In 1958, dancer and choreographer Alvin Ailey created a home for dancers to explore identity and self-expression through their art and the dance theater remains a culture institution. ABC's Zachary Kiesch goes behind the scenes of Ailey's 60th and the creation of Lazarus, the Company's first ever two act ballet by hip hop choreographer Rennie Harris.
Modern dance is waning in popularity, and young people don't seem to feel as connected with the work anymore. So what's a 60-year-old ballet company like Alvin Ailey to do to seem limber again?
The choreographer Ronald K. Brown stepped into a big studio at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and greeted the dancers with warm hugs. Then, almost without a word, he began to move, his feet and shoulders swaying to the beat, his upper body undulating slightly. "The Love," a Malian song with a slow, hypnotizing groove, was playing on the sound system. The dancers gathered in a semicircle around him, moving to the rhythm. Just like that, they were drawn into the spirit of the dance.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater dancer and choreographer Jamar Roberts talks about his love for choreography, working with Ailey dancers, and the inspiration for his new piece, Members Don't Get Weary, premiering at the company's 20th annual Mother's Day Engagement at NJPAC.
Seeing Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for the first time is a rite of passage for anyone who loves dance (and for plenty of people who didn't know they did). Jamar Roberts first saw the company perform in Fort Lauderdale when he was a kid growing up in South Dade. Like so many of us, the first Ailey dance that swept him away was "Revelations," and for him, it was specifically the "Sinner Man" section. He's told he cried, though he doesn't remember that.
In honor of Black History Month, we spoke with Alvin Ailey stars Constance Stamatiou and Jamar Roberts on what it means to be performers of color in the dance world. Hear about their upbringing, obstacles they've faced in the industry, and what being part of a renowned African American dance company means to them. All performed over a riveting rendition of "Fix Me Jesus" from Alvin Ailey's Revelations.
Members Don't Get Weary, @alvinailey's newest work choreographed by @jmar82, is described as "a response to the current social landscape in America... an abstract look into the notion of one 'having the blues.'"
MIAMI - Jamar Robers has been around the world as a leading dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. But in a week after Hurricane Irma swept through Miami, he was back where he started, at Dance Empire, a studio in a suburban strip of warehouses here.
Jamar Roberts, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Dream Role: "Backwater Blues," from Alvin Ailey's Blues Suite. I never had a dream role until I first joined AAADT and saw Renee Robinson and Amos J. Mechanic Jr. dance "Backwater Blues," this amazing duet. I thought, "Wow! It would be really great if I ever got to do that!"
Jamar Roberts, a dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, will take the leap from performer to choreographer next season with the premiere of "Members Don't Get Weary," his first piece for the company. Ailey announced on Wednesday that the work would debut in the troupe's annual season at City Center, running Nov. 29 through Dec. 31.