Atlantans celebrate Black History Month with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Photo by Andrew Eccles

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is embracing it’s 41-year history with Atlanta by presenting six breathtaking Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performances at the Fabulous Fox Theatre Feb. 15 – 19, and offering a variety of activities as part of Ailey’s Destination Dance partnership initiative with the city during Black History Month.

Formed at the cusp of the Civil Rights Movement, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has a rich history of addressing social issues through art. Alvin Ailey’s 1960 work Revelations has become a cultural treasure, acclaimed as a must‐see for all. A tribute to the cultural heritage of the African American, the masterpiece will be the inspiring finale of all programs during the Company’s Atlanta engagement. It has been seen more than any modern dance work in the world, transcending barriers in a testament to our common humanity, and is sure to bring audience members to their feet.

The celebration of Black History is also embodied in the “Ailey Jazz” program, which rejoices in the marriage of two great American art forms: modern dance and jazz. The program celebrates the birth centennials of jazz legends Ella Fitzgerald — in Robert Battle’s Ella, a tour-de-force duet, set to her virtuoso scatting in the song “Airmail Special” — and Dizzy Gillespie — in Billy Wilson’s The Winter in Lisbon (1992), a tribute to the consummate jazz musician that evokes an atmosphere in which the dancers challenge, tease and romance against a backdrop of rhythm, color and four decades of his brilliant music. The program also features veteran Ailey dancer Hope Boykin’s r-Evolution, Dream., inspired by the sermons and speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. following a visit to Atlanta’s Center for Civil and Human Rights during Ailey’s annual U.S. tour. The large ensemble work addresses class disparity, and melds creative storytelling, new music composed by Ali Jackson (Jazz at Lincoln Center), and historic and original writings narrated by Tony Award winner Leslie Odom Jr. (Hamilton). “Ailey Jazz” takes place on Thursday, Feb.16, Saturday, Feb. 18 (Family Matinee followed by Q-and-A with the Ailey dancers), and Sunday, Feb. 19 (matinee).

Ailey audiences will likely be inspired to visit the Center for Civil and Human Rights after seeing r-Evolution, Dream. — in particular the Martin Luther King Jr. Collection’s “Morehouse College and the Making of a Man” exhibit — and are invited to bring their ticket to the Center for 15% of admission (Center visitors can also enjoy 15 percent off Ailey performances with a ticket stub). Ailey’s Destination Dance initiative kicked off with an enlightening panel discussion and master class at the Center, and the partnership continues with this exciting promotion.

The Atlanta engagement also features a number of other works connected to the African American experience, including: MacArthur “Genius” Kyle Abraham’s Untitled America, a haunting world premiere that shines a spotlight on the impact of the prison system on African-American families; Alvin Ailey’s 1969 work Masekela Langage, a searing portrait of South African apartheid and 1960s violence in Chicago, and Cry, his 1970 solo made famous by Judith Jamison and dedicated to “all black women everywhere;” as well as Rennie Harris’ 2015 hip-hop work Exodus, which underscores the crucial role of action and movement in effecting change.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater inspires in all a universal celebration of the human spirit, and has been recognized by U.S. Congress as a vital American “Cultural Ambassador.” Nearly 60 years after its founding, Ailey continues to move forward under the leadership of Robert Battle, revealing once again why Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is one of the world’s most beloved dance companies. Click here for the complete Ailey Atlanta programming press release, with ballet descriptions and further Destination Dance details.

Tickets starting at $25 are available at The Fox Theatre box office, 660 Peachtree Street NE,, or by calling 855-285-8499.

Other Destination Dance activities will take place throughout the month, honoring great African-American pioneers like Alvin Ailey and Dr. King, who opened doors and changed the world through their courageous actions. The complete list of February Destination Dance activities is below. For information on the ongoing schedule of collaborations with many of the city’s wonderful arts and civic organizations, visit: www.Destination.Dance.

Ailey’s 2017 Atlanta Engagement Programming:

Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. – AILEY FAN NIGHT                   Deep / Cry, The Hunt / Revelations

Friday, Feb. 17 at 8 p.m.                                                                   Exodus / Masekela Langage / After The Rain Pas De Deux, Revelations

Saturday, Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. – FAMILY MATINEE*                     The Winter in Lisbon / r-Evolution, Dream. / Ella, Revelations  

            *followed by post-performance Q&A with dancers

Saturday, Feb. 18 at 8 p.m.                                                             Deep / Untitled America / Revelations

Sunday, Feb. 19 at 3 p.m.                                                                The Winter in Lisbon / r-Evolution, Dream. / Ella, Revelations

February 2017 Destination Dance activities in Atlanta:


 February 15 – 19
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre’s Annual Engagement at the Fabulous Fox Theatre
The Company returns to the Fox Theatre with a repertory that shines a spotlight on society and celebrates the marriage of modern dance and jazz. Programming below.
2017 Atlanta Programs
Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17 at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18 at 2 p.m.*
Saturday, Feb. 18 at 8 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19 at 3 p.m.

 February 16
School-Time Performances
Students from Atlanta’s underserved communities will have the opportunity to attend a special school-time performance. In 2016, more than 4,300 students were able to attend such a performance, which is often the first professional dance performance that these children experience, furthering Ailey’s mission of bringing dance to the people.
Ailey’s Fox Theatre Engagement and Destination Dance Activities During Black History Month Page 3 of 4
Left to right: Hope Boykin leads Revelations master class at the Center for Civil and Human Rights. Photo by Don Morgan; AAADT in Hope Boykin’s r-Evolution, Dream. Photo by Paul Kolnik; AileyCamp Atlanta 2015 final performance. Photo by Kim Kenney; Lisa Johnson-Willingham and Ailey Experience Atlanta 2016 students.

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