Jacquelin Harris and Megan Jakel in Robert Battle’s Ella. Photo by Christopher Duggan.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returns by popular demand to the Arsht Center on Thursday, Feb. 23 through Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017. Ailey is showcasing a collection of diverse works that shine a spotlight on social issues, celebrating the birth centennials of jazz legends Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie, and presenting the virtuosity of Ailey’s 32 renowned dancers.
“Now more than ever, I’m proud to use the power of dance to unite and inspire people in my hometown, just as Alvin Ailey’s “Revelations” lifted me up as a young student and changed my life,” stated Artistic Director and Miami native, Robert Battle. “Fellow Miamian Jamar Roberts and all of Ailey’s renowned dancers will move audiences with premieres that hold up a mirror to society and our common humanity. We will also revel in the marriage of America’s two great art forms – modern dance and jazz – with an ‘Ailey Jazz’ program bringing to life the music of legends Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, and Ella Fitzgerald. ”
In “Untitled America” (World Premiere) MacArthur “Genius” Kyle Abraham’s completed three-part suite shines a light on the impact of the prison system on African American families. Veteran Ailey company member Hope Boykin’s “r-Evolution, Dream”., (World Premiere) was inspired by the sermons and speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to create this large ensemble work melding creative storytelling, new music composed by Ali Jackson (Jazz at Lincoln Center), and historic and original writings narrated by Tony Award winner Leslie Odom, Jr. (Hamilton). During “Deep”, (2016 Season World Premiere) Italian choreographer Mauro Bigonzetti’s soulful ensemble world premiere is set to the music by rising global music stars Ibeyi. “Walking Mad” (Company Premiere) (2001) by revered Swedish choreographer Johan Inger’s is a daring contemporary take on Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero”, which imaginatively employs a long, movable wall that can also be viewed as a symbol of the barriers people construct in their relationships.
“Ella” (Company Premiere) (2008) is Robert Battle’s tour-du-force duet that celebrates the centennial of legendary Ella Fitzgerald’s birth set to her virtuosic scatting in the song “Airmail Special.” Restaged for the centennial of Dizzy Gillespie’s birth, Billy Wilson’s “The Winter in Lisbon” (2016 New Production) (1992) is a tribute to the consummate jazz musician that evokes an atmosphere in which the dancers challenge, tease and romance against a backdrop of rhythm, color and four decades of his brilliant music. “Revelations” (1960) is Alvin Ailey’s American masterpiece acclaimed as a must-see and recognized by U.S. Senate resolution. This performance provides the inspiring grand finale.
Thursday, Feb. 23, 8 p.m. — Deep, Walking Mad, Ella and Revelations
Friday, Feb. 24, 8 p.m. — Night Creature, In/Side, Untitled America, Ella and Revelations
Saturday, Feb. 25, 2 p.m. – Family Matinee — (followed by Q&A with Ailey dancers). The Winter in Lisbon, r-Evolution, Dream., Ella and Revelations
Saturday, Feb. 25, 8 p.m. – Deep, Walking Mad and Ella, Revelations
Sunday, Feb. 26, 2 p.m. — The Winter in Lisbon, r-Evolution, Dream., Ella and Revelations
Tickets start at $29. Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, Ziff Ballet Opera House, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, Fla. (305) 949.6722, www.arshtcenter.org.