Caribbean dancer makes choreographic debut with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

AAADT's Patrick Coker, Courtney Spears, and Yannick Lebrun in Chalvar Monteiro's Promise for Ailey's Spring Gala, 2021.
Emily Kikta

For his sixth season with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Caribbean dancer Chalvar Monteiro made his choreographic debut during The Ailey Spring Gala on June 24.

Presenting a special homage to the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., the gala celebrated hope, promise and future, and included three premieres expressing the evening’s themes, according to Morgan Thweatt, public relations assistant, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in midtown Manhattan.

During this global broadcast, Thweatt said Chalvar presented “Promise” — “expressing admiration for the resiliency we see in the courageous souls on the frontlines.

Featuring six members of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and filmed at St. Nicholas Park in New York City, Thweatt said “’Promise’ uses the basketball court as its stage as a tribute to the collective identity and civic pride it has fostered in urban Afro-Caribbean youth as a cultural space.”

Dancer Chalvar Monteiro. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater/Andrew Eccles

“Injecting it into basketball court was super important to me,” said Monteiro said of “Promise.” “For most Black kids, the basketball court is the first place where we learn certain skills about how to have a target, but also being able to zoom out and see the full scope of what it is that I am working toward.”

Known for his sophistication and versatility both on and off the stage, Monteiro joined Ailey in 2015 “and has dazzled audiences around the world,” Thweatt said.

A native of Montclair, NJ, Monteiro earned a bachelor’s in fine arts (BFA) in dance from SUNY Purchase, where he was a member of SOCA (Students of Caribbean Ancestry).

“Recognized for his ‘incredibly supple depiction of despair’ by The Los Angeles Times, Chalvar has worked with companies like Ailey II, Sidra Bell Dance New York, Elisa Monte Dance, Keigwin + Company, and Abraham in Motion,” Thweatt said.

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