The Kennedy Center

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Tuesday, February 7, 2017 - Sunday, February 12, 2017

Ballet & Contemporary Dance Contemporary Dance JFK Centennial Celebration

The much-loved company returns for its annual engagement! Its program includes both cherished favorites and newly debuted works. The Huffington Post proclaims it "a rich source of creativity and exacting expertise [that] never runs dry." . Read More.

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Robert Battle, Artistic Director
Masazumi Chaya, Associate Artistic Director

This event is part of JFKC: A Centennial Celebration of John F. Kennedy, inspired by five enduring ideals often ascribed to JFK: Courage, Freedom, Justice, Service, and Gratitude. Learn more about this event's connection to the celebration.  

Now more than ever, we need the power of dance to bring us all together, connected by our common humanity. Engage your emotions as the renowned company makes its annual Kennedy Center appearance with newly premiered works that touch on timely topics--including Hope Boykin's r-Evolution, Dream. and Kyle Abraham's Untitled America--along with beloved classics such as Revelations, the Alvin Ailey masterpiece that fervently explores the places of deepest grief and holiest joy in the soul. SEE THE FULL PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE BELOW!

LATE SEATING POLICY: Please be advised that late seating is not permitted at this event until after the first work on the program. We don't want you to miss a single minute of great dance, so please make sure to arrive early with plenty of time to find your seats, park, and make your way to the theater!


"A rich source of creativity and exacting expertise [that] never runs dry"--The Huffington Post
"Be prepared for two things: a continued devotion to tradition, but also big, refreshing surprises."--The Chicago Tribune

"Change-your-life good"--NBC's Today Show


Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has earned a reputation as one of the finest international ambassadors of American culture--even being labeled as such by a Congressional resolution. The company has a rich history with the Kennedy Center, dating back to the building's grand opening in 1971 with the world premiere of Leonard Bernstein's Mass choreographed by Alvin Ailey. Dance legend Alvin Ailey's enduring legacy lives on through the vision of Artistic Director Robert Battle, who continues to expand the company's repertory with diverse choreographers. 

DC = D.C. premiere of a new work from this season
CP = company premiere from this season
NP = a new production of the work
Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m.
The Winter in Lisbon by Billy Wilson (NP)
Walking Mad by Johan Inger (CP)
Ella by Robert Battle (DC)
Revelations by Alvin Ailey
Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 7:30 p.m.              
Deep by Mauro Bigonzetti (DC)
After the Rain Pas de Deux by Christopher Wheeldon
Untitled America by Kyle Abraham (DC)
Thursday, Feb. 9 at 7:30 p.m.
r-Evolution, Dream. by Hope Boykin (DC)
Masekela Langage by Alvin Ailey (NP)
Friday, Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
After the Rain Pas de Deux
Untitled America
Saturday, Feb. 11 matinee at 1:30 p.m.                            
The Winter in Lisbon
Awakening by Robert Battle
Free Post-Performance Discussion
Saturday, Feb. 11 at 5:30 p.m. 
Free Revelations workshop on the Millennium Stage

Saturday, Feb. 11 evening at 7:30 p.m.                             
Exodus by Rennie Harris
Walking Mad
Sunday, Feb. 12 at 1:30 p.m.
The Winter in Lisbon
r-Evolution, Dream.

Performance Timings: Approximately 2 hours, 20 minutes on Feb. 7, 9, 10; approximately 2 hours on Feb. 8, 11 (mat & eve), 12. All performances include two 15-minute intermissions.


After the Rain Pas de Deux by Christopher Wheeldon
Christopher Wheeldon's dreamlike duet--praised for its sublime simplicity and intricate partnering--is revealed in a fresh light as the Ailey dancers make it their own.
Awakening by Robert Battle
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.
Deep by Mauro Bigonzetti
Mauro Bigonzetti's elegant and soulful melding of European, American, and African cultures is set to songs by Ibeyi, twin sisters who are rising global music stars. Last seen at Ailey with 2008's Festa Barocca, Bigonzetti is known for his seamless integration of classical and modern techniques, and has been praised for his fresh and inventive sensibility.

Robert Battle brings to D.C. this rarely performed homage to Ella Fitzgerald, in celebration of the centennial of her birth. To the wild scatting of the late legendary vocalist, dancers perform a speedy array of tiny, isolated body moves--their quick, little movement syllables mirroring Ella's and then expanding into larger gestures as her vocalizations segue into words.

 by Rennie Harris

In an electrifying piece called "one of the best made for Ailey in recent years" (The New York Times), Harris imbues his signature house dance moves with uncommon depth.

Masekela Langage by Alvin Ailey
In a searing piece set to the music of Hugh Masekela, Alvin Ailey drew parallels between the era of South African apartheid and the race-induced violence of 1960s Chicago, delving into universal themes that are just as relevant today. As Hugh Masekela's driving music propels the dancers through a string of theatrical tableaus, the commanding choreography speaks of passivity, militancy, despair and defiance anywhere, at any time.
Revelations by Alvin Ailey
Using African-American spirituals, song-sermons, gospel songs, and holy blues, Alvin Ailey's masterpiece 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.  Since its premiere in 1960, the ballet has been performed continuously around the globe, transcending barriers of faith and nationality, and appealing to universal emotions, making it the most widely seen modern dance work in the world.
r-Evolution, Dream. by Hope Boykin
Longtime company member Hope Boykin has been inspired by the sermons and speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to create this large ensemble work that melds creative storytelling, new music composed by Ali Jackson (Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra), and historic and original writings with narration recorded by Tony Award winner Leslie Odom, Jr. (Hamilton).
Untitled America by Kyle Abraham
This haunting three-part work that MacArthur "genius grant" winner Kyle Abraham developed and completed over the last two years shines a light on the impact of the prison system on African-American families.
Walking Mad by Johan Inger
Johan Inger's daring contemporary take on Ravel's Bolero brings waves of emotion--first laughter, then tears--and employs a long, movable wall that can also be viewed as a symbol of the barriers people construct in their relationships.
The Winter in Lisbon by Billy Wilson
Dizzy Gillespie's brilliant music sets the tone for this sizzling ballet celebrating four decades of his work. Choreographed in 1992 by Billy Wilson, The Winter in Lisbon pays tribute to Mr. Gillespie as the consummate jazz musician, evoking an atmosphere in which the dancers challenge, tease, and pursue romance against a backdrop of rhythm and color.

Watch and Listen

Behind the Scenes: Kyle Abraham's 'Untitled America'

Behind the Scenes: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in "Walking Mad"

Behind the Scenes, Part 1: Hope Boykin's 'r-Evolution, Dream.'

Behind the Scenes: Part 2 of The Making of Mauro Bigonzetti's 'Deep'

'Revelations' by Alvin Ailey