The renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre will celebrate its 60th anniversary with three performances at the Sony Centre in Toronto on February 1-2.
The shows will include the Canadian premiers of Jamar Roberts’ Members Don’t Get Weary and Rennie Harris’s Lazarus, the company’s first two-act ballet, and Revelations, the finale.
Roberts, an acclaimed dancer with the theatre, says Members Don’t Get Weary “takes an abstract look into the notion of one ‘having the blues.’”
Set to the music of the legendary American jazz saxophonist and composer John Coltrane, the work uses the dancing body to inspire the audience to transcend their own personal blues momentarily.
Lazarus, the company’s first two-act ballet, addresses the racial inequities America faced when the company was founded in 1958 and still faces today,
Alvin Ailey’s 1960 masterpiece, Revelations, closes every performance with African-American spirituals, song-sermons, gospel songs and holy blues.
A news release from Civic Theatres Toronto says that that the Ailey company which is no stranger to Toronto, has performed ” for over 25 million people in 48 states and in 71 countries on six continents ” and ” inspires all in a universal celebration of the human spirit using the African-American cultural experience and the American modern dance tradition.”
Courtney Celeste Stears, one of the young dancers in the company, told The Caribbean Camera in an interview in New York, that she is looking forward to performing in Canada
Stears who has ” Caribbean roots” ( her mother is from The Bahamas), noted that Toronto will be one of several cities on her first North American tour with the company which will end in May.