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, a state agency.