Spotlight on Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's "Lazarus" and "Revelations"

Mar 07, 2019

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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 'Lazarus' Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 'Lazarus'
Photo by Paul Kolnik

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returns to the Nothrop stage on Tue, Mar 12 to perform Lazarus  and Revelations. Here are some insights into the company and the performances.

See a preview of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

For Alvin Ailey’s 60th anniversary, they commissioned their first ever two-act ballet, Lazarus, created by hip-hop artist Rennie Harris. The piece pays tribute to Alvin Ailey and addresses the racial inequities the nation has faced since 1958. It is an hour-long work that explores Ailey’s impact on race relations through dance, spoken word, and modern song sampling in a score that melds Nina Simone, Terrence Trent D’Arby, Michael Kiwanuka, Odetta, original music by Darrin Ross, and the voice of Ailey himself.

Lazarus just premiered during the company’s winter season in New York, with one critic calling certain passages “something like heaven.” Portions of Harris’ choreography in Lazarus echo those in Ailey’s beloved Revelations, which will also be performed on the Northrop program.

Alvin Ailey’s American masterpiece, Revelations, was created in 1960 and inspired by Ailey’s “blood memories” of his childhood. It explores the grief and joy of the human condition and has been hailed as “one of the great works of the human spirit.”  Revelations has been seen by more people worldwide than any other existing modern work.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater was formed on March 30, 1958, when Alvin Ailey assembled a group of young, black dancers for their first New York appearance. More than 60 years later, they are renowned as one of America’s finest dance companies.

In the early days, the company toured in a vehicle driven by their longtime friend Mickey Board. Ailey would later describe these travels as “the station wagon tours.”

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