The Kennedy Center


Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Tuesday, February 6, 2018 - Sunday, February 11, 2018

Ballet & Contemporary Dance

Now more than ever, the world needs the power of dance to bring people together and connect us all by our common humanity. For its annual Kennedy Center engagement, the beloved company will continue to push the art form into fascinating new territory, with multiple programs as unique and phenomenal as the Ailey dancers themselves.

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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Robert Battle, Artistic Director
Masazumi Chaya, Associate Artistic Director
"An impressive spectrum of works push the company forward while keeping it firmly anchored in its celebrated past"--The New York Times
Now more than ever, the world needs the power of dance to bring people together and connect us all by our common humanity. For its 2017 engagement, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater delivered on this promise--exploring everything from apartheid and race relations to celebrating influential musicians like Dizzy Gillespie and Ella Fitzgerald. For its annual Kennedy Center engagement in 2018, the beloved company will continue to push the art form into fascinating new territory, with multiple programs as unique and phenomenal as the Ailey dancers themselves.
One thing's for sure: their future couldn't be brighter. "We must continue to grow and speak to the human spirit," says Artistic Director Robert Battle. "The notion that one is only limited by one's own imagination--that anything is possible--is what we represent. The tension between our past, present, and future is what I want to build on." To that end, the company keeps expanding its repertory, with its most recent Kennedy Center performances featuring new works from choreographers as diverse as Mauro Bigonzetti, Hope Boykin, and Kyle Abraham. Signature classics also keep bringing audiences back, including Alvin Ailey's masterpiece of hope and redemption, Revelations.
Feb. 10 matinee: Free post-performance discussion
Feb. 10 at 5:30 p.m.: Free Revelations workshop on the Millennium Stage

Subject to change.

Performance Timings: All programs listed below run approximately 2 hours, including two 15-minute intermissions.

DC = D.C. premiere of a new work from this season
CP = company premiere from this season
NP = a new production of the work

Tue., Feb. 6 at 7 p.m.
The Golden Section by Twyla Tharp (NP)
Members Don’t Get Weary by Jamar Roberts (DC)
Revelations by Alvin Ailey

Wed., Feb. 7 at 7:30 p.m.
Stack-Up by Talley Beatty (NP)
Victoria by Gustavo Ramírez Sansano (DC)
Ella by Robert Battle

Thu., Feb. 8 at 7:30 p.m.
Mass by Robert Battle
Shelter by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar (NP)
The Hunt by Robert Battle

Fri., Feb. 9 at 7:30 p.m.
The Golden Section
Members Don’t Get Weary
by Robert Battle

Sat., Feb. 10 at 1:30 p.m.
The Hunt

Sat., Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
The Golden Section
Members Don’t Get Weary


Sun., Feb. 11 at 1:30 p.m.




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.

The Golden Section by Twyla Tharp 
The Golden Section by Tony Award®-winning choreographer Twyla Tharp is a sizzling work set to a propulsive score by David Byrne. The work shatters the limits of human physicality with breathtaking leaps, finely-honed partnering, and explosive joy.

The Hunt by Robert Battle
The thrill of the chase has never been more intense than in Robert Battle’s dance for six men. The Hunt is a primal ritual with a distinctly urban feel fueled by a thundering percussion soundtrack by Les Tambours du Bronx. Perhaps Battle’s most popular work, it explores the relationship between modern sports and the rites of the gladiators.

Mass by Robert Battle
Mass features a score by John Mackey, who has collaborated on multiple occasions with Robert Battle—including his 2015 world premiere Awakening. Commissioned for The Julliard School in 2004, the movement in this work showcases Mr. Battle’s signature ritualistic choreography.

Members Don’t Get Weary by Jamar Roberts
Longtime Ailey dancer and recent “Bessie” Award winner Jamar Roberts makes his choreographic debut on the Company in this world premiere inspired by the blues. Roberts says, “As a response to the current social landscape in America, Members Don’t Get Weary takes an abstract look into the notion of one "having the blues.'" Set to the powerful music of the legendary American jazz saxophonist and composer John Coltrane, the work uses the dancing body to inspire the audience, allowing them to momentarily transcend their own personal blues.

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.

Shelter by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar
Originally performed by the Ailey company in 1992, Zollar’s Shelter is a passionate statement about the physical and emotional deprivation of homeless people. Set to an inventive score which incorporates drumming by Junior "Gabu" Wedderburn and poetry by Hattie Gossett and Laurie Carlos, Shelter delivers the compelling message that the poverty of individuals will inevitably lead to the destitution of all humanity.

Stack-Up by Talley Beatty
Set to the background of vibrant 1970s beats (Earth, Wind and Fire, Grover Washington Jr., Fearless Four, and Alphonze Mouzon) and a graffiti landscape, patrons in a crowded disco dance with attitude, sass, and fierce despair. Inspired by Los Angeles’ urban landscape and the lives of its disparate inhabitants, the work depicts the emotional “traffic” in a community that is stacked on top of each other.

Victoria by Gustavo Ramírez Sansano         
Gustavo Ramírez Sansano’s work is hailed for its singularity and expressionism and has appeared on companies around the world. Set to award-winning composer Michael Gordon’s adaptation of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, Victoria—Sansano’s first work for Ailey—features his signature whimsy, theatricality, and physicality.

In/Side by Robert Battle
Set to Nina Simone’s haunting rendition of the Oscar®-nominated song “Wild is the Wind," In/Side offers audiences an intimate look at a man’s most private struggles. Artistic Director and choreographer Robert Battle noted that it was Alvin Ailey himself who said that the greatest works of art are the most personal. With this solo, he aimed to evoke a sense of openness that he says “reminds us that we’re not alone in our feelings of sadness and isolation and gives us a connection to someone else.”

Dancer Samuel Lee Roberts, for whom Battle created the work, described it as “one of the most exhilarating, exhausting, and frightening things I have ever done. I had never had to be so completely vulnerable in such a public space.” But that honesty and expressiveness are what draw both dancers and audiences to Battle’s works. “The thing I love most about performing his work is the way the drama drives the dance,” explained Roberts. “It’s never just steps and shapes.”

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