Hope Boykin, 20-Year Veteran of Dance Theatre, Prepares for Final Bows. The internationally-acclaimed Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has returned to the District much to the delight of faithful fans and fittingly during Black History Month, with a mixture of classic favorites, new productions and exciting premiered on the Kennedy Center's Opera House stage for seven performances - now through Feb. 9.
Two major dance companies take very different approaches to the topic of race in productions debuting on Atlanta stages this month.... Meanwhile, during a recent rehearsal at The Ailey Studios in New York, a white woman and a black man stood side by side facing opposite directions in a confined space. She took his hand, pulled away in taut counterbalance, then snapped like a rubber band to his other side, one leg sweeping open as she turned away from him. The duet depicts an imaged encounter that could have sparked the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre - considered one of the worst episodes of racial violence in U.S. history. It's the subject of Donald Byrd's "Greenwood," a new contemporary ballet slated for its Atlanta debut during Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Feb. 20-23 run at the Fox Theatre.
When the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre returns to Atlanta each year, it’s a joyous occasion like a family reunion, if your relatives happened to be brilliant dancers. The ensemble will perform at the Fox Theatre from Feb. 20-23. Ailey Artistic Director Robert Battle and choreographer Donald Byrd will speak at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights on Thursday, Jan. 16 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The event, “Greenwood & Stories From The Soil: Reveal, Remember, Reconcile” is free and open to the public. Battle and Byrd joined “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes to talk about the dance.
Jacqueline Green was a shy 13-year-old when her mother, considering possible schools in Baltimore, observed two qualities that her daughter possessed. “You’re the artsy child,” Ms. Green recalled her saying. “You’re flexible.” Soon after, Ms. Green found herself at a dance audition for Baltimore School for the Arts. It was not only her first audition, it was also her first ballet class. “I had on Payless tights and shoes, and I don’t know where we found a leotard,” Ms. Green said. “I had my hair slicked back in this bun and I thought: ‘People actually do this? Holding your arms out is tiring.’”
Masazumi Chaya, a beloved animating spirit of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre since 1972, first decided to retire in 1986. But Ailey asked him to stay on as an assistant to the rehearsal director, and so Chaya stayed, and stayed - through Ailey's death, two changeovers of artistic director, and several generations of dancers. Now, as Chaya finally follows through on his retirement plan, the company honors its associate artistic director with a tribute evening on Dec. 22, part of its five-week season at City Center.
It’s Morning Edition on WNYC. I'm Richard Hake. A new work of dance premiering tonight draws from the story of a racist mob attack in Oklahoma back in 1921. Greenwood will be performed by the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater. It explores the story of a massacre in the affluent black Greenwood district of Tulsa, known at the time as America's black Wall Street. Donald Byrd is the choreographer who created the piece. And it's our pleasure that he's with us this morning in the studio, Mr. Bird. Good morning.
Tracie Strahan speaks with Tony-nominated Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater choreographer Donald Byrd about "Greenwood," a new piece that premieres Friday at New York City Center.