Holding Space

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Vanity Fair - “I Don’t Make Dance For Myself”: Jamar Roberts on Choreography, His Days At Alvin Ailey, And What Comes Next

Vanity Fair - “I Don’t Make Dance For Myself”: Jamar Roberts on Choreography, His Days At Alvin Ailey, And What Comes Next

After two decades, the acclaimed dancer has retired from the company where he made a huge splash in contemporary dance—but, as he explains to Vanity Fair, this is just the beginning. On a Monday afternoon in late November, Jamar Roberts, a longtime star of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, was standing in a studio at the company’s expansive, glass-walled school in midtown Manhattan. But instead of joining the group of barefoot and masked dancers as they rehearsed his piece “Holding Space,” Roberts wore cargo pants and kept on pair of black-and-white polka dot Converse. In August, the 39-year-old dancer announced his retirement from the company he’d been a part of since 2002. Now, he watched the rehearsal as choreographer.

Dance Tabs - Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Jamar Roberts Farewell - New York

Dance Tabs - Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Jamar Roberts Farewell - New York

It is always interesting to see what happens when a dancer who is also a choreographer plans his or her own retirement performance. On Dec. 9, it was Jamar Roberts of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater who was saying goodbye to his dancing career, though he will stay on as choreographer-in-residence. Robert Battle, Ailey’s artistic director, was smart to bind Roberts to the institution; Roberts has proven himself to be a choreographer of substance who creates works that channel deep emotion without foregoing complexity and the power of beauty.

The New Jersey Star Ledger - The Last Dance: Jamar Roberts Takes Final Bow For Alvin Ailey Dance Theater

The New Jersey Star Ledger - The Last Dance: Jamar Roberts Takes Final Bow For Alvin Ailey Dance Theater

Perhaps you don't remember the exact steps or the story behind the dance. What's unforgettable, however, is the dancer the tall, commanding man whose strength and grace are barely contained on a stage. Jamar Roberts, the resident choreographer of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, has been a captivating presence with the company for nearly 20 years. His last dance with Ailey will be Thursday at the troupe's Manhattan home, New York City Center. The program, "Celebrating Jamar Roberts: Jamar Roberts Solo/ Holding Space/ For Four/ Revelations," is part of the company's annual residency at the New York City theater through Dec. 19.

The New York Times - Now They Can Focus On Choreography

The New York Times - Now They Can Focus On Choreography

When star dancers retire, it's always a little sad. And if those dancers are still in their prime, fans can feel an especially acute sense of loss. The performances that won't happen are easy to imagine. But in the uncommon case when the dancer has already achieved distinction as a choreographer and is retiring to focus on that craft, the loss is offset by potential gain. The dancer will be absent from the stage, but the dancer's spirit and sensibility might spread across it... On Dec. 9, Jamar Roberts is giving his farewell performance with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

The New York Times - Alvin Ailey Dance Theater Announces Its Fall Season

The New York Times - Alvin Ailey Dance Theater Announces Its Fall Season

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s coming season at New York City Center will celebrate Robert Battle’s 10 years as artistic director, the company announced Wednesday. After the difficulties of the past 17 months, Battle is more open to embracing the occasion than he might otherwise have been.

The New York Times - At Ailey’s Gala, Different Kinds Of Hope

The New York Times - At Ailey’s Gala, Different Kinds Of Hope

Uplift is what people expect from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. And so its no surprise that for its spring gala – this spring all springs – the company focused explicitly on themes of hope, promise and future. What’s pledged is delivered, with much of the rottenness that comes with reliability. But the Ailey company’s official hope doesn’t entirely eclipse a more troubled and therefore more trustworthy kind, supplied mostly by the troupe’s increasingly important resident choreographer, Jamar Roberts.

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