Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Christopher Zunner, 212.405.9028
2008 New York City Center 50th Anniversary Season
Five-Week Celebration of Five Decades of Inspiring Artistry
with World Premieres, New Productions and Special Programs
Live Onstage Performances
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis in
Ailey & Ellington
Sweet Honey In The Rock in a New Work by Ailey Company Member Hope Boykin
World Premiere by Mauro Bigonzetti
New Productions of George Faison’s Suite Otis and Alvin Ailey’s Blues Suite
Anniversary Highlights Special Program Celebrating the Genius of Alvin Ailey
December 3, 2008 - January 4, 2009
(New York) August 12, 2008 – Artistic Director Judith Jamison announced today that the 2008 New York City Center 50th Anniversary Season of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will celebrate five decades of inspiring artistry with live onstage performances by Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and Wynton Marsalis in Ailey & Ellington and by Sweet Honey In The Rock in a new work by Ailey company member Hope Boykin; a world premiere by Mauro Bigonzetti; three new productions of classic works; and Anniversary Highlights, a special program celebrating the genius of Alvin Ailey.
The five-week season at New York City Center, from December 3, 2008 through January 4, 2009, will launch with a 50th Anniversary Gala celebrating the Ailey legacy with Honorary Chair and Honored Guest Oprah Winfrey. The one-night-only program will culminate in Alvin Ailey’s beloved Revelations with live music featuring Jessye Norman, Ella Mitchell, Richard Smallwood, Darius de Haas and Billy Porter.
For one extraordinary week, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis will join the Ailey dancers in Ailey & Ellington, a joyous live music celebration of America’s two great art forms – modern dance and jazz music. Featuring works from Alvin Ailey’s legendary collaboration with the great Duke Ellington, the program will also include excerpts of works to Ellington music by Talley Beatty and Louis Falco.
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Ailey company member Hope Boykin’s world premiere Go in Grace is an innovative collaboration with Grammy-Award winning female a cappella musical group Sweet Honey In The Rock, who will perform their original score live onstage with the dancers. Italian choreographer Mauro Bigonzetti, praised for his fresh and inventive sensibility, brings his distinctly European flair and dramatic style to the Ailey repertory for the first time with a world premiere ballet.
New productions of historic works from the Ailey repertory will be shared with today’s audiences: Alvin Ailey’s masterpiece Blues Suite, first seen at the Company’s premiere performance in 1958, brings to life “blood memories” of rural, Depression-era Southern Texas poignantly evoking the sorrow, humor and humanity of the blues; Suite Otis (1971), by Tony-Award winning choreographer George Faison, is ripe with the romance and humor of young lovers out on the town in a sizzling suite of dances to the timeless songs of Otis Redding; and Alvin Ailey’s Masekela Langage (1969), a searing portrait of oppression, was recently revived for the anniversary year.
A retrospective of Alvin Ailey’s phenomenal choreographic career will be presented in a new Anniversary Highlights special program that includes excerpts of favorite works and rarely-seen gems spanning each decade, from Blues Suite, the dance that launched the Company in 1958, to Opus McShann, his final piece thirty years later. The program will also include his masterpiece Revelations in its entirety.
In addition, the legendary Ella Mitchell and members of the Riverside Church Inspirational Choir will sing eight stirring performances of Revelations, conducted by Eric Reed. Kenny Brawner and the Brawner Brothers Band will perform live onstage for Blues Suite on four special nights.
Each performance throughout the season will open with a short film, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at 50 – A Golden Anniversary Celebration, commemorating the Company’s rich 50-year history. Ailey’s 18-month 50th Anniversary celebration includes International and U.S. performances in 50 cities along with special commemorative merchandise, including: Hallmark Ailey greeting cards; Ailey/Celebration Calendar and Ailey Ascending, a photographic art book, by Andrew Eccles; Ailey Movado Museum Time Piece; A Young Ailey Dancer, a children’s book by Valerie Gladstone and Jose Ivey; and an Ailey Barbie® Doll.
The Prudential Foundation is the sponsor of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s 50th Anniversary New York Season.
Go in Grace Premiere: Friday, Dec. 5 eve (Dec. 5, 10, 11, 13 mat, Jan. 2, 3 eve)
Choreography: Hope Boykin
Music: Sweet Honey in the Rock
Company member Hope Boykin weaves a gentle, affecting tale of community, family and growth that illustrates the African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child.” To a commissioned score composed and performed live onstage by Sweet Honey In The Rock, Boykin casts the dancers and singers as members of a society who unite to move a young girl forward in wisdom and grace. Rooted in a deeply held commitment to create music out of the rich textures of African American legacy and traditions, this Grammy-Award winning female vocal ensemble possesses a stunning vocal prowess that captures the multifaceted sounds of blues, spirituals, traditional gospel hymns, rap, reggae, African chants, hip hop, ancient lullabies and jazz improvisation.
New Bigonzetti Premiere: Friday, Dec. 12 eve (Dec. 12, 13 eve, 14 eve, 24, 27 eve, 30, Jan. 2)
Acclaimed Italian choreographer Mauro Bigonzetti, praised for his fresh and inventive sensibility, brings his distinctly European flair to the Ailey repertory for the first time. With a highly dramatic style, complex partnering and seamless integration of classical and modern styles, Bigonzetti showcases the Ailey dancers’ emotional intensity and technical prowess.
Blues Suite (1958) Premiere: Thursday, Dec. 4 eve / Live Music Premiere: Saturday, Dec. 13 eve
Choreography: Alvin Ailey (Dec. 4 / Dec. 13 eve, 16, 26, 28 eve)
With the rumble of a train and the toll of distant bells, a cast of vividly-drawn characters from the barrelhouses and fields of Alvin Ailey’s southern childhood are summoned to dance and revel through one long, sultry night. Ailey’s masterpiece, first seen at the Company’s premiere performance in 1958, poignantly evokes the sorrow, humor and humanity of the blues, those heartfelt songs that he called “hymns to the secular regions of the soul.”
Suite Otis (1971) Premiere: Tuesday, Dec. 9 eve (Dec. 9, 13 mat, 14 eve, 24, 27 mat, 30, 31, Jan. 2, 4 mat)
Choreography: George Faison
Music: Otis Redding
Otis Redding’s timeless music sets the stage for George Faison’s playful battle of the sexes. The yearning sensuality of soul stirring songs such as “Satisfaction,” “Try a Little Tenderness,” “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” and other favorites burst through this six-part suite of dances ripe with romance and humor.
Masekela Langage (1969) New York City Center Season Premiere:Tues., Dec. 9 eve (Dec. 9, 26, 28 mat, Jan. 4 mat)
Choreography: Alvin Ailey
Music: Hugh Masekela
Alvin Ailey’s searing portrait of oppression draws parallels between the era of South African apartheid and the race-induced violence in Chicago during the 1960s. As trumpeter and composer Hugh Masekela’s driving music propels the dancers through a string of theatrical tableaus, the commanding choreography speaks of passivity, militancy, despair and defiance anywhere, at any time.
Ailey & Ellington: A Celebration with Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and Wynton Marsalis
For one extraordinary week only, Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra will join Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for a joyous live music celebration of America’s two great art forms - modern dance and jazz music. The great Duke Ellington composed some of the most exuberant orchestrations ever set to dance. Sophisticated, sexy, lush and alluring, his music inspired Alvin Ailey’s legendary collaboration, along with other major choreographers such as Talley Beatty and Louis Falco.
(All Ballets choreographed by Alvin Ailey unless otherwise noted)
Program A: Dec. 17, 19, 21 mat
Night Creature (1974); Reflections in D (1962); excerpts from Caravan (Falco) (1976), The Mooche (1975), The Road of the Phoebe Snow (Beatty) (1959), Pas de Duke (1976) , Three Black Kings (1976); Revelations (1960)
Program B: Dec. 18, 20 eve, 21 eve
The River; excerpts from Caravan (Falco), The Mooche, The Road of the Phoebe Snow (Beatty), Pas de Duke, Three Black Kings; Revelations (in its entirety)
Anniversary Highlights (Dec. 6 eve, 7 mat, 14 mat, 25, Jan. 1)
This new program features excerpts from many of Alvin Ailey’s most popular and beloved ballets. Spanning each decade of Ailey’s phenomenal career, from Blues Suite, the dance that launched the Company in 1958, to Opus McShann, his final piece thirty years later, this stunning retrospective demonstrates the tremendous range and resonance of one man’s genius. Excerpts from Blues Suite (1958), Streams (1970), Choral Dances (1971), Mary Lou’s Mass (1971), The Lark Ascending (1972), Hidden Rites (1973), Night Creature (1975), Phases (1980), Landscape (1981), For “Bird” – With Love (1984), Caverna Magica (1986), Opus McShann (1988), Cry (1971), and Revelations (1960) in its entirety.
Revelations (Dec. 3, 6 eve, 17, 18, 19, 20 eve, 21 mat & eve)
Blues Suite (Dec. 13, 16, 26, 28)
In addition to thrilling live music events featuring the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and Sweet Honey In The Rock, enjoy two of Alvin Ailey’s treasured classics with live singers and musicians. The legendary Ella Mitchell and members of the Riverside Church Inspirational Choir will sing eight stirring performances of Revelations, conducted by Eric Reed. Kenny Brawner will belt the blues for Blues Suite on four special nights.
Other Season Highlights
50th Anniversary Opening Night Gala (Dec. 3 @ 7pm)
Oprah Winfrey, Honorary Chair and Honored Guest
A special one-night-only program celebrating the Ailey legacy and closing with Alvin Ailey’s classic Revelations, featuring live musical performances by Jessye Norman, Ella Mitchell, Richard Smallwood and Yolanda Adams.
Target 1958 Night (Dec. 4)
In honor of Ailey’s first performance, Target will sponsor a one-night-only performance with all tickets at a special price to help encourage access and participation.
Family Matinee Series (Dec. 6 mat, 13 mat, 20 mat, 27 mat, Jan 3 mat)
Give your family an Ailey experience to remember. A limited number of Family Matinee tickets are available for all Saturday afternoon performances for the special price of $20. Buy early for the best seat selection. Following each Saturday matinee performance, the entire audience is invited to engage in a free question and answer session with the Ailey dancers in the theater. Maximum purchase six tickets. Offer subject to availability. Not available online.
Celebrating Sylvia Waters (Dec. 16)
Sylvia Waters, Ailey II Artistic Director and former member of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, is celebrating her 40th Anniversary with Ailey and will be honored at a special performance featuring Blues Suite, Revelations and selections danced by Ailey II.
New Year’s Eve Celebration (Dec. 31 @ 7pm)
Dance in the New Year with Ailey in a celebratory performance that culminates with the inspiring Revelations.
Season Finale (Jan. 4 @ 7:30pm)
The season finale program includes specially staged excerpts highlighting the season along with the quintessential Revelations in its entirety.
In addition to the premieres, new productions, special programs and collaborations being presented during the 50th Anniversary season, the Company repertory will include:
Episodes (Ulysses Dove)
Firebird (Maurice Béjart)
Flowers (Alvin Ailey)
The Golden Section (Twyla Tharp)
The Groove To Nobody’s Business (Camille A. Brown)
Love Stories (Judith Jamison, Robert Battle, Rennie Harris)
Memoria (Alvin Ailey)
Night Creature (Alvin Ailey)
Revelations (Alvin Ailey)
The River (Alvin Ailey)
Solo (Hans van Manen,)
Treading (Elisa Monte)
Unfold (Robert Battle)
Vespers (Ulysses Dove)
See attached calendar for full performance schedule.
(All programming is subject to change)
Opening Night Gala 7:00pm - Note earlier curtain time-
Tuesday evenings 7:00pm - Note earlier curtain time-
Wednesday – Saturday evenings 8:00pm
Sunday evenings 7:30pm - Note earlier curtain time-
Saturday matinees 2:00pm
Sunday matinees 3:00pm
New Year’s Eve 7:00pm - Note earlier curtain time-
New York City Center is located at 131West 55th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues.
Tickets are available starting September 2nd at the New York City Center Box Office, through CityTix® at (212) 581-1212 or online at www.alvinailey.org or www.nycitycenter.org. Great seats are available in all sections of the theater starting at $25. Discount tickets are available when purchasing tickets for more than one performance, for the family matinee series, students with an appropriate ID and groups of 10 or more.
For group sales, call 212-405-9082 or e-mail email@example.com.
AILEY’S 50th ANNIVERSARY NEW YORK CITY CENTER SPONSORS
The Prudential Foundation is the sponsor of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s 50th Anniversary New York Season.
JPMorgan is the National Art of Learning Sponsor.
American Express is the Official Card and the sponsor of Ailey & Ellington:
A Celebration with Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and Wynton Marsalis.
Altria Group provides major support for the New Works Fund.
MetLife Foundation provides leadership support for “Go in Grace.”
Target is the sponsor of Target 1958 Night.
Movado Group provides major support for the new production of “Blues Suite.”
Citi provides major support for Ailey’s Arts In Education programs.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at 50 – A Golden Anniversary Celebration was made possible by the generous support of Citi.
American Airlines is the Official Airline of the Ailey Company.
The 2008 season is sponsored, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State agency, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, America’s Cultural Ambassador to the World, was founded in 1958 and has performed for more than 21 million people in 71 countries and on 6 continents. Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation, Inc. is the umbrella organization which includes Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; Ailey II, founded in 1974 as a junior performing company of emerging young dancers and innovative choreographers; The Ailey School, founded in 1969 and currently offering some of the most extensive dance training programs in the world; Ailey Arts In Education & Community Programs which is committed to bringing dance into the classrooms, communities and lives of people throughout the world; and The Ailey Extension, a program that offers dance and fitness classes to the general public.