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.
With LIVE MUSIC on Dec 3, 5, 6 mat & eve

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

Sep 3

Sep 4

Sep 5

Sep 6

Sep 9

Sep 10

Sep 11

Sep 12

Sep 13

Sep 16

Sep 17

Sep 18

Sep 19

Sep 20



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

38 minutes

Musical Style

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

Groups 10+

Groups can pre-order and save on tickets.
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News & Press

Alvin Ailey's 1960 modern dance masterpiece "Revelations" has been performed in 71 countries, and it reliably brings audiences to their feet, even dancing in the aisles. The combination of modern dance and spirituals creates a sense of uplift so infectious that most people leave the theater either singing the music or trying to dance the steps. Last week, they got a chance to learn those steps for real.
The voice on the phone belonged to Masazumi Chaya, the associate artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and he had a startling proposition. Would she - Elizabeth Roxas-Dobrish, 55 years old, former Ailey superstar and current artificial-hip owner - come out of retirement to dance at a special performance on New Year's Eve?
When Robert Battle, the artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, addressed the audience on opening night at New York City Center, he brought a prop along with him: a seat belt. "Next year," he joked, "we're going to sell them in the gift shop."




Before Revelations and the Ailey company, there was Horton technique, which laid the groundwork for Alvin Ailey to create the most popular modern dance work of all time. Former Ailey dancer Sarita Allen carries us through the progression of Horton and Revelations as both a personal and universal journey.
Without the Horton technique, there would be no Ailey as we know it.  Lisa Johnson-Willingham, a former member of the Ailey company who is now the Director of the Ailey Extension, discusses the dance form that serves as the foundation for some of Alvin Ailey's most revered works, including Revelations.  Discover how it can benefit your own dance or fitness routine.   Horton Classes at the Ailey Extension Learn to teach Horton at Ailey The Ailey Extension, 405 W. 55th Street (at 9th Ave)