Dance Performances - Revelations

About Revelations


Using African-American spirituals, song-sermons, gospel songs and holy blues, Alvin Ailey’s Revelations 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.  Seeing Revelations for the first time or the hundredth can be a transcendent experience, with audiences cheering, singing along and dancing in their seats from the opening notes of the plaintive “I Been ’Buked” to the rousing “Wade in the Water” and the triumphant finale, “Rocka My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham.”

Ailey said that one of America’s richest treasures was the African-American cultural heritage —“sometimes sorrowful, sometimes jubilant, but always hopeful.” This enduring classic is a tribute to that tradition, born out of the choreographer’s “blood memories” of his childhood in rural Texas and the Baptist Church. But 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.

50 Years in Pictures - A Historical Timeline of Revelations
Watch a short film celebrating Revelations at 50

“Every American owes it to him or herself to see the Ailey [company] perform Revelations. It is an American phenomenon. I’ve probably seen it countless times and every time it’s magical and spiritual and hopeful - everything that we want ourselves to be and hope that our country will be.”  - Oprah Winfrey on Entertainment Tonight, 12/4/08

All performances of Revelations are permanently endowed by a generous gift from Donald L. Jonas in celebration of the birthday of his wife Barbara and her deep commitment to Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

I Been 'Buked - Music arranged by Hall Johnson*
Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel - Music arranged by James Miller+   
Fix Me, Jesus - Music arranged by Hall Johnson*

Processional/Honor, Honor - Music adapted and arranged by Howard A. Roberts
Wade in the Water - Music adapted and arranged by Howard A. Roberts    
"Wade in the Water" sequence by Ella Jenkins  / "A Man Went Down to the River" is an original composition by Ella Jenkins
I Wanna Be Ready - Music arranged by James Miller+

Sinner Man - Music adapted and arranged by Howard A. Roberts    
The Day is Past and Gone - Music arranged by Howard A. Roberts and Brother John Sellers
You May Run On - Music arranged by Howard A. Roberts and Brother John Sellers
Rocka My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham - Music adapted and arranged by Howard A. Roberts

* Used by arrangement with G. Schirmer, Inc., publisher and copyright owner.
+ Used by special arrangement with Galaxy Music Corporation, New York City.


Performance Schedule & Tickets

May 6

May 7

May 8

Jun 8

Jun 10

Jun 11

Jun 12

Jun 14

Jun 15

Jun 16

Jun 18

Jun 19



Various artists (see below)


Costumes for Rocka My Soul section redesigned by Barbara Forbes

Décor & Costumes

Original décor and costumes by Lawrence Maldonado; Revival décor and costumes by Ves Harper


Nicola Cernovitch

First Performance

New York, Kaufman Concert Hall, 92nd Street YM-YWHM. January 31, 1960. AAADT

Run Time

36 minutes

Musical Style

Listen to the songs featured in Alvin Ailey's Revelations:

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News & Press

The famed Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is on tour, and they will be stopping at the Fox Theatre next week for an extended stay. From Feb. 10 to 14, the company will perform a collection of pieces and end each show with "Revelations," a celebrated piece by Alvin Ailey.
"It's pretty clear that there's a love affair between audiences and 'Revelations'," choreographer Alvin Ailey wrote in his autobiography, speaking of the work that would become the signature of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. He was not overstating the case.
Anna Gilligan hit the dance floor for a class on 'Revelations,' the signature choreographic work of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.


Ailey artistic director Robert Battle, dancers Hope Boykin and Rachael McLaren, rehearsal director/guest artist Matthew Rushing, and guest artist Alicia Graf Mack discuss what Mr. Ailey's masterpiece, "Revelations" means to them.

Footage from the "Lincoln Center at the Movies: Great American Dance" film series. For more information, please visit