For more than four decades, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has dazzled audiences in Atlanta, and the Company will move the crowd once again during this year’s return to the Fabulous Fox Theatre February 14 – 18, 2018. Six breathtaking performances will showcase the brilliance of Ailey’s 32 dancers, shine a spotlight on social issues with timely and topical works, and pay homage to love and legacy through two special programs: “A Night to Love” on a Valentine’s Day, Wednesday, February 14, featuring a one-night-only program of duets celebrating love; and “MLK50: Celebrating the Legacy” on Friday, February 16, honoring the life and works of Atlanta’s greatest peacemaker, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as the 50th anniversary of his death approaches in April.
In addition to annual performances, Ailey reaffirmed its commitment to the city by celebrating the completion of its pilot year of Destination Dance Ailey Atlanta to engage Atlanta’s vibrant cultural community.
“Atlanta has long been Ailey’s heart and soul in the South, with audiences passing down a shared love of our heartpounding, soul-stirring, thought-provoking performances for more than 40 years now,” said Artistic Director Robert Battle. “The city has given so much to the Company, and we’re proud to partner with cherished cultural institutions throughout Atlanta to give back to the community with our Destination Dance Ailey Atlanta initiative. We love the opportunity to maintain a relationship with our audiences year-round along with the highlight of inspiring annual performances at The Fabulous Fox Theatre by 32 of the most extraordinary dancers in the world.”
Ailey’s cornerstone engagement, featuring five days of breathtaking performances in Atlanta, kicks off on Wednesday, February 14 at 8 p.m. with “A Night to Love,” a celebration of the most magical of human emotions represented through the art of dance. The one-night-only program will touch the hearts of all, beginning with the return of Stack-Up to celebrate the centennial of modern dance pioneer Talley Beatty with a look at the hectic realities of living and searching for love in a crowded, urban landscape set to a heart-pounding 1970s music and dance scene. The second act comprised of duets saluting love features Robert Battle’s Ella – set to Ella Fitzgerald’s virtuosic scatting in “Air Mail Special” – and excerpts from The Winter in Lisbon, celebrating the music of Dizzy Gillespie, and a special staging of a highlight from Shining Star, choreographed by David Parsons to the music of Earth, Wind & Fire.
The program will feature Ailey stars and real-life love-birds Linda Celeste Sims and Glenn Allen Sims, who fell in love dancing together with the Company, were married on Alvin Ailey’s birthday, and have now been performing together for over two decades.
The Thursday, February 15 8 p.m. program ushers in the return of Tony Award-winning choreographer Twyla Tharp to the repertory with The Golden Section, an ensemble work set to a propulsive score by David Byrne, showcasing the sheer physicality of Ailey dancers with breathtaking leaps, finely-honed partnering and explosive joy. The work will also be performed on Saturday, February 17 at 2 p.m., in a program that will delight audiences with Ulysses Dove’s electrifying Episodes and Cry, Alvin Ailey’s classic solo celebrating “all black women everywhere – especially our mothers,” made famous by Judith Jamison, the legendary Ailey dancer and second artistic director of the Company. A free Q&A session with the dancers will follow the Saturday “Family Matinee” performance, allowing people of all ages to hear first-hand about the magic of Ailey.
On Friday, February 15 at 8 p.m., “MLK50: Celebrating the Legacy” honors Atlanta’s prodigal son and great Civil Rights leader with a special program as we approach the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. r-Evolution, Dream. returns to the Atlanta stage after last year’s premiere, bringing audiences creative storytelling set to music composed by Ali Jackson (Jazz at Lincoln Center) and historical and original writings narrated by Leslie Odom, Jr. (Hamilton). Inspired by Dr. King’s sermons and speeches witnessed during a visit to Atlanta’s Center for Civil and Human Rights, choreographer and Ailey dancer Hope Boykin reminds us all of the incredible power of Dr. King’s words and his legacy. The program continues with Urban Bush Women founder Jawole Willa Jo Zollar’s Shelter – bringing to the forefront the harsh realities and struggles of the homeless in America, and featuring an updated ending with revised text highlighting recent hurricanes and how our shelter can be threatened by climate change – and The Hunt, Robert Battle’s powerful work for six men.
The Saturday night, February 17 8 p.m. and Sunday, February 18 3 p.m. matinee performances highlight the choregraphy of Robert Battle with In/Side, featuring the music of the legendary Nina Simone, this season’s striking Company premiere Mass, and Ella, along with Talley Beatty’s Stack-Up.
The rousing finale of all performances is Alvin Ailey’s timeless American masterpiece Revelations, which has been resonating with audiences more powerfully than ever.
Destination Dance Ailey Atlanta launched in January 2017 with the goal of forming partnerships between Ailey and Atlanta-based cultural, civic, and educational organizations, collaborations with 10 local organizations to present performances, classes and workshops for the public, education programs in schools, and more. Special programs like the “Revelations Celebration” workshops at the High Museum of Art attracted more than 450 members of the local community, while Atlanta Ballet’s AileyCamp provided free dance education for 100 middle school students from underserved communities. Additionally, Atlanta native Juel D. Lane choreographed his first work Ailey II – Touch & Agree – which premiered in Atlanta with a sold-out performance at the Rialto Center for the Arts at Georgia State University. Destination Dance initiatives for 2018 include:
Ailey Arts In Education Residencies Revelations: An Interdisciplinary Approach – B.E.S.T. Academy / M. Agnes Jones Elementary From Monday, January 29 – Friday, February 2, Ailey Arts In Education Master Teacher Nasha Thomas and Ailey teaching artists Michael Leon Thomas and Theara Ward will lead 6th grade students at B.E.S.T. Academy and 5th grade students at M. Agnes Jones Elementary in Revelations: An Interdisciplinary Approach, which utilizes Alvin Ailey’s signature work, Revelations, as the inspirational framework for a comprehensive study of language arts, social studies, and dance.
Ailey Experience, presented in collaboration with AREA – Maynard H. Jackson High School Ailey fans in Atlanta have the opportunity to move with the Ailey spirit by participating in dance workshops from Saturday, February 10 – Sunday, February 11 at Maynard H. Jackson High School, co-presented by Ailey Extension and AREA (Atlanta’s Resource for Entertainment & Arts). Led by three former Ailey company members, two workshops (“The Ailey Experience” for teens and adults, and “Ailey Experience Jr.” for ages 10-12) will teach students Contemporary and Horton techniques, as well as choreography from Alvin Ailey’s classic works like Revelations, Blues Suite, and Night Creature. No experience is required and all levels are welcome.
Atlanta Ballet’s AileyCamp Serving 100 middle school children in summer 2018, Atlanta Ballet’s AileyCamp is an innovative, six-week day camp that uses the power of disciplined dance training, creative writing instruction, and personal development and communication workshops to provide a highly motivating experience for at-risk youth. The program, returning to Atlanta for its 12th year, is provided at no cost to the campers or their families and helps youth develop their selfconfidence in an atmosphere of warmth, respect, and trust.
Tickets starting at $25 are on sale now at the The Fox Theatre box office, 660 Peachtree Street NE, www.alvinailey.org, www.foxatltix.com or by calling 855-285-8499. Discount tickets are available for students with an appropriate ID for the Wednesday, February 14 and Thursday, February 15 performances and for groups of 10 or more (discounts do not apply to $25 tickets). For group sales, call 404-881-2000. Tickets at a 20 percent discount are also available for “A Night to Love” using code Aileylove (limit 8 tickets, only valid for tickets priced $39 or higher). Buy one, get one 50 percent off tickets are available for the Family Matinee performance Saturday, February 17 at 2 p.m. (limit 8 tickets). For further information about Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater please visit www.alvinailey.org.