Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater presents


In the Company’s first two-act ballet, acclaimed hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris completes a trilogy of works—including past Ailey audience favorites Exodus and Home—with this hour-long work inspired by the life and times of Mr. Ailey.

With Lazarus, Harris connects past and present in a powerful work that addresses the racial inequities America faced when Mr. Ailey founded this company in 1958 and still faces today.

In “Lazarus,” which explores the civil rights movement as well as Ailey’s life, Mr. Harris questions how much has changed — and has not — since Ailey formed his company in 1958. The score, by Mr. Harris’s longtime collaborator Darrin Ross, features the ominous sounds of barking dogs and spraying water, ostensibly from a fire hose. (Both were used against protesters in peaceful demonstrations.) Mixed in are songs, including Michael Kiwanuka’s “Black Man in a White World,” released in 2016 and a reminder of Mr. Harris’s point that the struggle continues. – Gia Kourlas, A Dance Homage to Alvin Ailey as His Company Turns 60, The New York Times, Nov. 27, 2018

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater grew from a now-fabled performance in March 1958 at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. Led by Alvin Ailey and a group of young African-American modern dancers, that performance changed forever the perception of American dance.

The Ailey company has gone on to perform for an estimated 25 million people at theaters in 48 states and 71 countries on six continents – as well as millions more through television broadcasts, film screenings, and online platforms.

In 2008, a U.S. Congressional resolution designated the Company as “a vital American cultural ambassador to the world” that celebrates the uniqueness of the African-American cultural experience and the preservation and enrichment of the American modern dance heritage. When Mr. Ailey began creating dances, he drew upon his “blood memories” of Texas, the blues, spirituals, and gospel as inspiration, which resulted in the creation of his most popular and critically acclaimed work, Revelations. Although he created 79 ballets over his lifetime, Mr. Ailey maintained that his company was not exclusively a repository for his own work.

Today, the Company continues Mr. Ailey’s mission by presenting important works of the past and commissioning new ones. In all, more than 235 works by over 90 choreographers have been part of the Ailey company’s repertory.

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