Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Tuesday, February 03, 2009 - Sunday, February 08, 2009

This globally renowned company celebrates its 50th anniversary with a collection of classics plus their highly anticipated new collaboration with Sweet Honey In The Rock as part of Modern Masters, the Center's celebration of American modern dance.

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"Its never-fail dependability--superlative dancers, tight, driving works--is surely unbeaten in the dance world."
--The Washington Post
One of America's cultural ambassadors to the world, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater marks its 50th anniversary of bringing African American cultural expression and the American modern dance tradition to the world's stages. The genius of Alvin Ailey changed forever the perception of American dance; today, the legacy continues with Judith Jamison's remarkable vision and the extraordinary artistry of the Company's dancers.

For its annual Kennedy Center engagement--part of Modern Masters, the Center's celebration of American modern dance--the company presents a week of five mixed programs featuring two new works as well as Ailey favorites. Revelations, Alvin Ailey's "ever-touching" (The Financial Times) and "always knockout" (The New York Times) signature masterpiece, ends each program.
A highlight of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's 50th anniversary celebration is Go in Grace, the eagerly anticipated collaboration between the Company and Grammy Award–winning female a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey In The Rock, performed live on February 3 Opening Night only. Company member Hope Boykin weaves a gentle, affecting tale of community, family, and growth that illustrates the African proverb "it takes a village to raise a child." To a score of soulful harmonies and intricate rhythms composed and performed by Sweet Honey In The Rock, Boykin's powerful choreography casts the dancers and singers as members of a society who unite to move a young girl forward in wisdom and grace. Rooted in a deeply held commitment to create music out of the rich textures of African American legacy and traditions, Sweet Honey In The Rock possesses a stunning vocal prowess that captures the multifaceted sounds of blues, spirituals, traditional gospel hymns, rap, reggae, African chants, hip hop, ancient lullabies, and jazz improvisation.

With a highly dramatic style, complex partnering, and seamless integration of classical and modern styles, acclaimed Italian choreographer Mauro Bigonzetti showcases the Ailey dancers' emotional intensity and technical prowess in Festa Barocca.
The engagement also includes a brand new Anniversary Highlights program that spans each decade of Ailey's phenomenal career and features excerpts from many of Alvin Ailey's most popular and beloved ballets: Blues Suite, Streams, Choral Dances, Mary Lou's Mass, The Lark Ascending, Hidden Rites, Night Creature, Cry, Phases, Landscape, For "Bird" – With Love, Caverna Magica, and Opus McShann.
Otis Redding's sassy, sizzling music sets the stage for Suite Otis, George Faison's playful battle of the sexes.
Alvin Ailey's searing portrait of oppression, Masekela Langage, draws parallels between the era of South African apartheid and the race-induced violence in Chicago during the 1960s.
Ailey's first masterpiece, Blues Suite, poignantly evokes the sorrow, humor and humanity of the blues, those heartfelt songs that he called "hymns to the secular regions of the soul."
Hans van Manen divides his kinetic Solo among three dancers in a tour de force work that challenges the Ailey men's daring agility and grace.

Tue., Feb. 3 at 7 p.m.  (Timing: 2 hours, 15 min., with two 15-minute intermissions)
Go in Grace / Suite Otis / Revelations
Wed., Feb. 4 at 7:30 p.m. & Fri., Feb. 6 at 7:30 p.m.  (Timing: 2 hours, 10 min., with two intermissions) 
Anniversary Highlights (including Revelations)
Thu., Feb. 5 at 7:30 p.m.  (Timing: 2 hours, 12 min., with two 15-minute intermissions)
Suite Otis / Masekela Langage / Revelations
Sat., Feb. 7 at 1:30 p.m.*  (Timing: 2 hours, 12 min., with two 15-minute intermissions)
Blues Suite / Suite Otis / Revelations
Sat., Feb. 7 at 7:30 p.m. & Sun., Feb. 8 at 1:30 p.m.  (Timing: 2 hours, with one 15-minute intermission)
Festa Barocca / Solo, Revelations

*Performance Plus: Post-performance discussion following the matinee on Saturday, February 7, FREE with your performance ticket.

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All events and artists subject to change without prior notice.