Ailey II :

...Of Urban Intimacies

“Chocolates and chinaberry cherries melt on the highways/I don’t know what I want to do.”

Ailey Highlights

Ailey Highlights includes excerpts from five classic works (Blues Suite, The Lark Ascending, Hidden Rites, Isba, Escapades) choreographed by Alvin Ailey.

Alchemies

In Alchemies, up-and-coming choreographer Adam Barruch transforms everyday gestures – a reach, an embrace, a finger pointed skyward – into a reverie of human interactions.

Aspects of a Vibe

A fun, playful, fast-paced fusion of jazz and modern dance set to an acid jazz score by United Future Organization.

 

 

Blues Suite

With the rumble of a train and the toll of distant bells, a cast of vividly-drawn characters from the barrelhouses and fields of Alvin Ailey’s southern childhood are summoned to dance and revel through one long, sultry night. Ailey’s first masterpiece poignantly evokes the sorrow, humor and humanity of the blues, those heartfelt songs that he called “hymns to the secular regions of the soul.”

Boulevard

Company Premiere
This dynamic piece by choreographer Mina Yoo references a familiar neighborhood on the “boulevard” where young people of various cultures and backgrounds interact.

Cuore Sott’olio

In Polish choreographer Katarzyna Skarpetowska’s Cuore Sott’Olio (“heart submerged in oil”), a female figure tumbles through the memories of past relationships in a fusion of folk dance and contemporary movement.

Divining

Divining was Judith Jamison’s first major work as a choreographer for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, created in 1984 at the request of her mentor, Alvin Ailey. At its premiere, The New York Timesgave special praise to Jamison’s “invention of movement shapes and movement quality that give the piece a fascinating originality.” 

Doscongio

A solo set to two movements of Chopin's Sonata for cello and piano (op. 65), Doscongio is both fiercely focused and relaxed.

Echoes

Thang Dao’s Echoes began as a haunting depiction of the choreographer’s memories of life in Vietnam and his migration to America. This poignant ballet has grown into a deeply moving reverie that transcends personal history.

Escapades

When Escapades premiered in the United States in 1993, The New York Times called it "...breathtaking in its invention." This ballet was originally choreographed by Mr. Ailey for the Aterballetto – Centro Regionale Della Danza of Italy in 1983 and set to a score by jazz legend Max Roach. A suite of four dances, this piece tells a love story through a fluid combination of modern, jazz and ballet techniques. The central couple is continually surrounded by duets and quartets of dancers who effortlessly move in and out of earthy sensuality and graceful lyricism.

Essence

Christopher Huggins, a former Ailey company member, is now a choreographer greatly admired for his distinctively theatrical works. Essence is a tour-de-force for a female soloist, who explores a spectrum of emotions in this deeply moving portrait of self-discovery.

Fragments

Filled with sensuality and mystery, a classic sculpture comes to life in a museum.

Fragments is a full ensemble piece comprised of trios, duets, solos and group pieces, featuring music by Richard Bennett, a version of Ave Maria by Leon Tyne Price, and a narrative voice-over.

Full on Night

Love Lost, Love Found
A bittersweet journey of a young girl struggling with her mind and heart when dealing with past relationships, both positive and negative. Set to P.J. Harvey's "Is That All There Is?" and the driving sounds of Matmos.

Hidden Rites

A series of loving and warlike encounters takes place in an African village. Hidden Rites is set to the powerful score of Patrice Sciortino’s "Les Cyclopes."

"Private primordial moments of the soul."
-Alvin Ailey

This ballet is performed in excerpt in Ailey Highlights.
 

 

Hope (The Final Rise)

Ailey II Associate Artistic Director Troy Powell's latest piece, Hope (The Final Rise), is a stimulating ballet, exploring the possibility of hope and change within a group of individuals. What can we expect for the future, how can we create lasting change and how can we ensure the changes are powerful, positive statements? In his unique way, Powell focuses on individuals rising up together and alone, utilizing a dynamic musical composition by Grammy-nominee David Chesky to highlight his energetic, potent choreography.

How Small a Thought

Inspired by Steve Reich’s proverb, How Small a Thought embarks on a quest that explores simplicity throughout movement. Six dancers guide each audience member through an individual emotional journey as they express how a small thought can fill an entire life.

Intimate Voices

Inspired by Bach’s suites for cello, Intimate Voices blends simplicity and intricacy into a homogeneous set of short dances—each abstractly expressing a different feeling or state of mind.

Isba

Swirling skirts, swiveling hips and arms outstretched to heaven fill the stage for this ritualistic celebration of courtship and marriage with African tribal influences. A regal couple in virginal white is juxtaposed with tribesmen and priestesses in vivid shades of pink and teal. The choreography is upheld by George Winston's well known piano score, "Autumn." The ballet ends in a festive finale that combines balletic turns and jumps with sensuous ethnic movement.

Journey

Journey is a solo dance originally choreographed in 1958 and later incorporated into a revised version of a larger work by Trisler called Theater Piece (1960). Journey is set to The Unanswered Question by Charles Ives (1874-1954), composed some time before 1909 -- a short, intensely evocative orchestral mood-poem comprising a steady, soft background of muted strings, a persistently repeated "question" by a solo trumpet and an unsuccessful hunt for the "answer" undertaken with increasing urgency by the flutes.

Mood Indigo

Mourner's Bench

This emotional solo portrays spiritual struggle through muscular interplay between a male dancer and a bench. The work was inspired by Howard Fast’s novel Southern Landscape, and refers to the tragic influence of the Ku Klux Klan on a mixed-race community in the rural South after the Civil War. The soloist asserts himself within and against the themes of oppression and transcendence in the highly stylized, gestural vocabulary of the piece. The dancer, “sitting on the mourner’s bench,” reflects upon the end of his community and the horror of its slaughter.

Movin’ On

"“Getting through life is the hardest part of living, letting go and movin’ on.”

Poem by Langston Hughes ("Harlem"), performed by George Faison

One Forgotten Moment

Chicago native Malcolm Low is a highly-regarded rising choreographic talent.  His new work, One Forgotten Moment – set to music by Damon White, Cole Porter (Annie Lennox’s version of “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye”), and Arvo Pärt – depicts the love and loss of various relationships. 

Ordinary People

A provocative piece about the ever-changing twists and turns of power relations between a husband and wife. This poignant pas de deux features music by Powell's long time collaborator composer Michael Wimberly.

 

Point of Departure

Partnering throughout the piece, a husband and wife couple demonstrates mounting domestic tension to an increasingly percussive score. Titled Point of Departure because the ballet marks a break or pause in their relationship, the pair exhibits a strong love which foreshadows future reunion.

Prayer in Discord

Prayer in Discord is a work of spiritual transformation and psychological drama. Each dancer’s movement is an expression of and a reaction to a human dilemma, such as the need for identity, reason for existence and questioning final destination through prayer. The absence of harmony reflects an emotional yearning which the ballet resolves through myth, ritual, symbolism and direct experience.

 



 

Proximity

Carlos dos Santos’ new ballet explores the dynamics of relationships between four strangers and the natural energetic shifts and differences between them.

Quintet

Choreographed in 1968 to the timeless songs of Laura Nyro, Quintet was thematically the first of its kind created by Alvin Ailey. As his biographer Jennifer Dunning of The New York Times wrote, “Quintet is in its way a small masterwork and one that differed significantly from other Ailey signature works before it."

Reference Point

World Premiere
Artistic Director Troy Powell delivers a cutting-edge piece that combines ballet, jazz, and contemporary dance set to music by Mio Morales.

Revelations

Using African-American spirituals, song-sermons, gospel songs and holy blues--this suite fervently explores the places of deepest grief and holiest joy in the soul.

Rusty

Paris-born choreographer Benoit-Swan Pouffer, a former member of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the former artistic director of Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, brings a European sensibility to Ailey II’s repertory with this new work.

Sensory Feast

Francesca Harper's new work for Ailey II uses the possibilities of group work to reflect our inner selves. An innovative set involving mirrors furthers the journey into self-introspection.

 


 

Shards

Donald Byrd’s Shards is a skillfully crafted work, which showcases his eclectic and complex choreography. Set to music by Mio Morales, Byrd expertly combines passion and formality in this ballet, creating the perfect vehicle for the stunning Ailey II dancers.

Splendid Isolation II ("The Calling")

This elegant solo, originally part of Jessica Lang’s longer work Splendid Isolation II, returns in a new production.  To haunting choral music (“O Maria, Stella Maris” performed by Trio Mediaeval), a woman stands enveloped in a long, flowing skirt that fills the stage. 

Streams

Alvin Ailey’s highly structured yet fluid compilation of stunning solos, duets and group work which reflects the formal, meditative mood of Miloslav Kabelac’s music.

Takademe

The complex, tightly woven rhythms of Indian Kathak dance are deconstructed and abstracted in this percussive, fast-paced work.

The Corner

Set to music by Donny Hathaway, Frederic Chopin, and rapper Common, Kyle Abraham’s The Corner blends contemporary hip-hop and post-modern movement with several nods to classical ballet, dramatically depicting an urban social interaction that recreates life on ‘the corner.’

The External Knot

This modern work by Ailey II Artistic Director Troy Powell follows the journey of a young man and his internal battle to assert his independence from others.  A fluid series of solos, duets, and ensemble sections build to a climax with transporting music by Philip Glass and Robert Schumann. 

The Hunt

Artistic Director Robert Battle’s athletic work for six men reveals the predatory side of human nature and the primitive thrill of the hunt.

The Lark Ascending

To Vaughan Williams, with an intense love of the English countryside that he knew in his youth, the lark represented the heart’s rapture and the soul’s aspiration. A miniature violin concerto in all but name, the composer called "The Lark Ascending" a "romance" when he completed it in 1920, though he commenced the composition before war broke out in 1914.

This ballet is performed in excerpt in Ailey Highlights.
 

The Legacy of Inheritance

World Premiere
Paired with music by Zoe Keating and Stars of the Lid, Stefanie Batten Bland’s The Legacy of Inheritance fuses European and American styles into a contemplative exploration of bodies in motion alongside the powers of nature.

The Tyner Project

Continuing the long tradition of collaborations between Ailey choreographers and legendary jazz musicians, Ailey II resident choreographer Troy Powell joins renowned pianist McCoy Tyner in a passionate exchange of movement and music. Originally commissioned for the Verizon Music Festival, The Tyner Project features lighthearted ensemble sections, a sensual pas de deux and an energetic full-company finale all developed in close collaboration with the McCoy Tyner Band.

Valse

With an intense physicality the work is rich with lush, spiraling duets that move seamlessly throughout the piece.

Virtues

Amy Hall Garner is emerging as one of America's most diverse creative talents, with a career that spans from Broadway to ballet. In her new work,  set to a vibrant score by Karl Jenkins, Garner delivers high energy with a sophisticated edge.

We

The charming duet We, by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Artistic Director Robert Battle, depicts a seasoned relationship between a couple.

When Dawn Comes...

The grace of a woman searching, tomorrow’s ground is uncertain. What happens when dawn comes? As a dancer, teacher and choreographer Christopher L. Huggins has worked in five European countries, Japan and throughout the U.S. Described by the Village Voice as “a precise, aggressive style”, Huggins’ choreography draws the audience in and keeps them wanting more. When Dawn Comes…was choreographed especially for Ailey II and is boldly set to the music of Jeff Story and Rachel Grimes.

Wings

What if there were angels moving among us on earth? Rising choreographer Jennifer Archibald explores this intriguing possibility in her new work, Wings -- an unabashedly emotional portrayal of interactions between angels and humans. Set to an ambient score by veteran dance composer Michael Wall, Archibald’s movement is ferocious yet vulnerable, showcasing both the dancers’ athletic prowess and raw honesty.