Entertainment

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s historic return to SA


The highly acclaimed New York-based Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, one of the world’s most popular global dance companies, is planning an historic return to South Africa in September after 17 years with a robust schedule of 20 performances and a variety of educational activities for area students.  The first visit to this continent led by Artistic Director Robert Battle includes a 13-performance engagement in Johannesburg at the Teatro at Montecasino from Thursday, 3 September to Sunday, 13 September 2015 and seven shows in Cape Town at Artscape, from 16 to 20 September 2015.  Presented by leading local promoters Showtime Management together with Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation, the visit is made possible by lead sponsor Bloomberg Philanthropies with major support from the Ford Foundation and assistance from travel and freight partners South African Airways and South African Airways Cargo.  Tickets are on sale at Computicket.

“Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater last visited Johannesburg in 1998 and we are delighted to welcome back this iconic dance company for a groundbreaking return,” says local promoter, Hazel Feldman of Showtime Management.  Previously, Time Magazine proclaimed that “The Ailey company’s tour leaves South Africa dancing in the aisles.”  Audiences and critics the world-over rave about the performance, presentation and uniqueness of this dance phenomenon.  “Unbelievable. Go see Alvin Ailey. It’s change-your-life good” says The Today Show while The Miami Herald claims; “… a distinctive profile – theatrical, energetic, heartfelt with powerhouse dancers – that has helped make it the most successful and widely seen modern dance company in the world.”

Recognized by U.S. Congressional resolution as a vital American “Cultural Ambassador to the World,” Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater grew from a now-fabled March 1958 performance in New York that changed forever the perception of American dance.  Guided by Judith Jamison for 22 years beginning in 1989, the Company has been led since 2011 by Robert Battle.  Battle recently accepted the 2014 Presidential Medal of Freedom – the United State’s highest civilian honor – on behalf of legendary founder Alvin Ailey.   President Obama proclaimed that “through him, African-American history was told in a way that it had never been told before — with passionate, virtuoso dance performances that transfixed audiences worldwide.”   Carrying on a legacy of inspiring, uniting and enlightening on the tour, Ailey’s extraordinary dancers will bring life to a wide variety of new and classic works.

“Extending the Ailey company’s five decades of far-reaching international tours, and memorable visits to South Africa, I’m proud to lead the Company back to this continent for the first time this century,” stated Robert Battle, Artistic Director since 2011.  “Mr. Ailey said it so well; ‘Dance came from the people and should always be delivered back to the people.’  I’m excited for audiences to share in uplifting performances, and for students to experience life-changing interactions with the world’s most amazing dancers.”

There are two alternating programmes of approximately 2 hours each, both ending with Alvin Ailey’s Revelations, an American masterpiece set to spirituals that is acclaimed as a must-see for all.  Alvin Ailey’s signature piece is a tribute to his heritage and a testament to his genius, exploring places of deepest grief and holiest joy in the soul.

Exodus, a highly anticipated season world premiere by bold hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris, will be performed to a soul-lifting score of gospel house music.  Rennie (Lorenzo) Harris has been known to mix Shakespeare with hip hop, poetry, rap music and movement and is a pioneer in performing, choreographing, teaching and revolutionizing contemporary concert dance by introducing the African-American dance form hip hop to a worldwide audience.

In Polish Pieces, Dutch choreographer Hans van Manen displays his mastery for building dazzling creations from simple motifs and geometric patterns.  Driven by the rhythms of Henryk Górecki’s score, the 12 dancers in this colorful ensemble work create a brilliant kaleidoscope through endlessly shifting formations that culminate in two sensual pas de deux.

Christopher Wheeldon’s dreamlike After the Rain Pas de Deux – praised for its sublime simplicity and intricate partnering – was an instant hit on New York City Ballet in 2005.  Set to music by the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, the sensual male-female pas de deux will be revealed in a fresh light as the Ailey dancers make it their own.

Other works to be performed include repertory favorites Night Creature, Alvin Ailey’s homage to the musical genius of eminent American composter Duke Ellington; the spiritually-charged work Grace by celebrated choreographerRonald K. Brownand Battle’s own high-flying and humorous solo, Takademe.

The Ailey organization continues its mission of using dance to educate young people through special student performances, lecture-demonstrations, workshops, and master classes on the tour.   Extensive educational activities are being planned in both Johannesburg and Cape Town and the surrounding areas.  Interestingly, two South African dancer-choreographers, David Matamela (on a scholarship funded for him by Tina Turner) and in 1997 Mamela Nyamza and Sduduzo ka-Mbili  trained on Ailey scholarships scholarships at The Ailey School in New York.  Both of these highly talented dancers returned home with invaluable knowledge of dance techniques and style, which contributed enormously to their success on the local front. Another dancer, Bradley Shelver who attended the National School of the Arts Johannesburg received a full scholarship to The Ailey School. He is currently the Artistic Director of the Steps Repertory Ensemble and BSCDT and a member of the Metropolitan Opera Ballet. Shelver is co-producer and curator of the REVERBdance Festival in New York City and Co-Artistic Director of the Bahamas International Opera and Dance Festival.

 

“I know that South African audiences will be transfixed and inspired by the company’s performances in Johannesburg and Cape Town, as well as the fantastic educational outreach programs that the group is planning during their visit,” stated United States Ambassador to South Africa Patrick H. Gaspard.  “Receiving the Ailey company in South Africa in September will truly be a highlight of my tenure as Ambassador.”

 

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has performed for an estimated 23 million people in 71 countries on 6 continents, inspiring all in a universal celebration of the human spirit using the African-American cultural experience and the American modern dance tradition.  For further details on the Ailey organization’s performances, training programs and educational activities, visit www.alvinailey.org.    Book now at Computicket by calling 0861 915 8000, visit www.computicket.com or your nearest Computicket service centre or  discover more about the visit at www.showtime.co.za.

JOHANNESBURG SHOW INFORMATION

 

VENUE: Teatro at Montecasino

 

SHOW DATES AND TIMES: Thursday, 3 September to Sunday, 13 September 2015

No shows on Mondays and Tuesdays

Wednesday to Friday – 8pm

Saturdays – 2:pm and 8pm

Sundays – 1:30pm and 6:30pm

 

PROGRAMMING – Subject to Change

Thursday, 9/3 @ 8:00pm A: Polish Pieces, Takademe / Grace / Revelations

Friday, 9/4 @ 8:00pm B: Night Creature, After the Rain Pas de Deux / Exodus / Revelations

Saturday, 9/5 @ 2:00pm A: Polish Pieces, Takademe / Grace / Revelations

Saturday, 9/5 @ 8:00pm B: Night Creature, After the Rain Pas de Deux / Exodus / Revelations

Sunday, 9/6 @ 1:30pm A: Polish Pieces, Takademe / Grace / Revelations

Sunday, 9/6 @ 6:30pm B: Night Creature, After the Rain Pas de Deux / Exodus / Revelations

Wednesday, 9/9 @ 8:00pm A: Polish Pieces, Takademe / Grace / Revelations

Thursday, 9/10 @ 8:00pm B: Night Creature, After the Rain Pas de Deux / Exodus / Revelations

Friday, 9/11 @ 8:00pm A: Polish Pieces, Takademe / Grace / Revelations

Saturday, 9/12 @ 2:00pm B: Night Creature, After the Rain Pas de Deux / Exodus / Revelations

Saturday, 9/12 @ 8:00pm A: Polish Pieces, Takademe / Grace / Revelations

Sunday, 9/13 @ 1:30pm B: Night Creature, After the Rain Pas de Deux / Exodus / Revelations

Sunday, 9/13 @ 6:30pm A: Polish Pieces, Takademe / Grace / Revelations

 

TICKET PRICES:

Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday 6:30pm  – R100 to R490

Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday 1:30 pm matinee – R100 to R590 per person inclusive

 

BOOKINGS:

Computicket by calling 0861 915 8000, visit www.computicket.com or visit your nearest Computicket service centre.

 

GROUP BOOKINGS

20% Discount on groups of 20 and more.

Enquiries:  sales@showtime.co.za, 079 218 1658

 

HOSPITALITY AND SHOW & STAY PACKAGES

For Montecasino Group Hospitality Packages (20+ tickets) please contact montecasino.reservations@tsogosun.com or telephone 011 367 4250

For Montecasino Show & Stay Packages at one of the Montecasino Hotels (available for Friday and Saturday 8pm performances)

please contact montecasino.reservations@tsogosun.com or telephone 011 367 4250

CAPE TOWN SHOW INFORMATION

 

VENUE: Opera House, Artscape

 

SHOW DATES: Wednesday, 16 September to Sunday, 20 September 2015

 

TIMES:

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday: 8pm

Saturday, 19 September – 2pm and 8pm

Sunday 20 September 2015 – 1:30pm and 6:30pm

 

PROGRAMMING – Subject to Change

Wednesday, 9/16 @ 8:00pm B: Night Creature, After the Rain Pas de Deux / Exodus / Revelations

Thursday, 9/17 @ 8:00pm A: Polish Pieces, Takademe / Grace / Revelations

Friday, 9/18 @ 8:00pm B: Night Creature, After the Rain Pas de Deux / Exodus / Revelations

Saturday, 9/19 @ 2:00pm A: Polish Pieces, Takademe / Grace / Revelations

Saturday, 9/19 @ 8:00pm B: Night Creature, After the Rain Pas de Deux / Exodus / Revelations

Sunday, 9/20 @ 1:30pm A: Polish Pieces, Takademe / Grace / Revelations

Sunday, 9/20 @ 6:30pm B: Night Creature, After the Rain Pas de Deux / Exodus / Revelations

 

TICKET PRICES:

Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday 6:30pm  – R100 to R 375

Friday, Saturday and Sunday matinee – R100 to R475 per person inclusive

 

BOOKINGS:

Computicket by calling 0861 915 8000, visit www.computicket.com or visit your nearest

Computicket service centre.

GROUP BOOKINGS

20% Discount on groups of 20 and more

Enquiries:  sales@showtime.co.za, 079 218 1658

About the author

LilReechy

I love music, dance, drama, poetry, social events, adventure and new experiences.

Leave a Comment