New Jersey Stage

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Think of it as Ailey 2.0

(WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ) – Not a "second company." Not a farm team. Not a road show, and most definitely not "the next best thing" to the standard of excellence in contemporary American dance.

Now in its 36th year, the Ailey II dance company continues to represent the next quantum leap forward for the modern American dance tradition. Merging the spirit and energy of the country's best young dance talent with the passion and creative vision of the most outstanding emerging choreographers, it's an organization with one foot in the future — and another grounded in the legacy of the celebrated choreographer who brought the beauty and humanity of the African-American experience to soaring new heights.

When the late Alvin Ailey established Ailey II as a bridge between his school and the professional dance world, there was little question as to who would set the pace — and for nearly forty years, Artistic Director Sylvia Waters has guided and nurtured young artists who have gone on to become some of the most acclaimed dancers, teachers and choreographers of the past two generations.

On the evening of Sunday, February 13, 2011, a troupe of 12 performers — hand-picked from the student body of The Ailey School, with many of them new to the touring production — will take the stage of the Pollak Theatre at Monmouth University, as part of the school's Center of Distinction for the Arts slate of events for 2011.

The 7 p.m. performance is scheduled to be preceded by a Dance Master Class workshop, featuring members of the Ailey II company and presented inside the newly renovated Lauren K. Woods Theatre, accessible at the eastern side of Norwood Avenue (Route 71) on the Monmouth campus. All members of the public are invited to this event, with start time and ticket information TBA.

Having performed and developed works by such leading American masters as Alvin Ailey, Talley Beatty, Ulysses Dove, George Faison, Lar Lubovitch, and Ailey's Artistic Director Judith Jamison, the Ailey II company returns to the Pollak stage as part of an international tour that takes them to 35 American cities and universities — and to Europe for the first time in the company's history.

For the Monmouth University show (the last US stop before a six-city UK excursion), Ailey II will perform a program that spotlights a pair of ballets (The Hurt and Takademe) by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Artistic Director Designate Robert Battle — a major artist who created his first work for Ailey II in 1999.

Also on the program are two new productions — Doscongio by San Francisco choreographer Robert Moses (set to movements of Chopin's sonata for cello and piano) and Donald Byrd's eclectic and complex ballet Shards — as well as the premiere of an all new ensemble work by Kyle Abraham that employs hip-hop and postmodern movement elements to recreate life on The Corner.

This tour of Ailey II is made possible by a grant from Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

This tour engagement of Ailey II is funded through the American Masterpieces program of the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.