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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 

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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

I like to think of this company as one big evolving nontraditional family. With all the emphasis placed on continuity and heritage by artistic director Judith Jamison, that's no accident. There are lots of relatively new choreographers on the troupe's upcoming program, but all have a strong commitment to the past, to exploring and interpreting not only the Ailey family but the history of black culture in America. Ronald K. Brown's Grace employs music by Duke Ellington (among others) and an Ellington lyric ("Come Sunday / Dear Lord above / Please come down and see your people through") to celebrate the historical use of religion in righteous causes. Jawole Willa Jo Zollar of Urban Bush Women offers a work for 14 dancers she created for the Ailey troupe, C# Street - B (flat) Avenue; premiered in December, it features a text by Ntozake Shange and addresses the importance of jazz in Zollar's life when she was growing up. Company member Troy O'Neill Powell's 1998 Ascension is said to be influenced by Ulysses Dove, a brilliant choreographer whose passion and probing intelligence were perfect for the Ailey troupe and whose works are still in its repertory. Also on these programs are the first efforts of choreographers who've now achieved considerable fame: Jamison's 1984 Divining and Bill T. Jones's 1983 Fever Swamp. With several markedly different programs (see listing for details), this promises to be an engagement of considerable depth and scope. Wednesday and Thursday, March 1 and 2, at 7:30; next Friday, March 3, at 8; next Saturday, March 4, at 2 and 8; and next Sunday, March 5, at 3 at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress; $18-$46 (there are a limited number of free tickets for children under 12, with the purchase of an adult ticket, for the Saturday matinee). Call 312-902-1500 for tickets, 312-922-2110, ext. 4, for rates on groups of ten or more.

--Laura Molzahn

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Mark Baptiste.


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