Artistic Director Robert Battle Announces Highlights To Ailey’s Lincoln Center Season

Artistic Director Robert Battle announces a variety of exciting happenings in connection with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Lincoln Center season at the David H. Koch Theater June 14 – 18, 2017.  In addition to three diverse programs featuring recent favorites and the company premiere of Battle’s Mass, the season will include an array of uplifting activities for all ages, the return of acclaimed dancer Clifton Brown, and a special Ailey Spirit Gala performance of Moonlight x Ailey.

The engagement opens on Wednesday, June 14 with a FREE Jazz Dance Class on the Josie Robertson Plaza at 6 pm.Ailey Extension instructor Jeffrey Bynum will teach a heart-pumping outdoor class for all ages and levels, sure to get participants excited for the jazz-infused Musical Inspirations performance at 7:30pm (see page 2 for programming details). This public event also kicks off NYC Dance Week (June 15 – 24), a citywide celebration during which Ailey Extension will offer three FREE dance and fitness classes each day for new students.

Ailey’s opening also marks the return of renowned dancer Clifton Brown to the Ailey stage. Brown became known as a virtuoso during his time in the Company (1999-2011), earning critical praise and a New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award. Upon returning to the company, he will dazzle with his inimitable range, starting with iconic roles in Alvin Ailey’s masterpiece Revelations, which closes each program.  Brown’s grace and versatility will be on full display from his lyricism and depth taking center stage in “I Wanna Be Ready,” to his dynamism and prowess leaving audiences breathless in “Sinner Man.”

On Thursday, June 15, the Ailey Spirit Gala benefit brings together all parts of the organization with performances by young AileyCampers, talented students from The Ailey School, rising stars of Ailey II, and the incomparable members of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Guests will be treated to a one-time-only live performance of Moonlight x Ailey, an homage to the Oscar-winning film Moonlight, choreographed by Robert Battle to Nicholas Britell’s evocative score. The dance film short features Ailey dancer Jamar Roberts and The Ailey School students Christopher Taylor and Jeremy T. Villas.  Following a rousing Revelations finale featuring an expanded cast, a festive soirée takes place on the promenade. The Ailey Spirit Gala honors Stephen J. Meringoff, Vice Chair of Ailey’s Board of Trustees, and Gala Co-Chairs are Lynne and Anthony M. Carvette, Almaz and Marc S. Strachan, and Daria L. and Eric J. Wallach. Tickets are available at alvinailey.org/ailey-spirit-gala or by calling 212-405-9031.

Other special events this season include weekend matinees that are perfect for bringing the family together to experience the magic of Ailey. The 2pm Family Matinee on Saturday, June 17 is followed by a special Q&A session with the dancers, and the season culminates with Father’s Day performances at 3pm and 7:30pm on Sunday, June 18, 2017.

Throughout the engagement, audiences have the opportunity to see the versatility of the Ailey dancers on three exciting programs. Musical Inspirations (6/14 eve, 6/17 mat) features two works celebrating jazz legends during their centennials – Battle’s Ella, set to Ella Fitzgerald’s scatting, and Billy Wilson’s The Winter in Libson, a rhythmic and colorful celebration of Dizzy Gillespie – as well as the company premiere of Battle’s Mass, an ensemble work set to a score by John Mackey performed by six percussionists onstage. Global Voices (6/16 & 6/18 eve) features Mauro Bigonzetti’s Deep, set to the soulful music of rising global stars Ibeyi; and Johan Inger’s Walking Mad, a daring take on Maurice Ravel’s Boléro. The Bold Visions (6/17 eve, 6/18 mat) program features Ailey dancer Hope Boykin’s r-Evolution, Dream., inspired by the speeches and sermons of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., set to new music by Ali Jackson (Jazz at Lincoln Center) and narration by Tony Award winner Leslie Odom, Jr. (Hamilton); and MacArthur “Genius” Kyle Abraham’s Untitled America, about the impact of incarceration on African-American families.

Click here for the complete Lincoln Center season programming announcement.

Tickets for the Lincoln Center engagement starting at $25 are on sale now at the David H. Koch Box Office, by phone at 212-496-0600, and online at www.alvinailey.org.  For further information about discounts for groups, students, and Ailey’s tour performances, please visit www.alvinailey.org

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