CELEBRITY SERIES BRINGS ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER BACK TO BOSTON IN ITS 60TH YEAR WITH PREMIERES, TRIBUTES TO ITS FOUNDER, AND AN EVENING OF AILEY CLASSICS 

Boston premieres include new works, Jessica Lang’s EN (May 2 and 5) and Rennie Harris’ Lazarus (May 3 and 4 @ 8pm), and company premiere of Wayne McGregor’s Kairos (May 2 and 5).

Timeless Ailey program (May 4 @ 2pm) features rarely seen works by Alvin Ailey.

At Boch Center Wang Theatre on Thu May 2, 8p; Fri May 3, 8p; Sat May 4, 2p and 8p; Sun May 5, 3p

BOSTON – February 25, 2019 – As the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater celebrates its 60th year, Celebrity Series of Boston brings the company back to Boston May 2-5, 2019 for its annual visit, which will include programs featuring new works by choreographers Jessica Lang and Rennie Harris, a company premiere by choreographer Wayne McGregor, and a full-evening program of works by Alvin Ailey, including several rarely seen pieces. Ailey’s masterwork, Revelations, will close out each performance program.  All performances are at the Boch Center Wang Theatre, 270 Tremont Street in Boston. (PHOTO: Samantha Figgins and Jeroboam Bozeman by Andrew Eccles.)

2019 BOSTON REPERTOIRE

Five works, including a two-act compilation of highlights from 30 years of Alvin Ailey choreography between 1958 and 1988, will be seen on various performances during the Ailey company’s Boston run. Below is an overview of each work with links to additional information, pictures and embeddable videos.

Rennie Harris’ world premiere, Lazarus, is the company’s first two-act work. Inspired by the life and legacy of Alvin Ailey and addressing 60 years of racial inequity in America from 1958 to today, Lazarus is an ensemble work with a soundtrack that melds Nina Simone, Terence Trent D’Arby, Michael Kiwanuka, Odetta, original music by Darrin Ross, and Alvin Ailey’s voice. Harris’ previous contributions to the Ailey repertory include Exodus (2015), Home (2011), and Love Stories (2004).  He is the company’s first Artist-in-Residence, leading a range of activities across the organization, including The Ailey School, Ailey II and the New Directions Choreography Lab, in addition to the main company.  Lazarus will be seen on the Fri, May 3 and Sat, May 4 programs at 8 pm. (PHOTO: AAADT in Lazarus by Paul Kolnik.)

Jessica Lang’s 2018 premiere EN (pronounced “en”) marks not only the choreographer’s 100th ballet but also her Ailey choreographic debut. A celebratory ensemble piece set to original music by composer Jakub Ciupinski, with costumes by Bradon McDonald, EN is titled using a Japanese word with multiple meanings signifying circle, destiny, fate and karma. Lang says the work “reflects on the universal experience of coming full circle and, as time passes, recognizing the people we meet along life’s journey who play a part in the fate and destiny of our lives." Lang has created original works for major companies around the world with choreography that has a wide range of influences, visual art, theatrical lyricism, the geometry of the human body, and the nuances of bodily gesture.  EN will be seen on the Thu, May 2 and Sun, May 5 programs. (PHOTO: AAADT in EN, Paul Kolnik)

Ailey is the first American company to perform Wayne McGregor’s Kairos, which is set to Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons as re-imagined by experimental composer Max Richter (an artist Celebrity Series-presented earlier this season). The work draws its title from the Greek word that means both “opportune time to take action” and “weather.” It originally premiered in 2014 as part of the STEPS contemporary dance festival in Switzerland.  Kairos will be seen on the Thu, May 2 and Sun, May 5 programs.

The Timeless Ailey program brings new vitality to more than a dozen treasures from Mr. Ailey’s wonderfully rich body of work, including highlights of seldom-seen gems Mary Lou’s Mass (1971) and The Lark Ascending (1972), as well as perennial favorites like Cry (1971), Night Creature (1974) and Memoria (1979).  Other featured excerpts (in chronological order) include: Blues Suite (1958), Streams (1970), Hidden Rites (1973), Pas de Duke (1976), Phases (1980), For Bird – With Love and Love Songs (both 1984), and Opus McShann (1988).  Timeless Ailey will be performed Sat, May 4 at 2 pm only.

Alvin Ailey’s masterpiece, Revelations, closes each performance. Since its creation in 1960, Revelations has been seen by more audiences around the world than any other modern work, inspiring generations with powerful storytelling and soul-stirring spirituals.  From the opening notes of the plaintive “I Been ’Buked” to the rousing “Wade in the Water” and the triumphant finale, “Rocka My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham,” Revelations pays homage to the rich African-American cultural heritage and explores the emotional spectrum of the human condition. (Photo: AAADT in Revelations, Nan Melville)

“Alvin Ailey forever changed the American landscape by raising up the lives and cultural heritage of African-Americas for all to see, opening the hearts and minds of people of every background, and elevating the world of the performing arts,” said Robert Battle.  “During this milestone season, we honor Alvin Ailey’s storied legacy with performances across North America.  What Mr. Ailey gave us is more than a repertory and a tradition. It is a movement, a direction, a desire, a conviction that if the spirit is to live it must rise. We dedicate our 60th Anniversary to the next ascent.”

“Two things we count on each spring in Boston are the start of the Red Sox season and the return of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater,” says Celebrity Series Executive Director Gary Dunning, “Last year we marked Ailey’s 50th anniversary of their first Boston visit and their longtime collaboration with Celebrity Series.  This year, the company’s 60th anniversary is front and center, honoring the career and life of Mr. Ailey, without whose vision we would not have more than a half century of collective memories.  We look forward to works reflecting his stunning legacy and we wish the company a happy 60th anniversary.”

PROGRAMS BY PERFORMANCE

Thursday, May 2, 8pm
Wayne McGregor, Kairos (2014, 34 min)*
Jessica Lang, EN (2018, 21 min)*
Alvin Ailey, Revelations (1960, 36 min)
Total perf time: approx. 2 hours, 6 mins

Friday, May 3, 8pm
Rennie Harris, Lazarus Act 1 (2018, 33 min)*
Rennie Harris, Lazarus Act 2 (25 min)*
Alvin Ailey, Revelations (36 min)
Total perf time: approx. 2 hours, 9 mins

Saturday, May 4, 8pm
Rennie Harris, Lazarus Act 1 (2018, 33 min)*
Rennie Harris, Lazarus Act 2 (25 min)*
Alvin Ailey, Revelations (36 min)
Total perf time: approx. 2 hours, 9 mins

Sunday, May 5, 3pm
Wayne McGregor, Kairos (2014, 34 min)*
Jessica Lang, EN (2018, 21 min)*
Alvin Ailey, Revelations (1960, 36 min)
Total perf time: approx. 2 hours, 6 mins

*Alvin Ailey Boston premiere

TICKETS

Tickets to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater start at $35, and are available online at celebrityseries.org, by calling Ticketmaster at 800-982-2787, or at the Boch Center Wang Theatre box office at 270 Tremont Street, Boston, MA.

MEDIA INFORMATION/PHOTOS and VIDEO ASSETS

  • Additional info, photos and videos for performances in Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s 2019 Boston run are available at links embedded above.  A high-resolution video highlights reel of the Ailey company’s U.S. tour, including performances coming to Boston, is available here.
  • RSVPs for press review tickets are now being taken; RSVP to jmk@jmkpr.com or 781-620-1761
  • Advance interviews with Ailey and Celebrity Series representatives are available.
  • For other inquiries, contact John Michael Kennedy at jmk@jmkpr.com or 781-620-1761.

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SUPPORT/FUNDING and BACKGROUND

The Celebrity Series of Boston’s Dance Series is sponsored by the Stephanie L. Brown Foundation, Jann E. Leeming and Arthur D. Little, Senior Trustees, the Royal Little Family Foundation, and the Cynthia & John S. Reed Foundation.  Celebrity Series of Boston is also grateful to our 2018-19 Season Sponsors Amy & Joshua Boger, and to the many individuals, corporations, foundations, and government agencies whose support helps fulfil our mission to present performing artists who inspire and enrich our community. Institutional supporters include the Barr Foundation through its ArtsAmplified initiative, Garbis and Arminé Barsoumian Charitable Foundation, Boston Cultural Council, The Boston Foundation, Stephanie L. Brown Foundation, The Catered Affair, Susanne Marcus Collins Foundation, Deloitte LLP, D.L. Saunders Real Estate Corp., First Republic Bank, Foley & Lardner LLP, Ipsen Biopharmaceuticals, Liberty Mutual Foundation, Massachusetts Cultural Council, National Endowment for the Arts, Outside the Box: A Production of the Boston Arts Summer Institute, The Peabody Foundation, Cynthia and John S. Reed Foundation, Royal Little Family Foundation, Stifler Family Foundation, Tufts Health Plan, and many others.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s 2019 North American Tour is supported, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts. Lead support for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s 60th Anniversary is provided by Emily and Len Blavatnik. Major support for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s 60th Anniversary is provided by Ford Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, and Pamela D. Zilly & John H. Schaefer.

ABOUT CELEBRITY SERIES OF BOSTON  

The Celebrity Series of Boston was founded in 1938 by pianist and impresario Aaron Richmond. Over the course of its 80-year history, Celebrity Series has presented an array of the world’s greatest performing artists, including Sergei Rachmaninoff, Arturo Toscanini, Ignace Paderewski, Artur Rubenstein, Vladimir Horowitz, Glenn Gould, Fritz Kreisler, Jascha Heifetz, Isaac Stern, Andrés Segovia, Kirsten Flagstad, Marian Anderson, Luciano Pavarotti, Béla Bartók, Igor Stravinsky, Martha Graham, Ballet Russe De Monte Carlo, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Mstislav Rostropovich, and the New York City Opera Company.

From orchestras and chamber ensembles, vocal and piano music, to dance companies, jazz, spoken word, and more, Celebrity Series has been bringing great artists to Boston’s major concert halls for nearly eight decades. The Celebrity Series of Boston believes in the power of excellence and innovation in the performing arts to enrich life experiences, transform lives and build better communities. Through its Arts for All! community programs, the Celebrity Series seeks to build a community of Greater Boston where the performing arts are a valued, lifelong, shared experience–on stages, in schools, at home– everywhere. For more information on Celebrity Series of Boston, call (617) 482-2595 or visit online at celebrityseries.org.

 

ABOUT ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, recognized by U.S. Congressional resolution as a vital American “Cultural Ambassador to the World,” grew from a now‐fabled March 1958 performance in New York that changed forever the perception of American dance. Founded by Alvin Ailey, recent posthumous recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the nation’s highest civilian honor, and guided by Judith Jamison beginning in 1989, the Company is now led by Robert Battle, whom Judith Jamison chose to succeed her on July 1, 2011. 

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has performed for an estimated 25 million people in 71 countries on 6 continents – as well as millions more through television broadcasts, film screenings, and online platforms - promoting the uniqueness of the African‐American cultural experience and the preservation and enrichment of the American modern dance tradition. In addition to being the Principal Dance Company of New York City Center, where its performances have become a year‐end tradition, the Ailey company performs annually at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami‐Dade County in Miami, The Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley, CA and at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark  (where it is the Principal Resident Affiliate), and appears frequently in other major theaters throughout the United States and the world during extensive yearly tours. 

The Ailey organization also includes Ailey II (1974), a second performing company of emerging young dancers and innovative choreographers; The Ailey School (1969), one of the most extensive dance training programs in the world; Ailey Arts in Education & Community Programs, which brings dance into the classrooms, communities and lives of people of all ages; and The Ailey Extension (2005), a program offering dance and fitness classes to the general public, which began with the opening of Ailey’s permanent home—the largest building dedicated to dance in New York City, the dance capital of the world —named The Joan Weill Center for Dance, at 55th Street at 9th Avenue in New York City.  For more information, visit alvinailey.org.