Alvin Ailey revolutionized the world of dance by honoring the African American experience, but his journey was not without its struggles. Continue reading
Ulysses Dove proclaiming a thoroughly exhilarating vision of female power and strength in Vespers. Inspired by Dove’s memories of his grandmother’s place of worship, this dramatic work showcases the athleticism and grace of six female dancers who are propelled by Mikel Rouse’s profound electronic score. Continue reading
By Walter Rutledge
On August 18 and 19 the Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center (THPAC) began two days of interviews with dancers, choreographers and directors about their experiences with Thelma Hill and THPAC for the upcoming documentary To The Souls of Our Feet. The two days of filming captured the experiences of six artists, (George Faison, Alfred Gallman, Dyane Harvey Salaam, Abdel Salaam, Edisa Weeks, Jill Williams and Lakai Worrell), who lives and careers were directly impacted by Ms. Hill and/or THPAC.
THPAC Documentary Preview
Here is an excerpted from the upcoming documentary with the one and only dance and theater legend George Faison. The final filming will take place in the fall and we will keep you inform as our documentary “To The Souls of Our Feet” get one step closer to coming to a theater near you. For more information about the Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center and/or to make a donation to the “To The Souls of Our Feet” documentary project visit https://www.thelmahill.org/. An additional filming date will take place later in the fall.
Dancer and choreographer Alvin Ailey revolutionized the world of dance by honoring the African American experience. Unfortunately his personal journey was not without its struggles.
Donald McKayle’s 1959 masterwork, Rainbow Round My Shoulder, is acclaimed as a modern dance classic. A searing dramatic narrative, it is set on a chain gang in the American south where prisoners work, breaking rock from “can see to can’t see.” Their aspirations for freedom come in the guise of a woman, first as a vision then as a remembered sweetheart, mother, and wife. The songs that accompany their arduous labor are rich in polyphony and tell a bitter, sardonic, and tragic story. It was created for the Donald McKayle Dance Company, and has been in the repertoire of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Batsheva Dance Company and Dayton Contemporary Dance, among others. The cast in the video excerpt includes Donald McKayle and Mary Hinkson. Continue reading
Keith Lee describes his early Harkness experiences as a story book tale. While a student at the High School for the Performing Arts (aka Fame High) this dance phenom received a full scholarship to the Harkness House for Ballet Arts. This experience had a lasting impact and helped shape his own unique artistry as a dance, director, teacher and choreographer. In 1970 Lee made history when he became the first American of African descent to earn soloist status at American Ballet Theater.
By Walter Rutledge
Clive Thompson danced in the Golden Era of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Officially becoming a permanent member in 1970 when choreographer Ailey was entering a creative zenith. He viral good looks, skillful partnering, and his ability to capture audiences in both dramatic and abstract roles made him Ailey royalty. Continue reading
Alvin Ailey’s masterwork Revelations (1960), one of the most recognizable modern dance works, remains a powerful testament to the human spirit. This cast includes Marilyn Banks, April Berry, Kevin Brown, Gary DeLoatch, Ralph Glenmore, Deborah Manning, Renee Robinson and Dudley Williams.
As special holiday gift from the Ailey company to you, watch the Opening Night Gala now through Dec 28. The performance honors you, our audience, our inspiration. Happy Holidays! Featuring: Robert Battle’s ‘Ella’(performed to live music by Jazzmeia Horne) and the finale of Love Stories,’ plus Bird’ Lives!, an excerpt from Alvin Ailey’s For Bird’ – With Love featuring Company member Clifton Brown with students from The Ailey School, and Mr. Ailey’s beloved Revelations. Continue reading
By Walter Rutledge
There is only one George Faison! Dancer, choreographer, teacher, director, playwright, social activist, entrepreneur and friend. George has been one of my inspirations and artistic standard bearers for most of my career. In 2017 the Ailey American Dance Theater presented an excerpt of Suite Otis, his iconic tribute to Otis Redding. Faison sat down to talk about this masterwork, experiences in the Ailey Company and his arts aesthetic. Happy Birthday George.
The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will present an excerpt of George Faison’s masterwork Suite Otis at their New York City Center season opening night gala, Wednesday, November 29 2017. Choreographed in 1971 for the George Faison Universal Dance Experience the work joined the Ailey repertoire in 1977. 40 years after it’s Ailey debut Suite Otis continues to excite and entertain audiences with verve, aplomb, fleet footed technique and imaginative Euclidean storytelling.
The company will perform the finale section set to Otis Redding’s Tenderness. The full cast section reintroduces the dancers creating a visually exciting yet compelling epilog. Throughout the work Faison (the imperial storyteller) does what every choreographer should do- invites us into his vision and delivers with clarity, focus and impeccable choreographic timing.
Balletomanes still long for the return of old fashion honest storytelling- the hallmark of Ailey’s original company. In Suite Otis Faison’s articulate use of the dance narrative genre captures the majesty and universal humanity of both Otis Redding’s music and the black dance experience. This gave him a voice in an era when Black American dance and culture had started to becoming a global force.
Suite Otis- George Faison
What Faison did (and continues to do) is to keep the dance/theatre aesthetic in the forefront of the arts conversation. Tenderness will be performed for one performance only on Wednesday, November 29 for tickets and a complete schedule of the five-week New York City season visit ailey.org.