For Four

San Francisco Chronicle - Review: Classic ‘Revelations’ Feeds The Soul As Alvin Ailey Company Returns To Cal Performances

San Francisco Chronicle - Review: Classic ‘Revelations’ Feeds The Soul As Alvin Ailey Company Returns To Cal Performances

Alvin Ailey’s “Revelations” is back in the flesh — and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is dancing it as rousingly as ever. If you’ve never seen “Revelations,” or haven’t gotten a dose in a few years, make haste to the Ailey company’s current run at UC Berkeley’s Cal Performances, where this eternal and indestructible 1960 classic is slated to cap every program (there are five of them) on offer through Sunday, April 3. And brace yourself; as one longtime fan was heard telling a newcomer on opening night Thursday, March 29, “You’re about to go to church.”

The Atlanta Journal Constitution - Alvin Ailey Troupe Returns To The Fox

The Atlanta Journal Constitution - Alvin Ailey Troupe Returns To The Fox

Instinct rather than intention guided Robert Battle, artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, when he choreographed the image of dancer Renaldo Maurice, a Black man, draped in the American flag. Battle had envisioned his piece, “For Four,” as a light opener to a jazz score capturing the pandemic’s pent-up energies. But at some level, Battle said, he needed to respond to the murder of George Floyd and “these fragile times in our democracy.”

The Wasington Post - Pandemic Revived Ailey Dance Company Director's Own Creativity

The Wasington Post - Pandemic Revived Ailey Dance Company Director's Own Creativity

When he became the artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 10 years ago, Robert Battle stopped seeing himself as a choreographer. “In fact,” he said in a recent phone interview, “there were parts of me that didn’t really think I would make another work.” Paradoxically, making work is precisely why Battle had landed at Ailey in the first place in 2011. It was his skill as a choreographer and director of his own small troupe, Battleworks Dance Company, that caught the attention of one of the world’s most prestigious modern-dance organizations. Judith Jamison, Battle’s champion and predecessor at Ailey, hailed him as “the creative force of the future.”

Dance Magazine: Robert Battle At Full Throttle

Dance Magazine: Robert Battle At Full Throttle

When you’re enjoying the easygoing, joke-telling manner of Robert Battle as the welcoming emcee of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, you might not realize there is a ferocious choreographer underneath all that charm. To celebrate his 10 years as artistic director, at New York City Center on Tuesday night the company presented seven works Battle’s created over the last 22 years. Each one held bold surprises—even for those of us familiar with his work.

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.