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.
In 2016, during the U.S. presidential elections, world-class dancer Jamar Roberts was on a European tour. He said that everywhere he went, people seemed to be musing over the controversial political scenario. “It seemed like the whole world was watching for the outcome,” he said, “and sharing the same feelings of anxiety and uncertainty as to its and impact on everyone.” Roberts, a Miami native, processes that tumultuous moment through physical language. It was in that context that his choreography debut for the Alvin Ailey American Theater emerged. “Members Don’t Get Weary” is an artistic portrait and meditation on the current American social landscape, it speaks to a mix of worries about the economy, social injustice and violence.
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.
Alvin Ailey troupe revives classic work during run at the Fox. The sidewalks around the former Peachtree-Pine homeless shelter are now empty, but a few blocks up Peachtree Street, near the Fox Theatre, a woman is sometimes seen hundred in dirty blankets, sleeping on the sidewalk or staring into space. She's a reminder that "Shelter," choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar's 1988 work on homelessness, remains relevant. The sign of people living on the streets troubled Zollar 38 years ago, when she first moved to New York City.
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.
Spanish Choreographer Gustavo Ramirez Sansano embraced dance at a young age. And while modern dancing is a competitive field that is known for grinding talent down and burning them our quickly, Gustavo has achieved a long lasting career. Today he is sought after by almost many major dance companies around the world, and recently with his new project titled Victoria, which is a modern dance take to today’s political climate, Gustavo caught the eye of one of the most prestigious dance companies in the world: Alvin Ailey. For more on his new gig, here is Gustavo himself, only on American Latino TV.
The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre is reviving its production of Shelter to highlight homelessness in New York City.
Two productions from the 1980s returned to the repertory of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater last week, in refurbished form. The new iterations of Jawole Willa Jo Zollar's "Shelter" (1988) and Talley Beatty's "Stack-Up" (1982), par of the company's five-week City Center season, proved a study in contrasts of how dances can weather the passage of time.
"I take it almost like a mission," Yannick Lebrun of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater said of performing "Sinner Man" from "Revelations," Ailey's 1960 masterpiece set to African-American spirituals. " 'Sinner Man' is a very powerful, propulsive section of 'Revelations' that shows who we are as Ailey men, but it definitely also has a deeper story: You're running for your life."
Jawole Willa Jo Zollar's 'Shelter,' a work about homelessness, speaks strongly to the anxieties of the moment.