The Kennedy Center

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Tuesday, February 2, 2016 - Sunday, February 7, 2016

Ballet & Contemporary Dance Contemporary Dance

Led by Artistic Director Robert Battle, the company makes its annual Kennedy Center appearance with seven performances in the Opera House.

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Robert Battle, Artistic Director
Masazumi Chaya, Associate Artistic Director
New York, NY

"Phenomenal--go see Ailey! It's change-your-life good."
--NBC's Today Show

"An impressive spectrum of works push the company forward while keeping it firmly anchored in its celebrated past."
--The New York Times

One of the world's favorite dance companies, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater grew from a now-fabled performance in March 1958 at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. What makes this phenomenal company so special is the talent and skill of its dancers--and the incomparable sense of joy, freedom, and spirit they share with audiences around the world. Discover for yourself what tens of millions of fans already know--you don't just see an Ailey performance, you feel it.

Artistic Director Robert Battle, "who understands the limits of a company's past, even if that past is still popular beyond belief" (Time Out Chicago), is continuing Alvin Ailey's tradition of presenting new works from leading American and international choreographers, in addition to company favorites.

The amazingly athletic Ailey dancers perform to sold-out Kennedy Center audiences year after year. For their annual engagement in February 2016, they bring works by Robert Battle, Ronald K. Brown, Rennie Harris, Judith Jamison, Matthew Rushing, and Paul Taylor, plus a special program of all-Alvin Ailey classics. Each of their five programs concludes with Alvin Ailey's signature masterpiece Revelations.

Free Explore the Arts Post-Performance Discussion
Saturday, February 6 matinee

Performance Timings: All Programs run approximately 2 to 2-1/4 hours, including one 15-minute intermission.
(DC) – D.C. Premiere
(NP) – A New Production of the Work
(CP) – Company Premiere 
Tue., Feb. 2 at 7 p.m.
Open Door (Ronald K. Brown) (DC)
Exodus (Rennie Harris) (DC)
Revelations (Alvin Ailey)
Wed., Feb. 3 at 7 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 6 at 7 p.m.
Open Door (Ronald K. Brown) (DC)
A Case of You (Judith Jamison) (NP)
No Longer Silent (Robert Battle) (DC)
Revelations (Alvin Ailey)
Thu., Feb. 4 at 7 p.m.
Sun., Feb. 7 at 1 p.m.
Blues Suite (Alvin Ailey) (NP)
Night Creature (Alvin Ailey)
Cry (Alvin Ailey) (NP)
Revelations (Alvin Ailey)
Fri., Feb. 5 at 7 p.m.
Piazzolla Caldera (Paul Taylor) (CP)
Awakening (Robert Battle) (DC)
Revelations (Alvin Ailey)
Sat., Feb. 6 at 1 p.m.
ODETTA (Matthew Rushing)
Exodus (Rennie Harris) (DC)
Revelations (Alvin Ailey)

A Case of You by Judith Jamison
New production of the work for 2015
This duet--an excerpt from Jamison's 2005 Reminiscin'--is a "steamy, emotionally intense" (The New York Times) showstopper danced to Diana Krall's sultry rendition of the classic Joni Mitchell song of the same name.

Awakening by Robert Battle
A brand-new work in its D.C. premiere
Battle uses his taut, ritualistic style to powerful effect in a dance that expertly balances chaos and resolution, dissonance and harmony. His first new work since becoming artistic director in 2011 is set to a symphonic score by frequent collaborator John Mackey.
Blues Suite by Alvin Ailey
New production of the work for 2015
A cast of vividly drawn characters from Ailey's southern childhood is summoned to dance and revel through one long, sultry night. His first masterpiece poignantly evokes the sorrow, humor, and humanity of the blues, those heartfelt songs that he called "hymns to the secular regions of the soul."
Cry by Alvin Ailey
New production of the work for 2015
Dedicated to "all black women everywhere--especially our mothers," Alvin Ailey choreographed his signature solo Cry as a birthday present for his dignified mother. The dancer, clad in a white leotard and long ruffled skirt, brings the audience on a journey of bitter sorrow, brutal hardship, and ecstatic joy.
Exodus by Rennie Harris
A brand-new work in its D.C. premiere

Acclaimed hip-hop choreographer Rennie (Lorenzo) Harris has created an electrifying new piece called "one of the best made for Ailey in recent years" (The New York Times). Imbuing his signature house dance moves with uncommon depth, Harris explores the idea of "exodus"--from one's ignorance and conformity--as a necessary step toward enlightenment.

Night Creature by Alvin Ailey
Night Creature is a bubbly champagne cocktail of a dance, a perfect fusion of Ailey's buoyant choreography and Duke Ellington's sparkling music. At once wistful and sassy, it beckons viewers into a nocturnal world populated by jazz babies and night owls. Ellington said that "night creatures, unlike stars, do not come OUT at night­--they come ON, each thinking that, before the night is out, he or she will be the star."
No Longer Silent by Robert Battle
Company premiere of the 2007 work
A long-forgotten percussive score called "Ogelala" by Erwin Schulhoff--a Jewish composer banned in Nazi Germany--inspired this searing, large ensemble work. Featuring dancers evoking a complex and mysterious ritual, the piece shows off "a different side of Ailey" (The New York Times).

ODETTA by Matthew Rushing
Marrying soul-stirring movement with a musical repertoire encompassing blues, jazz, and spirituals, the company's own rehearsal director and guest artist Matthew Rushing pays tribute to the singer, songwriter, and Civil Rights activist anointed as "the queen of American folk music" by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Open Door by Ronald K. Brown
A brand-new work in its D.C. premiere

Renowned for his fusion of African and modern dance, Brown adds new flavor to his signature style, setting this work to recordings by Arturo O'Farrill & the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra.

Piazzolla Caldera by Paul Taylor
Company premiere of the 1997 work
Astor Piazzolla's fiery tango music sets the stage for a series of sizzling encounters--some predatory, some playful.
Revelations by Alvin Ailey
Using African American spirituals, song-sermons, gospel songs, and holy blues, Ailey's Revelations fervently explores the places of deepest grief and holiest joy in the soul. More than just a popular dance work, it has become a cultural treasure, beloved by generations of fans. Seeing Revelations for the first time or the hundredth can be a transcendent experience, with audiences cheering, singing along, and dancing in their seats from the opening notes of the plaintive "I Been 'Buked" to the rousing "Wade in the Water" and the triumphant finale, "Rocka My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham."

Watch and Listen

Exodus by Rennie Harris

Open Door by Ronald K Brown

Revelations by Alvin Ailey