As a young girl growing up in Huntington Beach, Danica Paulos pursued two passions: dance and photography. She never dreamed at the time that she would excel in both before she even turned 20. Paulos, now 26, will perform with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Los Angeles later this month. One of America’s pre-eminent dance troupes, it has been her home since shortly after she graduated from high school and this season will be her last with the company.
Ailey has rightly earned its stripes as one of the nation's best dance companies, not just because of its history, but not in spite of it either. The company doesn't ignore its founder or allow itself to fade into antiquity. Much credit can be given to artistic director Robert Battle, the third person to hold that title since the company's 1958 founding. Battle was handpicked by Judith Jamison, who was handpicked by Alvin Ailey.
The Times Of Northwest Indiana - A Dance Classic: Alvin Ailey's Troupe Returns To Chicago With Gary Native
Renaldo Maurice is thrilled to be returning to Chicago with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. "My spirit is really happy and full of joy," said Maurice, who will be seeing family members and friends during his visit. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will perform through March 8 at The Auditorium Theatre. Maurice, a Gary native, has been dancing with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for more than eight seasons. He said he took last year off to do a variety of other projects.
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.
Increasingly, issues ripped from the headlines and our national debates - including race, violence and brutal episodes from history - have come to the fore in the works Battle commissions. Consider Tuesday's local premiere of "Ode," a skillful and delicate treatment of gun violence and its disproportionate claim on black men. "Ode" is by Jamar Roberts, recently named the troupe's first resident choreographer. He's also a standout dancer in the company whose appealingly soft physicality masked his strength in "A Case of You," a romantic duet with the equally effortless Jacqueline Green that both dancers whirled through beautifully, elevating choreographer Judith Jamison's overly sugary concept.
"There's danger in the air, and the character that I portray is supposed to resemble hope at the highest power," said Jeroboam Bozeman, a member of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, about his role in "Ode." In this powerful new dance created by Jamar Roberts for the company's season at City Center (through Jan. 5), the dancers explore the effects of gun violence to a jazz score by the pianist Don Pullen. In this solo, Mr. Bozeman said he sees himself "kind of like a high priestess," he said. "Someone who oversees, but also has this sense of wisdom. I think about Trayvon Martin. I think about Philando Castile. I think about Sandra Bland. I think about Eric Garner. These are people we lost to police brutality." He admires how Mr. Roberts created such a multilayered, poetic dance about such a brutal subject.
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.
Jamar Roberts, the first ever resident choreographer at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, joins us to discuss his first production in that role, "Ode."
Say you're a choreographer and you want to make a dance about gun violence - not a polemical piece but a mournful one. How might you express a grief that's personal and public, and whose source shows no sign of stopping? An obvious option: bodies on the ground. And sure enough, those appear in Jamar Roberts's "Ode," which had its premiere at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at City Center on Tuesday. "Ode" isn't obvious though. It's delicate, daring and heartbreaking.