It has been a couple of years since the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater was in Chicago and they have been missed. The good news is they are back at the Auditorium Theatre March 2nd – 6th with three new programs.
I spoke with Artistic Director Robert Battle and asked how the pandemic affected the company. He said that of course it was difficult, and went on to say, “We haven’t been to Chicago for a couple of years, and we are used to going every year. The dancers, being able to perform live and the instant response and energy and response as well that they get back from the audience, is a huge component of what dancers thrive off of. We need people together. So, it was really emotionally difficult.”
However, the dance company did find a way to adapt by doing a lot of digital content and was able to reach new audiences who may have never seen the company in person.
There have only been three Artistic Directors of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Company since it was founded in 1958. Its creator and the great Alvin Ailey passed it on to the amazing Judith Jamison, who in 2010 looked to Robert Battle and said, “It’s yours.”
What can we expect from this tour? Three unique programs that I can’t wait to see.
Robert Battle’s 10th Anniversary Celebration, which opens the Chicago engagement; the return of hip-hop innovator Rennie Harris’ acclaimed Lazarus, which is inspired by the life and legacy of Alvin Ailey; a tribute to Duke Ellington titled Ailey & Ellington, and of course the Alvin Ailey masterpiece Revelations.
I asked Robert if they ever thought of not doing “Revelations” or retiring it. He laughed and said, “We would be run out of town.” And they truly would.
Visit AuditoriumTheatre.org for information on COVID guidelines and safety protocols.
Until next time, keep your EYE to the sky!