Celebrating its 60th anniversary, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater continues to push the art form into fascinating new territory while still honoring signature classics such as Ailey's masterpiece of hope and redemption, Revelations.
Since its premiere at New York's Kaufmann Concert Hall on January 30 1960, Ailey's work has become more than just a popular dance work, it has become a cultural treasure, beloved by generations of fans.
Seeing Revelations for the first time or the hundredth can be a transcendent experience, with audiences cheering, singing along and dancing in their seats from the opening notes of 'I Been 'Buked' and 'Fix me Jesus' by Hall Johnson and the triumphant finale, 'Rocka My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham'.
Ailey said that one of America's richest treasures was the African-American cultural heritage, 'sometimes sorrowful, sometimes jubilant, but always hopeful'. This enduring classic is a tribute to that tradition, born out of the choreographer's 'blood memories' of his childhood in rural Texas and the Baptist Church. Now more than ever, the world needs the power of dance to bring people together and connect us all by our common humanity.
Of its creation, Ailey once recalled: 'I did it chronologically, leading off with the opening part of Revelations, which was…about trying to get up out of the ground. The costumes and the set would be colored brown, an earth color, for coming out of the earth, for going into the earth. The second part was something that was very close to me — the baptismal, the purification rite. Its colors would be white and pale blue. Then there would be the section surrounding the gospel church, the holy rollers and all the church happiness. Its colors would be earth tones, yellow and black'.
Alvin Ailey combined Lester Horton technique with his own astounding choreographic vision to create a series of movement that intertwines impossible strength and ethereal grace. After nearly six decades, this American classic has proven to be a cultural landmark in the world of dance, maintaining its astonishing originality and powerful elegance while continuing to inspire and enthrall audiences globally, transcending barriers of faith and nationality, and appealing to universal emotions, making it the most widely seen modern dance work in the world.
February 5-10 2019
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
April 9-14 2019
Zellerbach Hall, University of California