Pas de Duke

Alvin Ailey’s modern dance translation of a classical pas de deux captures the sassy sophistication of Duke Ellington’s jazz music. The choreography is elegant and deliciously flirtatious, showing off the dancers’ exuberance and virtuosity as they engage in a playful game of one-upmanship.  

Originally created for two of the most renowned dancers in the world, Judith Jamison and Mikhail Baryshnikov, Pas de Duke was first presented as part of the festival “Ailey Celebrates Ellington” at Lincoln Center’s New York State theater in 1976, commemorating the nation’s bicentennial with America’s two great art forms – modern dance and jazz music. Ailey choreographed five sections that capture the sassy sophistication of “The Duke’s” jazz music: the introduction to “Such Sweet Thunder” (1957); the pas de deux to “Sonnet for Ceasar” (1975); the male solo to “Sonnet for Hank Cinq” (1957); the female solo to “Unclothed Woman” (1948); and the finale to “Old Man’s Blues” (1930), which captured the exuberance of the star dancers’ qualities and techniques as the male and female soloists mirror each other toe-to-toe and line-for-line in this playful, good-natured competition. Most recently during Ailey’s 2020 virtual holiday season, an excerpt of Pas de Duke was filmed on top of the iconic landmark Woolworth Building as a breathtaking love letter to New York City. This new production includes an adagio section that has not been performed by the Ailey Company in almost 20 years.  

Featured News Releases

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Returns To Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater After Three-Year Absence From June 15-19

New York – June 2, 2022 – Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, beloved as one of the world’s most popular dance companies, returns to Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts after a three-year absence for a six-performance engagement at the David H. Koch Theater June 15-19 that caps a decade of Artistic Director Robert Battle’s leadership. In addition to diverse programs featuring world premiere of Ailey Resident Choreographer Jamar Roberts’ In a Sentimental Mood and company premiere of Paul Taylor’s DUET, the season includes The Ailey Spirit Gala Benefit with Honorary Chair Grammy® Emmy® and Tony® Award-winning actress, singer and producer Cynthia Erivo; and An Evening Celebrating Jacqueline Green. Additional highlight includes free Ailey Extension “Dance in Times Square” outdoor workshop series hosted on Fridays at 5pm now through NYC Dance Week.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater National Tour January 28 - May 8 Celebrates A Decade Of Robert Battle's Leadership And 50th Anniversary Of Alvin Ailey's Cry

NEW YORK – JANUARY 27, 2022 – Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, America’s beloved cultural ambassador to the world, returns to stages on a coast-to-coast National Tour starting January 28 in Philadelphia, kicking off Black History Month at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. on February 1 , and traveling to cities like Atlanta, Miami, Berkeley, Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles before the finale in Newark on May 8. Marking a decade of leading the Company forward, Artistic Director Robert Battle presents Ailey’s renowned artists in a diverse repertory of premieres, new productions, and Ailey classics. Highlights include a Battle 10th Anniversary program; two world premieres adapted from video to stage, For Four by Robert Battle and Holding Space by Ailey Resident Choreographer Jamar Roberts; the return of hip-hop innovator Rennie Harris’s acclaimed Lazarus; 50 Years of Cry commemorating Ailey’s beloved classic dedicated to “all Black women everywhere—especially our mothers;” and Ailey & Ellington, spotlighting cherished classics from the series of more than a dozen ballets that Alvin Ailey created celebrating the musical genius of the eminent American composer Duke Ellington. Alvin Ailey’s American masterpiece Revelations, which has inspired generations through its powerful storytelling and soul- stirring spirituals since its creation in 1960, will reach all cities on the North American tour.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Announces Programming For New York City Center Season December 1-19, 2021

NEW YORK – UPDATED October 19, 2021— Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, New York City Center’s Principal Dance Company and America’s beloved cultural ambassador to the world, returns to the stage for a much-anticipated annual season in their “home” theater December 1–19, 2021. Marking a decade of leading the Company forward, Artistic Director Robert Battle will present Ailey’s renowned artists in a diverse repertory of premieres, new productions and Ailey classics. The repertory features two world premieres adapted from video to stage by Robert Battle and Ailey Resident Choreographer Jamar Roberts as well as four new productions.

Featured Press Coverage


Ebony - 7 Iconic Alvin Ailey Dances That Should Be On Every Enthusiasts' Radar

Renowned choreographer Alvin Ailey started his namesake dance company back in 1958, and his work has remained timeless over the decades. Whether it’s the joyous celebration of Night Creature, the playful Pas de Duke, or his most revered masterpiece, Revelations, his work can be a transcendent experience that has filled the hearts and souls of audiences around the globe.