The world’s first Afro-American dance company, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, is returning to the Tivoli Concert Hall for the 17th time in August 2019. Danish audiences love Ailey, who usually plays for full houses. This time, six works will be shown for the first time in Denmark, along with Ailey’s well-loved signature piece Revelations. The guest performance in the Tivoli Concert Hall will last from 28 August until 1 September 2019.
More than 25 million people in 71 countries have seen Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater perform. The world-leading dance company includes some of the most famous dancers and innovative choreographies. The Ailey repertoire ranges from street dance and African-inspired dance to the elegant lines and leaps of classical ballet. From the company’s foundation in 1958, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has focused tirelessly on civil rights in the USA and the rest of the world. The beautiful, intense, sensual, dramatic and strongly musical dance performances have thereby contributed to greater understanding between people.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater visited Tivoli for the first time in 1981.
Tivoli’s Artistic Director Peter Bo Bendixen says: “This is the seventeenth time Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater visits Tivoli, and as always, expectations are high. The world-famous company, which always brings the Tivoli Concert Hall to the boil, has six new ballets that have never before been performed in Denmark in its repertoire, as well as Ailey’s ingenious Revelations, of course. So there is plenty to look forward to when the company visits Tivoli in late summer”.
Six Danish premieres
The six titles to be premiered in Denmark are Lazarus, EN, a new piece that as yet has no title, Members Don’t Get Weary, The Call and Juba. The company will also show its classic signature dance Revelations.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater artistic director Robert Battle says: “It will be an honour to show the audience in Copenhagen the new and exciting works of the visionary choreographers as well as the evergreen classics by Alvin Ailey. In Tivoli, this group of highly acclaimed dancers will show facets of dance that touch the soul and enrich us as a society, and in that way shoulder the legacy of Ailey, who inspired, enlightened and united his audiences. The audience in Tivoli has something to look forward to”.
In the Company’s first two-act ballet, acclaimed hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris completes a trilogy of works – including past Ailey audience favourites 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.
Winner of the Bessie and Arison Awards, Jessica Lang makes her choreographic debut at the Ailey company with EN, her 100th ballet. “En” is a Japanese word with multiple meanings of circle, destiny, fate or karma, and the theme of her new work is about coming full circle. This celebratory ensemble work is set to an original score by frequent collaborator Jakub Ciupinski and (in Lang’s own words) “reflects on the universal experience of coming full circle and, as time passes, we recognise the people we meet along life’s journey who play a part in the fate and destiny of our lives”. Lang’s choreography has demonstrated a breath-taking range of influences, including interests in visual art, theatrical lyricism, the geometry of the human body, and the nuances of bodily gesture.
Members Don‘t Get Weary
Jamar Roberts, a veteran dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and 2016 “Bessie” Award recipient, made his Ailey II choreographic debut in 2015 with his work Gemeos, set to the music of Afrobeat star Fela Kuti. The Dance Enthusiast described Roberts’ movement as “an intricate script that sweeps the stage like calligraphy”. Roberts’ first work for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is inspired by the blues. In Roberts’ own words, “As a response to the current social landscape in America, Members Don’t Get Weary takes an abstract look into the notion of one ‘having the blues'”. Set to the powerful music of the legendary American jazz saxophonist and composer John Coltrane, the work uses the dancing body to inspire the audience, allowing them to transcend their own personal blues momentarily.
Ronald K. Brown’s joyous mix of modern and African dance – seen previously in Grace, Open Door, and other works – fits the Ailey dancers perfectly, and his themes of spiritual awakening and redemption never fail to inspire. Music for the piece includes: Trio Sonata No. 6 in G Major by Johann Sebastian Bach performed by Chris Thile, Edgar Meyer, and Yo-Yo Ma; Blues for Timme (Live) from the Mary Lou Williams Trio’s album “Live at Nice ‘Grande Parade Jazz'”; and The Love from Asase Yaa Entertainment Group’s album “Drum Love”.
This eagerly anticipated return of Artistic Director Robert Battle’s first creation for Ailey is a modern-day Rite of Spring with an abstract twist – an electrifying thrill ride through ritual and folk tradition. Battle’s uninhibited movement melds seamlessly with an original score for string quartet and percussion by his frequent collaborator John Mackey.
New Moultrie is not a title but covers a new work by choreographer Darrell Grand Moultrie, which will have its world premiere in 2019 and as yet has no title.
Revelations is Alvin Ailey America Dance Theater’s signature work. Alvin Ailey choreographed Revelations in 1960, when he was just 29 years old. Ailey said that one of America’s richest treasures was the African-American cultural heritage, “sometimes sorrowful, sometimes jubilant, but always hopeful“. You feel both the story and the historical context in Ailey’s legacy, which is bursting with soul, sun and strength with its undiluted Afro-American culture and divinity. Revelations is more than simply a popular dance performance – it is a masterpiece of modern ballet.
The Alvin Ailey company can be seen in the Tivoli Concert Hall from 28 August until 1 September 2019.
Information and tickets: http://www.tivoli.dk/en/kultur+og+program/teater/2019/alvin+ailey+american+dance+theater