Ailey II in Alvin Ailey's Revelations.
Ailey II in Alvin Ailey’s Revelations.
Photo by Eduardo Patino

After an acclaimed fourweek holiday season in New York,  Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, beloved as one of the world’s most popular dance companies, will continue to grace stages from coast-to-coast during a 22-city North American tour, starting Feb. 3 in Toronto, Ontario during Black History Month.

Led by Artistic Director Robert Battle, the passionate spirit and extraordinary technique of Ailey’s dancers will be showcased in a diverse repertory of new works, repertory favorites and Ailey classics.

On Feb. 7, a week-long engagement at The Kennedy Center launches with the annual Washington, D.C. Gala Benefit to support Ailey’s D.C. programs, including the creation of new works, Arts-InEducation activities, and scholarships to talented young area dancers to attend The Ailey School in New York. Other stops on the 22-city tour include Atlanta, Boston, Chicago and Detroit, culminating with a Mother’s Day performance in Newark on May 14.

“National audiences will have the opportunity to experience acclaimed choreographer Kyle Abraham’s Are You in Your Feelings?, a celebration of Black culture, Black music, and the youthful spirit that perseveres in us all,” said Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in a statement on Friday.

Scored to a “mixtape” of soul, hiphop, and R&B from featuring beloved musical artists like Jhené Aiko, Drake, Lauryn Hill, Kendrick Lamar, Jazmine Sullivan, and Summer Walker, the dance company said the critically applauded work explores the connections among music, communication and personal memory.

The tour also welcomes In a Sentimental Mood by Jamar Roberts, an intimate scene from the domestic life of a couple that becomes an exploration of love and desire.

Artistic Director Robert Battle with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Artistic Director Robert Battle with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Photo by Dario Calmese

The work is set to an original composition by Duke Ellington and four jazz standards given an avant-garde twist by composer Rafiq Bhatia.

Twyla Tharp’s silky and sultry Roy’s Joys (1997), embodying the spontaneity of a 1940s and 50s jazz soundtrack by Roy Eldridge, will also take the stage, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater said.

“Mixing vernacular dance with ballet and modern technique, Roy’s Joys exudes an easy, carefree energy that shows Tharp at her rollicking best,” it said.

The tour also includes a new production of Survivors (1986), Alvin Ailey’s impassioned tribute to the profound courage and terrible anguish of Nelson and Winnie Mandela, which will be seen this season for the first time since 1988.

“A soundtrack of Max Roach’s richly varied drumming and Abbey Lincoln’s powerful vocals sets the emotional tone for a work that presents a portrait of people transformed by injustice and lifts up those who resist oppression in any form,” the theater company said.

Performances of Alvin Ailey’s must-see American masterpiece Revelations will inspire audiences in every city on the tour.

Since its creation in 1960, Alvin Ailey said Revelations has been seen by more people around the world than any other modern dance work moving audiences with its powerful storytelling and soul-stirring 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.

Additional Tour Activities

The Ailey Organization said it continues its mission of using dance to educate young people through special activities, including master classes, student performances, lecture-demonstrations throughout the tour, and innovative curriculum-based residencies for public school students.

Revelations: An Interdisciplinary Approach residency utilizes Alvin Ailey’s signature work, Revelations, as the inspirational framework for a comprehensive study of language arts, social studies and dance.

The innovative program actively engages participants in a process of reflecting, discussing, creating, performing, and assessing, while exploring the life story of Alvin Ailey and Revelations. This year, residences will be implemented in Atlanta and Los Angeles, Alvin Ailey said.

In addition, students from AileyCamp a free summer program that helps youth reach their full potential – will experience the magic of the company’s live performances.

The award-winning program is implemented in 10 cities across the country: Atlanta, Baltimore, Berkeley/Oakland, Chicago, Detroit, Kansas City (KS and MO), Miami, New York City (Bronx), Newark, and Seattle.

The Ailey School, the official school of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater offering world-class dance training to students ages 3-25, will conduct auditions for the 2023-2024 academic programs as well as the 2023 summer intensive at tour cities including Atlanta, Washington D.C., Boston, and Dallas.

The mission of The Ailey School is “to make dance accessible to outstanding students through a curriculum of rigorous and diversified dance training.”

Nearly 80 percent of current Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater members received their pre-professional training from The Ailey School.

In conjunction with the tour, Ailey Extension will also step out of New York City and into select cities across the country to offer dance workshops to teens and adults of all backgrounds and levels.

Designed to expand Alvin Ailey’s life-long commitment of bringing dance to everyone, Ailey Experience workshops teach students the rich history of Ailey’s signature style, which changed the perception of modern American dance around the world.

From January through April, former Ailey dancers and world class instructors will lead Ailey Experience workshops in several cities, including Atlanta, Chicago, Charlotte, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.

In 1958, Alvin Ailey and a small group of dancers took the stage in New York and forever changed American dance and culture.

One of the country’s groundbreaking greats, his company earned a reputation as one of the finest international ambassadors of American culture, promoting the uniqueness of the African American cultural experience and the preservation and enrichment of American modern dance.

Now in its seventh decade, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater said it continues to move forward under the leadership of Artistic Director Robert Battle, along with  Associate Artistic Director Matthew Rushing, a renowned former dancer who is marking his 30th anniversary with Ailey this season.

In 2014, Robert Battle accepted the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, on behalf of the late Alvin Ailey, a trailblazing artist who is the subject of the acclaimed documentary Ailey, currently streaming on Hulu.

Following the tour, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater brings its passionate energy and dazzling technique back to the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) on Jun. 6 11 for the first time since 2010 with a program of recent works and classic audience favorites, including Alvin Ailey’s must-see masterpiece Revelations.

Ailey’s long-standing relationship with BAM began in 1969 when the trailblazing choreographer established The Ailey School in Brooklyn and presented his company’s first BAM performances.

For more information on Ailey’s upcoming performances, visit www.alvinailey.org.