Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at Orange County Performing Arts Center
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The last date listed for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater was Thursday March 4, 2010 / 7:30pm.
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Featured review from Alan
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Superb. I last saw the Ailey company in the early 90s, and they perform to the same high standard. We saw two new pieces. The first, "Uptown," we didn't care for (the dance seemed to be illustration of the narrative). The second, "Dancing Spirit," was gorgeous. The final dance was "Revelations," which was a pleasure to see again. The performance was wonderful, though it didn't measure up to when I saw it 35 or so years ago with Judith Jamison (now the company's artistic director) dancing the lead. This isn't a criticism of the current dancers, only a reflection of what a unique presence Ms. Jamison (paired with the great John Parks) had on the stage. The Ailey Company is a treasure.
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I'm a big fan of the show So You Think You Can Dance and from watching I was introduced to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. I watched on TV in amazement. So when I found out they were playing, I bought myself a ticket and went to watch. I...continued
The Orange County Performing Arts Center presents the exclusive Southern California engagement of the acclaimed Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater March 2 – 7, during its national tour celebrating Judith Jamison’s 20th anniversary as the Company’s Artistic Director. The Company, recognized by the U.S. Congress as a vital American “Cultural Ambassador to the World,” brings the West Coast premieres of Ronald K. Brown’s Dancing Spirit, which pays tribute to Ms. Jamison; Ms. Jamison’s new Among Us (Private Spaces: Public Places); Matthew Rushing’s Uptown, and “Best of 20 Years,” program highlights from ballets that Ms. Jamison has welcomed to the Ailey repertory. The Ailey will also perform a new production of Hymn, Ms. Jamison’s Emmy Award-winning homage to Alvin Ailey, and repertory favorite Suite Otis by George W. Faison to music by Otis Redding. Free Preview Talks conducted by Ailey Company members will be held one hour prior to each performance.
“The Orange County Performing Arts Center welcomes the return of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for its fourth visit to Segerstrom Hall,” said Center President Terry Dwyer. “The Ailey Company is a treasured constituent of our Dance Series, always bringing its unique and exhilarating artistry and creativity to the Center for our audience’s enjoyment. The Center’s relationship with this esteemed company enables us to offer residencies and master classes conducted by the remarkable Ailey dancers for talented young dancers from throughout our community who dream of exceptional performance careers. The Center welcomes the Ailey Company back to Orange County and congratulates its Artistic Director, Judith Jamison, for her leadership and vision throughout the company’s past 20 years.”
“I can’t wait to see audiences join my extraordinary dancers on this seasno’s inspiring journey through the pat two decades and into the future,” remarked National Medal of Arts recipient and 2009 TIME 100 and Kennedy Center honoree Ms. Jamison. “We know how to fly, we really do.”
West Coast Premieres__**
Among Us (Private Spaces: Public Places)__ (2009), choreographed by Judith Jamison** Characters from all walks of life come together in Judith Jamison’s new collection of vignettes examining the joys and complications of human relationships. Original jazz compositions by the musical iconoclast Eric Lewis and costumes by the award-winning designer Paul Tazewell are inspired by a series of Jamison’s own drawings that depict these characters’ ordinary and sometimes extraordinary lives.
Dancing Spirit* (2009), choreographed by Ronald K. Brown* Ronald K. Brown pays tribute to Judith Jamison’s profound influence with a new work that echoes the title of Jamison’s autobiography. Set to music by Duke Ellington, Wynton Marsalis, Radiohead and War, Brown’s evocative choreography uses movement from Cuba, Brazil and the United States to conjure dancing spirits who embody Jamison’s elegance, vision, dignity and generosity.
Uptown**__** (2009), choreographed by Matthew Rushing** Take a vibrant tour through the Harlem Renaissance era in all its boisterous, swinging glory. In this new ballet by the beloved, 18-year Company veteran Matthew Rushing, legends like Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Josephine Baker and their contemporaries come alive to the music of Fats Waller, Eubie Blake, Nat “King” Cole and more.
Hymn *, choreographed by Judith Jamison Judith Jamison’s moving, Emmy Award-winning 1993 homage to Alvin Ailey uses explosive, full company dances and quiet solos to illuminate Ailey’s humanity and the dancers’ unique qualities. Narrative recollections from dancers are arranged by the multi-talented actor/playwright Anna Deavere Smith.
“Best of 20 Years” highlights program Over the last two decades, Judith Jamison has commissioned or revived nearly 100 works, providing unparalleled opportunities for choreographers both renowned and newly discovered. This season, a “Best of 20 Years” program features highlights from popular ballets she has brought to or revived in the Ailey repertory, representing the wide range of styles and voices that have contributed to the Ailey canon. The December 13th premiere opened a week-long performance series tribute. Includes excerpts from:
- The Stack-Up* (1982, new production in 1997) choreographed by Talley Beatty (Center Premiere)* Music: Phillip Bailey, Larry Dunn, Maurice White and Verdine White (Earth, Wind, & Fire – “Faces”). Talley Beatty’s fast and furious jazz choreography sends dancers whizzing across the stage while throbbing to the pulsating beats of Earth, Wind & Fire. The Stack-Up is a tough, brutal, yet lyrical examination of what happens when life causes a coming together of disparate social and cultural elements, offering a glimpse of urban L.A. life.
- __**Grace**__** (1999) choreographed by Ronald K. Brown ** Music: Duke Ellington sung by Jimmy McPhail (“Come Sunday”). Ron Brown’s signature fusion of African and modern dance styles illuminates the soloist in this excerpt of his spiritual piece about acknowledging the ‘grace’ within individuals’ everyday lives.
- North Star* (1978 – *joined Ailey repertory in 1990) choreographed by *Lar Lubovitch (Center Premiere)* Music: Philip Glass (“Ange des Oranges”). Lar Lubovitch’s rippling, fluid choreography uniquely complements Glass’ avant-garde repetitive score in this quartet from North Star.
- Following the Subtle Current Upstream* (2000) choreographed by Alonzo King * Music: Miguel Frasconi (“Bowed Glass, Thunder & Glass, Bells”). Alonzo King’s riveting choreographic combination of modern and ballet dance styles creates a piece that is both austere and evocative, as seen in this excerpted solo.
- __**Shelter**__** (1988 – ****joined Ailey repertory in 1992) ch****oreographed by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar (Center Premiere)** Music: Junior “Gabu” Wedderburn. Text: “Belongo” by Laurie Carlos read by Carl Hancock Rux. Ailey dancers conquer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar’s intense and complex movement style in Shelter, an intensely moving and passionate work about homelessness and poverty set to the percussion of Junior “Gabu” Wedderburn, and spoken poetry.
- __**Frames**__** (1992) choreographed by Dwight Rhoden (Center Premiere)** Music/Vocalist: Kemp Harris. Words: Dwight Rhoden (“Moonlight”). Complexions Contemporary Ballet Co-Founder and Artistic Director Dwight Rhoden’s first work for AAADT in 1992, while a dancer with the Company, is an abstract exploration into the depictions of relationships with angular choreography, and, in this solo, “Stanza 5 – Moonlight,” gestural movements inspired by intimate emotions.
- Bad Blood* (1984 – *joined Ailey repertory in 1986) choreographed by Ulysses Dove (Center Premiere Music: Laurie Anderson (“Gravity’s Angel”). Dancing at an extremely athletic and emotionally visceral level, the dancers in this excerpted duet of Bad Blood reveal the power and magnetic pull of courtship rites with a ruthless and sharp movement vocabulary.
- Rainbow Round My Shoulder *(1959 – *joined Ailey repertory in 1972, new production in 2003) cho*reographed by Donald McKayle (Center Premiere) Music: Traditional, Arranged by Robert de Cormier and Milton Okun. This modern dance classic by Donald McKayle is a portrait of the grueling life of men on the chain gang, punctuated by the dreams of love, joy and passion that sustain them. The woman’s solo, “The Dream …” is the representation of the men’s vision of their mothers, wives and sweethearts.
- Dance at the Gym* (1991) choreographed by Donald Byrd (Center Premiere)* Music: Mio Morales. Inspired by the group dances in Jerome Robbin’s production of West Side Story, Dance at the Gym depicts the complexity, intensity and competitiveness of teenage relationships, offering an exploration into the struggles and challenges of young people seeking companionship.
- Jukebox for Alvin* (1993) choreographed by Garth Fagan (Center Premiere)* Music: Antonín Dvořák. The poignant male solo from Jukebox for Alvin introduces this introspective homage to Garth Fagan’s teacher, mentor, and friend, Alvin Ailey.
- Lettres d’Amour* (1998) choreographed by Redha (Center Premiere)* Music: Banco de Gaia (“Drippy”) and Ryuichi Sakamoto (“Nuages”). A dynamic piece about human desire and seduction choreographed by French choreographer Redha shows the Ailey dancers have no limits, as they conquer his edgy and theatrical choreography.
- Polish Pieces* (1995 – *joined Ailey repertory in 1996) choreographed by Hans van Manen * (Center Premiere) * Music: Henryk-Mikolaj Górecki. Leading European choreographer Hans van Manen set Polish Pieces on the Ailey Company for its United States premiere in 1996. This excerpted duet is a highlight from the abstract work, set to a classical score by Henryk-Mikolaj Górecki.
- The Winter in Lisbon* (1992) choreographed by Billy Wilson* Music: Dizzy Gillespie (“Manteca”). This festive excerpt, from the piece celebrating the extraordinary talent of jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie by dance and Broadway choreographer Billy Wilson is a vibrant party on-stage.
Revelations *(1960) choreographed by Alvin Ailey Music: Traditional spirituals. Alvin Ailey said that one of America’s richest treasures was the cultural heritage of the African-American, “sometimes sorrowful, sometimes jubilant, but always hopeful.” This enduring classic is a tribute to that heritage and to Ailey’s genius. Using African-American religious music – spirituals, song-sermons, gospel songs and holy blues – this suite fervently explores the places of deepest grief and holiest joy in the soul.
Episodes *(1987 – joined the Ailey repertory in 1989) choreographed by Ulysses Dove * Music: Robert Ruggieri. Ulysses Dove created his explosive choreographic masterpiece, Episodes, for the classical London Festival Ballet in 1987. The company danced the piece in bare feet. The following year, Dove re-choreographed the dance on pointe for Patrick Dupond’s Ballet Francais de Nancy.
Suite Otis* (1971) choreographed by George W. Faison* Otis Redding’s sassy, sizzling music sets the stage for George Faison’s playful battle of the sexes. The yearning sensuality of such timeless songs as “Satisfaction,” “Try a Little Tenderness,” “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” and other favorites bursts through this sexy, charming and witty suite.