UAB’s Alys Stephens Center, ArtPlay present Ailey Revelations residency

The ASC and ArtPlay will present their first season-long artist collaboration, which begins with an Ailey Revelations Residency Oct. 7-11 for middle school students and teachers.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center and ArtPlay, the ASC’s home for arts education, will present their first season-long artist collaboration beginning this fall. A five-day residency with the Ailey organization’s Arts In Education program, Revelations: An Interdisciplinary Approach, will be held for Birmingham-area middle school students Oct. 7-11, 2013, and will continue through the winter with study assignments from the company.

Photo: Belinda LawleyPhoto: Belinda Lawley This innovative, curriculum-based initiative for public school students utilizes Alvin Ailey’s Revelations as the inspirational framework for an in-depth study of language arts, social studies and dance.  The culmination of the program in March will be marked by a visit from Ailey II, the youthful and gifted second company of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, with a Meet the Artist school show on March 17, 2014, as well as a public performance on March 28.

Ailey Arts In Education Master Teacher Nasha Thomas Schmitt, a former company member, will conduct the Revelations Residency that is organized through Opus 3, the ASC and ArtPlay. The residency will feature Ailey Arts In Education Teaching Artist Noibis Licea and musician Matthew Hill. This is the first international touring company to be in residence at ArtPlay. 

Photo: Manny HernandezPhoto: Manny Hernandez  “I am thrilled for UAB’s Alys Stephens Center and ArtPlay to have this kind of collaborative relationship with the esteemed and world-renowned Ailey II Company,” said Theresa Harper Bruno, chair of the ASC Corporate Board. “This residency will be an invaluable experience for local students and educators, offering unparalleled opportunities for learning, growth and development. Providing programs like this for the community is one of the reasons ArtPlay exists, and it helps fulfill the ASC’s mission of making the arts available to everyone.”

At least 150 students from St. Barnabas Catholic School and William J. Christian K-8 School, plus teachers from both schools, will participate. Students will be in session with the Ailey artists for 90 minutes each day Tuesday through Friday. On the first day, ArtPlay teaching artists and teachers will participate in development workshops with the Ailey artists as part of the residency.

Created in 1999, the Revelations program engages students’ analytic and creative thinking skills while exploring the life story of Alvin Ailey and “Revelations,” Ailey’s beloved 1960 masterpiece. Students connect this story to their academic studies, life experiences and community, as well as to the broader world around them using customized lesson plans designed by the Ailey teaching artists. From November through March, local ArtPlay teaching artists and participating school teachers will continue to work with the student group monthly to prepare them for Ailey II’s arrival and their final presentation in the spring.

Ailey II dancers will visit the ASC for a Meet the Artist school show, free for area students, on March 17, 2014, at the ASC, 1200 10th Ave. South. ArtPlay residency students will hold their final presentation later that day for their teachers and peers.  As part of the ASC’s 2014 winter/spring season, all 12 Ailey II company members will return to perform for the general public on March 28, 2014. Tickets will go on sale later this fall; call 205-975-2787 or visit for more information.