Famed NY dance company tours CT

2015-09-08 06:00
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is heading back to South Africa for the first time in 17 years. 

Andrew Eccles

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is heading back to South Africa for the first time in 17 years. PHOTO: Andrew Eccles

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The highly acclaimed New York-based Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater makes a historic return to Cape Town this month.

The first visit to this continent to be led by artistic director Robert, this is the company’s first trip to South Africa in 17 years. The trip will include seven shows at Artscape from Wednesday 16 to Sunday 20 September, along with educational activities with students.

Recognised by the US Congress as a vital American “cultural ambassador to the world”, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater grew from a now fabled March 1958 performance in New York that changed the perception of American dance.

The company will be performing two alternating programmes of about two hours each, both ending with Alvin Ailey’s Revelations, set to spirituals that is acclaimed as a must-see for all.

Exodus, by bold hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris, will be performed to a soul-lifting score of gospel house music, while Dutch choreographer Hans van Manen displays his mastery for building dazzling creations from simple motifs and geometric patterns in Polish Pieces.

Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain pas de deux – praised for its sublime simplicity and intricate partnering – was an instant hit on the New York City Ballet calender 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 favourites Night Creature, Alvin Ailey’s homage to the musical genius of eminent American composer Duke Ellington, the spiritually charged work Grace by celebrated choreographer Ronald K. Brown and Battle’s own high-flying and humorous solo Takademe.

The Ailey organisation continues its mission of using dance to educate young people through special student performances, lecture demonstrations, workshops and master classes while on tour. Extensive educational activities are being planned in both Johannesburg and Cape Town and the surrounding areas. V

Visit www.alvinailey.org for more about the company and its tour. Tickets for the Cape Town shows are available at Computicket.

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