Dance Performances - Memoria

About Memoria


Alvin Ailey’s Memoria is a deeply personal work and one of his most affecting.  Mr. Ailey said that nearly all of his dances had some basis in a relationship, feeling or event that he experienced.  In the case of Memoria, choreographed in 1979, his motivation was the death of his dear friend and colleague, Joyce Trisler.

He dedicated the ballet “to the joy…the beauty…the creativity…and the wild spirit of my friend” and set it to the sublime music of jazz pianist Keith Jarrett. It “has the beating heart that made the man and his company American treasures,” praised The New York Times.

Ailey admitted that creating Memoria was a wrenching experience for him, and the pain of his loss is evident in the ballet’s first section, “In Memory,” in which a solo woman is often isolated even while surrounded by couples and two male attendants. Yet the mood of the second section, “In Celebration,” transcends that sorrow, ending in a joyous emotional crescendo.

Funds for this production were provided, in part, by Ford Foundation.

The creation of this work was made possible, in part,
with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts.

Performance Schedule & Tickets

There are no upcoming performances for this repertory piece.



Keith Jarrett ("Runes" and "Solara March")


A. Christina Giannini


Chenault Spence

First Performance

New York City Center, November 29, 1979, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Run Time

26 minutes

Groups 10+

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News & Press

Bill T. Jones choreographed "D-Man in the Waters" in 1989, when the mortal danger of AIDS was at a high tide. The work celebrates the buoyant spirit of the dancers Demian Acquavella, who had AIDS and died the following year, but swimming in its waters are many others, including Mr. Jones's partner, Arnie Zane, who had died the previous year.
Alvin Ailey wrote: “It’s interesting how my personal relationships affect my creativity. It seems as though nearly all of my dances have some basis in an event or a feeling I’ve had that I can usually trace.”
(1979)   In Memory - In Celebration   Choreographer: Alvin Ailey Music: Keith Jarrett   In the tumultuous time of 1979 when Mr. Ailey's great, perennial friend from his Lester Horton days, the choreographer Joyce Trisler, died...