University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center will present Ailey II, the youthful and gifted second company of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, on Friday, March 28, at 8 p.m.The
Ailey II merges the spirit and energy of 12 of today’s most talented young dancers with the passion and creative vision of outstanding emerging choreographers. The company embodies Alvin Ailey’s pioneering mission to establish an extended cultural community that provides dance performances, training and community programs for all people.
Under the artistic direction of Troy Powell, the Ailey spirit shines as this critically acclaimed company presents an exhilarating and diverse repertory of timeless classics and thrilling new works. The performance will take place in the Jemison Concert Hall of UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, 1200 10th Ave. South. Tickets are $55.50, $46.50 and $36.50. Student tickets are available for $21 with a valid student ID. For tickets, call 205-975-2787 or visit www.AlysStephens.org.
Ailey II is one of the most popular dance companies in the country, combining a rigorous touring schedule with extensive community outreach programs. After a record-breaking inaugural year as artistic director, Powell, in his second year at the helm of Ailey II, continues to bring a fresh new dimension to the company. Ailey II’s Birmingham performance will begin with rising choreographer Amy Hall Garner’s “Virtues,” a high-energy blend of contemporary modern and jazz movement, with dancers radiating regal grace, set to a vibrant score by Karl Jenkins. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Artistic Director Robert Battle’s charming duet “We” will highlight an endearing couple’s longtime relationship, set to composer Sean Jones’ tender “Love’s Lullaby.” “Rusty,” by Paris-born choreographer Benoit-Swan Pouffer, features nine dancers using ethereal movement and lush partnering to explore the experiences of young artists — the challenges they face and the relationships they build as performers.
The inspiring finale to the program will be Alvin Ailey’s signature American masterpiece “Revelations,” a suite of dances set to traditional spirituals that reflects the African-American cultural heritage — sometimes sorrowful, sometimes jubilant, but always hopeful. More people around the world have seen this work, a universal celebration of the human spirit and beloved modern dance classic, than any other since its creation in 1960.
The company welcomes six new dancers, Birmingham native Jamal White, Riccardo Battaglia, Shay Bland, Aubree Brown, Jacquelin Harris and Danica Paulos, who will join the six returning members.
The ASC has been honored to present two weeklong residency programs with the Ailey organization this season, culminating with this celebratory public performance. This is the ASC’s and ArtPlay’s first seasonlong artist collaboration. During the Revelations: An Interdisciplinary Approach residency, dancers from Ailey II and teaching artists from Ailey’s Arts In Education program worked with more than 150 students from St. Barnabas Catholic School and William J. Christian K-8 School, plus teachers from both schools, in fall 2013. Ailey II dancers will perform a free ArtPlay Meet the Artist school show, along with a brief demonstration by students who participated in the residency, for hundreds of area schoolchildren March 17, at the ASC.