the new pieces that dazzled. Jamar Roberts, the resident choreographer of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, presented a solo, “Morani/Mungu (Black Warrior/Black God).” A big, beautiful dancer, Mr. Roberts has no trouble impersonating a god, powerful enough for battle yet benevolent. But the dance also reveals his rarer gifts of subtlety and singular musicality.