By Deborah Wilker
City & Shore Magazine
Known for its stirring choreography and some of the most inventive dancers in the world, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returns to South Florida this month with the premiere of r-Evolution, Dream (a piece by longtime company member Hope Boykin), as well as new music by Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Ali Jackson, and even a contribution from Hamilton’s Leslie Odom, Jr., whose writing and narration is included in the program.
Recognized by Congress for the unique manner in which it promotes African-American culture and preserves the American art form of modern dance, the New York-based Ailey has strong ties to South Florida. Artistic Director Robert Battle (only the third director in the Ailey’s 59-year history), grew up in Miami and is a graduate of the New World School of the Arts. Principal dancer Jamar Roberts is also a lifelong Miamian and New World grad.
The company’s Miami stop (Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Feb. 23-26) coincides with Black History Month and will include a special daytime performance just for school children. Choreographer Boykin says she was inspired to create r-Evolution, Dream after immersing herself in the sermons and speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., while on tour recently.
Founded in 1958 by choreographer and activist Alvin Ailey, the company has long been a creative platform for social change. Battle says all of the company’s new works premiering this season “continue to hold a mirror to society.” Ailey’s personal masterpiece Revelations, which will be performed here as well, is the world’s most widely seen modern dance piece.
Of the Ailey’s longevity and appeal to multiple generations, Battle says it is the “reflection of possibilities” depicted on stage that keeps the company relevant.
The Alvin Ailey also performs at The Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach on Feb. 28. For additional information visit alvinailey.org.