Ailey II, the youthful and gifted second company of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, will return to its home, The Ailey Citigroup Theater, from April 18-29 for a highly anticipated two-week season – the last led by 38-year Artistic Director Sylvia Waters.
The 14 exciting performances experienced through two dynamic programs come on the heels of a successful North American tour to over 35 cities and an array of critically-acclaimed performances in Bermuda, Germany and Greece.
“Mr. Ailey gave me the greatest gift imaginable when he created a second company and asked me to direct it. Each year is filled with so much excitement, watching the dancers blossom and grow and perform their hearts out,” Sylvia Waters stated. “This season’s beautiful bouquet of dynamic dancers and stunning premieres will not disappoint – they are making my final season a memorable one!”
Premiering on opening night, Wednesday April 18, “The Modern Moves” program begins with “Echoes” by Thang Dao. This work depicts the echoes of memories of his family escaping Vietnam and debuted on Ailey II in 2010. Next on the program will be the company premiere of Mina Yoo’s “Boulevard,” an athletic piece that references a neighborhood “on the boulevard,” where young people of various cultures and backgrounds interact.
Originally created as an all-male work in 2006, “Boulevard” has been reconceived for Ailey II’s cast of nine dancers and blends contemporary dance with the percussive sounds of Michel Macias, Hugues Le Bars, René Aubry, and Greetje Bijma. The program will close with Artistic Director Designate Troy Powell’s seventh world premiere work for Ailey II, Reference Point. The cutting-edge full ensemble piece combines ballet, jazz, and contemporary dance and is set to music by Mio Morales.
The alternating Contemporary Choices program pairs two critically acclaimed works that debuted last season with a world premiere by emerging choreographer Stefanie Batten Bland. Batten Bland’s The Legacy of Inheritance fuses European and American styles into a passionate post-modern dance. Moving through and around an enormous white fabric, which takes on the form of several elements, the dancers are propelled forward by the music of Zoe Keating and Stars of the Lid. A fan and critic favorite from last year, The Corner, Kyle Abraham’s full ensemble work combining contemporary hip hop vernacular with post modern movement, makes its encore appearance as well as Donald Byrd’s 1988 Shards, originally staged on Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, set to music by Mio Morales.
Chosen by Alvin Ailey to guide and develop Ailey II following seven years as a lead dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Sylvia Waters has trained generations of outstanding professional dancers, opened the door for many of today’s most vital choreographers (including Robert Battle, now the artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater) and has brought Ailey II, which was founded in 1974, to prominence as one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed touring companies.
“Like so many others, I began my connection with the Ailey organization through Sylvia Waters when she invited me to choreograph for Ailey II in 1999,” Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Artistic Director Robert Battle said. “She has such a keen eye for identifying budding emerging artists and the works premiering this season are great examples of that sensibility. I owe Sylvia my deepest gratitude for all that she has done for me and I look forward to celebrating her during this very special season.”
To lead the company forward, Ms. Waters named Troy Powell, the veteran Ailey dancer, teacher, choreographer and Ailey II associate artistic director since 2003, to be her successor effective July 1.
Troy Powell commented, “Working with Ms. Waters and Ailey II’s marvelous dancers and touring the world with the Company over the past ten seasons has been truly amazing and humbling. It is a privilege to share the gift of Ailey with audiences and to continue delivering on the promise of keeping the Company fresh, exciting and soul-stirring—I feel blessed to have this opportunity.”
Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. – Modern Moves
Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. – Contemporary Choices
Friday, April 20, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. – Modern Moves
Saturday, April 21, 2012 at 3:00 p.m. – Contemporary Choices
Saturday, April 21, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. – Modern Moves
Sunday, April 22, 2012 at 3:00 p.m. – Modern Moves
Sunday, April 22, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. – Contemporary Choices
Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. – Contemporary Choices
Thursday, April 26, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. – Modern Moves
Friday, April 27, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. – Contemporary Choices
Saturday, April 28, 2012 at 3:0 p.m. – Modern Moves
Saturday, April 28, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. – Contemporary Choices
Sunday, April 29, 2012 at 3:00 p.m. – Modern Moves
Sunday, April 29, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. – Modern Moves