Famed U.S. troupe takes Toronto stage

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre

They have travelled to 71 countries on six continents and 48 U.S. states and captivated an estimated 25 million people with their performances.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre hopes to do the same during their three performances over two days in Toronto at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts March 4 and 5.
The group, led by the late founder, African American Alvin Ailey, grew from a now-fabled performance in March 1958 at the 92nd Street Y in New York City and changed the perception of American dance.
Ailey’s pioneering legacy of uplifting, uniting, and celebrating the human spirit lives on as the company’s extraordinary dancers bring a wide array of premieres, new productions and classics to life.
In 2008, a U.S. Congressional resolution designated the company as “a vital American cultural ambassador to the world” that celebrates the uniqueness of the African-American cultural experience and the preservation and enrichment of the American modern dance heritage.
When Ailey began creating dances, he drew upon his “blood memories” of Texas, the blues, spirituals, and gospel as inspiration, which resulted in the creation of his most popular and critically acclaimed work, Revelations.
Although he created 79 ballets over his lifetime, Ailey maintained that his company was not exclusively a repository for his own work.
Today, the company continues Ailey’s mission by presenting important works of the past and commissioning new ones. In all, more than 235 works by over 90 choreographers have been part of the Ailey company repertory.
Before his death in 1989, Alvin Ailey named Judith Jamison as his successor, and over the next 21 years, she brought the company to unprecedented success. Jamison, in turn, personally selected Robert Battle to succeed her in 2011, and The New York Times declared he “has injected the company with new life.”
The Toronto performances in programs A and B will see one show on Friday, March 4, and two on Saturday, March 5.
Program A will comprise Toccata, a vibrant episode from 1960s Come and Get the Beauty of it Hot, created by Talley Beatty. The ballet is set in the streets of New York and incorporates nuances of classic and jazz to the music of Grammy Award-Winning Argentine composer Lalo Schiffrin.
Program B comprises Four Corners in which Ronald K. Brown, renowned for his signature blend of modern dance and West African idioms, envisions four angels standing on the four corners of the Earth holding the four winds in this powerful and hope-filled journey of tribulation, devotion and triumph.
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