Revelations

Since its creation in 1960, Revelations has consistently enraptured audiences all over the world with its perfect blend of reverent grace and spiritual elation. Alvin Ailey’s signature masterpiece pays homage to and reflects the cultural heritage of the African-American, which Ailey considered one of America’s richest treasures – “sometimes sorrowful, sometimes jubilant, but always hopeful.” Choreographed when he was only 29 years old, Revelations is an intimate reflection inspired by childhood memories of attending services at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Texas, and by the work of writers James Baldwin and Langston Hughes. Set to a suite of traditional spirituals, Revelations explores the emotional spectrum of the human condition, from the deepest of grief to the holiest joy. A classic tribute to the resolve and determination of a people, the ballet has been seen by more people around the world than any other modern work. 

Of its creation, Ailey once recalled: “I did it chronologically, leading off with the opening part of Revelations, which was...about trying to get up out of the ground. The costumes and the set would be colored brown, an earth color, for coming out of the earth, for going into the earth. The second part was something that was very close to me the baptismal, the purification rite. Its colors would be white and pale blue. Then there would be the section surrounding the gospel church, the holy rollers and all the church happiness. Its colors would be earth tones, yellow and black.” 

The ballet premiered at the 92nd Street YM-YWHA on January 31, 1960, and has since been performed a countless number of times all over the world. It was part of Opening Ceremonies of the 1968 Olympics, and has been presented at the White House on numerous occasions, including at the inaugurations of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. The piece has had many film and television broadcasts, its first, the 1962 CBS special Lamp Under my Feet. It is also the framework for Revelations: An Interdisciplinary Approach, a residency program that has been implemented in public schools around the country, and uses Ailey’s signature work as an organizing theme for a comprehensive, in-depth study of language arts, social studies and dance.

Alvin Ailey combined Horton technique with his own astounding choreographic vision to create a series of movement that intertwines impossible strength and ethereal grace. After six decades, this American classic has proven to be a cultural landmark in the world of dance, maintaining its astonishing originality and powerful elegance while continuing to inspire and enthrall audiences everywhere

Featured News Releases

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Returns to Atlanta's Fox Theatre January 25-27, 2024 With Four Show-Stopping Performances

ATLANTA – October 17, 2023 – Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, beloved as one of the world’s most popular dance companies, announces a return to the Fox Theatre, January 25-27 as part of its 65th Anniversary North American tour. Led by Artistic Director Robert Battle, the 2024 Atlanta engagement will showcase the unparalleled passion, talent, and precision of Ailey’s extraordinary dancers in four show-stopping performances featuring dazzling premieres, new productions, and repertory favorites sure to thrill returning fans and first-timers alike.

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 Announces Lincoln Center Season Capping Artistic Director Robert Battle's 10th Anniversary June 15-19, 2022

New York – April 21, 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’ David H. Koch Theater June 15-19, 2022, for a six- performance engagement that caps a decade of Artistic Director Robert Battle’s leadership. Ailey’s acclaimed dancers bring to life four diverse, dynamic programs featuring the world premiere of Ailey Resident Choreographer Jamar Roberts’s In a Sentimental Mood, the company premiere of Paul Taylor’s Duet, Alvin Ailey’s The River, a Battle 10th Anniversary program, and more. Alvin Ailey’s masterpiece Revelations provides the uplifting finale of each performance.

Featured Press Coverage

TheGuardian_AAADT_London_Revelations_Feelings_Review_9.10.23

The Guardian - Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Mixed Bill review – community-spirited joy

The pioneering company’s warmth and athletic grace is showcased in a selection of old and new work. There’s something generous about Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. It’s there in the dancing – full of skill, passion and a charismatic warmth not always seen in contemporary dance companies. It’s there too in the programming: at Sadler’s Wells over the coming week, the company will perform four carefully curated bills, full of rarely seen and new work. At the same time, the young company Ailey II sets off on tour around Britain, with more treats planned.

TheTelegraph_AAADT_IntlTour_London_ContemporaryVoicesProgram_ReviewPRINT_9.6.23

The Telegraph - Alvin Ailey, review: the world’s most exciting dance company bring the house down

Of all the troupes who from time to time visit these shores, I’m not sure any is more consistently welcome or rewarding than Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Formed in New York in 1958 by their namesake to give black American dancers a “voice”, this resplendent ensemble is back in England for the first time in four years, following a brief sojourn at the Edinburgh International Festival. One offer during their 12-day stay at Sadler’s Wells is a full four programmes of works, of which Tuesday’s, Contemporary Voices, was the first. And, not for the first time, they royally brought the house down.

TheGuardian_AAADT_InternationalTour_Edinburgh_Feelings_Review_8.24.23

The Guardian - Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater review: extraordinary soul-stirring dance

The American company brought Ailey’s legendary Revelations, still hugely powerful after 65 years, alongside modern pieces of precision and fire. The thing about the dancers of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is that they are precision performers – technique visible, placings academic – but at the same time, they can elasticate and undulate their bodies; they can be sensual and spiritual. Above all, they dance with great sincerity.