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Alvin Ailey returns to Fox Theatre with two world premiere performances

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has a 41-year history in Atlanta. On Wednesday, the company returned to the Fox Theatre for a five-day run featuring two world premiere performances, including one inspired by a visit to Atlanta's National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

All six public performances this year will end with the crowd pleasing, Revelations, the 1960 work choreographed by company founder Alvin Ailey which serves as a tribute to African-American heritage and culture.

In addition, the company is piloting Destination Dance, a partnership with the city which features year-round opportunities for community outreach and engagement at schools and cultural institutions around the metro area.

Audiences at Wednesday's Fan Night -- which offered tickets priced at $25 or $39 -- were treated to the Ailey classics, Cry and Revelations, as well as the newer work, Deep, choreographed by Mauro Bigonzetti.

Bigonzetti, director of Italy's La Scala Ballet Company, fuses modern and classical dance techniques in his work set to music by rising stars, Ibeyi, the French-Cuban twin sisters who sing in English and Yoruba. Deep will be staged again on Saturday evening.

Thursday's opening night performance brings the world premiere of r-Evolution, Dream choreographed by company member Hope Boykin.

Read more: Alvin Ailey choreographer finds inspiration in King’s speech

Boykin, a native of North Carolina, was deeply moved after visiting the National Center for Civil and Human Rights , two years ago.

As she experienced the exhibits, particularly the sermons of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Boykin decided she had to move to it. She built a series of vignettes that blends new music, creative storytelling and historic and original writing with her own style of dance.

The new work will also show during Saturday's family matinee performance, which features a Q&A with Ailey dancers, and Sunday's matinee.

Also premiering with Boykin's work, is the reimagined work Ella by company director, Robert Battle. Battle originally conceived Ella -- a high energy dance which matches the vocal stylings of Ella Fitzgerald -- as a solo. During the 2016 season, it was reinvented as a duet.

Saturday evening brings another world premiere, Untitled America, by Kyle Abraham. Set to music by contemporary artist Laura Mvula and traditional spirituals, the work highlights the impact of the prison system on African-American families.

Tickets start at $25. See the website for details and see below for the performance schedule.

  • Thursday, Feb. 16 at 8 p.m.:  The Winter in Lisbon / r-Evolution, Dream. / Ella, Revelations
  • Friday, Feb. 17 at 8 p.m.: Exodus / Masekela Langage / After The Rain Pas De Deux, Revelations
  • Saturday, Feb. 18 at 2 p.m.: The Winter in Lisbon / r-Evolution, Dream. / Ella, Revelations  followed by post-performance Q&A with dancers
  • Saturday, Feb. 18 at 8 p.m.:  Deep / Untitled America / Revelations
  • Sunday, Feb. 19 at 3 p.m.: The Winter in Lisbon / r-Evolution, Dream. / Ella, Revelations

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About the Author

Nedra Rhone has been a features reporter with the AJC for 10 years. She’s written about everything from fashion to food to news.