Set to spirituals, gospel songs and blues, Alvin Ailey’s modern dance masterpiece "Revelations" was first performed in 1960. It was unlike anything audiences had seen before, and since then it’s been performed continuously around the globe. On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe speaks with Iowa native Ronnie Favors of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater about her journey through modern dance and the troupe’s upcoming Iowa performance.
In March of 1958, Alvin Ailey and a small group of dancers first performed at the 92nd street "Y" on the Upper West Side. Nine years later, he started the Ailey School. Now, 50 years later, the school continues celebrating Ailey's vision. "He could see almost the future in dance, and what he did, he did with such heart and honesty and love that it still is alive today," co-director Tracy Inman said. And it shapes these dancers are both personally and professionally. Young people from all over the world go there to learn and perfect their craft. Guided by Mr. Ailey's mission that dance is for everybody, the young people pour every ounce of their souls and bodies into their craft. The Alley School has trained 75% of the current members of the first company.
Masazumi Chaya, the associate artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater since 1991, will retire on Jan. 5 after the company's annual City Center season. But he'll still be involved with the organization: After he steps down, Chaya, 72, will be in charge of a licensing project that will assist in the restaging of Ailey's works. Matthew Rushing, a veteran dancer and the company's rehearsal director, will take over as associate artistic director, while Ronni Favors, a former Ailey member, will become the company's rehearsal director. Clifton Brown, a current dancer, will join Linda Celeste Sims as an assistant to the rehearsal director.