Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater completes its coast-to-coast North American tour at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) Friday to Sunday, May 6-8.
Ailey’s dancers will celebrate Artistic Director Robert Battle’s 10th anniversary, along with a diverse repertory of premieres, timeless favorites, and Ailey’s must-see American masterpiece Revelations.
This marks the 23rd time Ailey graces the NJPAC stage; the last performance was in 2019 due to the 2020-21 pandemic shutdown.
“Alvin Ailey’s vision opened the door for generations of artists to use dance to inspire, unite, and enlighten,” Battle said. “Despite the twists and turns on the road we have all traveled together, it is exciting to be returning to our Newark home while finding new ways to share artistry that renews our spirit of courage, hope, and joy. I am deeply humbled to have led this seminal company for a decade, joined by incomparable dancers and choreographers on a journey of discovery that extends from the powerful works of our founder to the important voices of today – an ongoing dance dialogue that shines a light on the strength and resilience of our common humanity around the world.”
The NJPAC homecoming engagement opens on Friday, May 6, at 8 p.m. with a Battle 10th Anniversary Program celebrating Battle’s visionary leadership over the past 10 years that has moved the company forward into a seventh decade. Battle’s featured works are the New Jersey premiere of For Four, which captures the pent-up energy of a world cooped up during the pandemic set to a Wynton Marsalis jazz score written in 4/4 time, along with a new production of Battle’s duet Unfold, evoking the tenderness and ecstasy in Gustave Charpentier’s aria “Depuis Le Jour” sung by Leontyne Price. Signature works will be performed like Ella, In/Side, Love Stories finale, Mass, and Takademe. Battle 10th Anniversary program repeats on Sunday, May 8, at the 3 p.m. matinee on Mother’s Day.
The program on Saturday, May 7 at 8 p.m. features two New Jersey premieres: Aszure Barton’s BUSK and Ailey Resident Choreographer Jamar Roberts’ Holding Space, translated from film to the stage this season. Holding Space examines the ways in which we can collectively accommodate one another to better traverse this new and unprecedented terrain. In BUSK, internationally renowned choreographer Aszure Barton invites us to enjoy the fragility, tenderness, and resilience that exist within the human experience. Set to a spirited score, BUSK has been described as watching the physical unfurling of the human psyche.
The finale of all performances is Alvin Ailey’s American masterpiece Revelations, created in 1960, which has inspired generations through its powerful storytelling and soul-stirring spirituals. Since its debut in 1960, Revelations has been seen by more people than any other modern dance work and has moved audiences through its storytelling and music, evoking timeless themes of determination, hope, and transcendence. Springing from Ailey’s childhood memories of growing up in the south and attending services at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Texas, Revelations pays homage to the rich cultural heritage of the African- American and explores the emotional spectrum of the human condition.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater @ NJPAC
Fri., May 6 at 8 p.m.: Battle 10th Anniversary: Mass, In/Side, Ella/For Four, Unfold, Takademe, Love Stories finale/Revelations
Sat., May 7 at 8 p.m.: New Jersey Premieres: Holding Space/BUSK/Revelations
Sun., May 8 at 3 p.m.: Battle 10th Anniversary: Mass, In/Side, Ella/For Four, Unfold, Takademe, Love Stories finale/Revelations
Tickets available at www.NJPAC.org or the Box Office 888-GO-NJPAC (888-466-5722)
NJPAC is located at Prudential Hall, 1 Center St., Newark.