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Ailey Public Relations:   

Christopher Zunner: 212.405.9028 /

Emily Hawkins: 212.405.9083 /













JUNE 9 – 14


April 2, 2009 - Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s extraordinary 50th Anniversary Season will culminate from June 9 – 14 with special performances at the Howard Gilman Opera House (30 Lafayette Avenue), 40 years after the Company’s debut at BAM.   Led by acclaimed Artistic Director Judith Jamison, Ailey’s renowned artists will share the boundless beauty, spirit and passion that have inspired audiences worldwide.  Tickets for the two new programs of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at BAM range from $20-$85 and can be purchased online at or and by calling (718) 636-4100.


As an encore to last year’s triumphant return to BAM, and following sold-out engagements across the country, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT) will perform highlights of the Company’s diverse repertory from the last five decades.  The "Best Of" program includes the premiere of a new production of Ms. Jamison's award-winning tribute to Mr. Ailey, Hymn.   In episodes ranging from quiet solos to explosive full company dances, Ailey's genius and humanity are lovingly revealed through narrative recollections from the Company’s dancers, in a text conceived, written and narrated by acclaimed actor/playwright Anna Deavere Smith.  This ballet, always an audience favorite, has been out of the active repertory for several years and fans have eagerly awaited its return.  Also in this program is Tony Award-winning choreographer George Faison’s Suite Otis and Mr. Ailey’s quintessential masterpiece, Revelations.  “Classic Ailey" features Ailey’s groundbreaking 1958 ballet Blues Suite, first seen at the Company’s premiere performance and based upon his “blood memories” of rural, Depression-era South Texas.  Kenny Brawner and the Brawner Brothers Band will perform the music live onstage in this work that evokes the sorrow, humor and humanity of the blues.  Anniversary Highlights, excerpts from rarely-seen gems and favorite works that illustrate the range and resonance of Alvin Ailey’s choreographic legacy, and Revelations in its entirety, will complete the program.


AAADT is also sharing its mission of bringing dance to the people through the Revelations: An Interdisciplinary Approach curriculum for students in two Brooklyn public schools.  This innovative residency utilizes Alvin Ailey's signature work, Revelations, as the inspirational framework for a comprehensive study of language arts, social studies, and dance.  In addition to Brooklyn, it will also be implemented in Atlanta, Chicago and Boston this year, thanks to the J.P. Morgan National Art of Learning Sponsorship.


Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at 50 – A Golden Anniversary Celebration, a short film commemorating the Company’s rich 50-year history, will open most performances throughout the tour.  Ailey’s 18-month 50th Anniversary celebration includes International and U.S. performances in 50 cities along with special projects, events and commemorative merchandise, including: Hallmark Ailey greeting cards; Ailey Ascending, a photographic art book, by Andrew Eccles; Ailey Movado Museum Time Piece; A Young Dancer: The Life of an Ailey Student, a children’s book by Valerie Gladstone and Jose Ivey; and an Ailey Barbie® Doll.


AAADT has performed in over 70 countries on 6 continents, becoming the most-traveled dance company and recognized by US Congressional resolution as a vital “American Cultural Ambassador to the World.”  Founded by Alvin Ailey in 1958, AAADT’s inspiring performances honor and enrich the African American cultural experience and the American modern dance tradition, uniting people of all backgrounds in a celebration of the human spirit through the universal language of dance. 


The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater engagement at BAM will be from June 9 – 14 in the Howard Gilman Opera House (30 Lafayette Avenue).  Tickets range from $20 – $85 and can be purchased at or by calling (718) 636-4100.    Program A:  “Best Of” June 9 & 11 at 7:30pm; June 13 at 2pm & 7:30pm; Program B:  “Classic Ailey” June 10 & 12 at 7:30pm; June 14 at 3pm & 7:30pm.  For more info, visit  For Group Sales rates, email, call (212) 405-9012 or go to and click on Ailey at BAM Group Sales link.

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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at BAM Schedule


Tuesday, June 9 @ 7:30pm          PROGRAM A / BEST OF

Wednesday, June 10  - 7:30pm  PROGRAM B / CLASSIC AILEY

Thursday, June 11 – 7:30pm        PROGRAM A / BEST OF

Friday, June 12  - 7:30pm             PROGRAM B / CLASSIC AILEY

Saturday, June 13 – 2:00pm         PROGRAM A / BEST OF

Saturday, June 13 – 7:30pm         PROGRAM A / BEST OF

Sunday, June 14 – 3:00pm            PROGRAM B / CLASSIC AILEY

Sunday, June 14 – 7:30pm            PROGRAM B / CLASSIC AILEY                     


PHOTOS: Click on photos for hi-res download.

To access the Ailey photo gallery, visit:

Username: aaadt2006 / Password: jamison (both fields are case sensitive)

(please credit photos)


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Toyota VENZA is the Official Vehicle Partner of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.


J.P. Morgan is the National Art of Learning Sponsor.


Citi provides major support for Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation’s

Arts In Education and Community programs.


Altria Group provides major support for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s New Works Fund.


Movado Group provided major support for the new production of “Blues Suite.”


American Airlines is the Official Airline of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.


The 2009 50th Anniversary U.S. Tour is sponsored, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts.





Hymn (1993)

Choreographed and Directed by: Judith Jamison

Text Conceived, Written and Performed by: Anna Deavere Smith

Music: Robert Ruggieri 

Hymn is a unique collaboration between two extraordinary talents from       the world of dance and theater--Judith Jamison and Anna Deavere Smith.  Ms. Jamison's tribute to Alvin Ailey is a choreographic tapestry featuring the entire Company while Smith as actress/raconteuse has gathered personal vignettes of the dancers and interspersed them throughout the work, creating a picture-biography of Mr. Ailey's loving legacy.



Suite Otis (1971)

Choreography: George Faison                                                       

Music: Otis Redding         

The timeless music of pioneering soul singer Otis Redding sets the stage for former AAADT company member and Tony Award-winning choreographer George Faison’s playful battle of the sexes.  The yearning sensuality of soul stirring songs such as “Satisfaction,” “Try a Little Tenderness,” “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” and other favorites burst through this wildly popular six-part suite of dances ripe with romance and humor.   


Revelations (1960) (Performed in its entirety)

Music: Traditional

Alvin Ailey said that one of America’s richest treasures was the cultural heritage of the African-American—“sometimes sorrowful, sometimes jubilant, but always hopeful”.  This enduring classic is a tribute to that heritage and to Ailey’s genius.  Using African-American religious music--spirituals, song-sermons, gospel songs and holy blues--this suite fervently explores the places of deepest grief and holiest joy in the soul.


Blues Suite (1958)

Choreography: Alvin Ailey                               

Music: Traditional

Blues Suite marked the launch of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at its premiere in 1958, and defined Mr. Ailey’s choreographic genius in presenting real people on the concert dance stage.  With the rumble of a train and the toll of distant bells, a cast of vividly-drawn characters from the barrelhouses and fields of Alvin Ailey’s southern childhood are summoned to dance and revel through one long, sultry night, poignantly evoking the sorrow, humor and humanity of the blues.  Dance Magazine wrote, “Blues Suite galvanized the crowd and announced the arrival of a major choreographer. The rest, as they say, is history.”




Anniversary Highlights (Excerpts from):

Phases (1980)

Composer: Pharoah Sanders, Donald Byrd, Max Roach

In this sensual jazzy section, Mr. Ailey brightly showcases femininity versus masculinity. 


Landscape (1981)

Composer: Bela Bartok

Alvin Ailey’s moody, lovely landscape of dance styles were inspired by the choreographer’s travels in Eastern Europe and the music of Bela Bartok.


For Bird – With Love (1984)

Composer: Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, Jerome Kern, Coleridge-Tatlor Parkinson

Mr. Ailey’s theme is the artist in conflict with society, as the ballet depicts the life of legendary jazz musician Charlie Parker.  In this theatrically impressive section filled with elaborate props, costumes and sets, Charlie Parker invites Dizzy Gillepsie to a club, and highlights a snapshot of the duo’s real-life relationship. 


Caverna Magica (1986)

Composer: Andreas Vollenweider

In a combination of athleticism and artistry, the male solo section of Caverna Magica glows with extraordinary jumps and turns.  This piece exemplifies perfectly the “Ailey style”—choreography featuring a combination of jazz, ballet, and modern dance.


Opus McShann (1988)

Composer: Jay McShann and others

A choreographic portrait of Jay McShann, the “great practitioner of the Kansas City jazz piano style and living legacy of Kansas City jazz,” Opus McShann conveys the various styles this jazz master exudes through his music.  From the sexy, beguiling duet in “Gee Baby Ain’t I Good to You,” to the comical meandering in “Doo Wah Doo,” Opus McShann presents the jazz doctor as a modern day African American icon with whom everyone can relate.  The original Ailey dancers who first performed this piece studied swing, lindy-hop, and the jitterbug to perfect this lively and upbeat ballet’s movement style.


Revelations (performed in its entirety)

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General Information

BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, BAM Rose Cinemas, BAMcafé, and Brownstone Books at BAM are located in the Peter Jay Sharp building at 30 Lafayette Avenue (between St Felix Street and Ashland Place) in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn. BAM Harvey Theater is located two blocks from the main building at 651 Fulton Street (between Ashland and Rockwell Places). BAM Rose Cinemas is Brooklyn’s only movie house dedicated to first-run independent and foreign film and repertory programming. BAMcafé, operated by Great Performances, is open for dining prior to Howard Gilman Opera House performances. BAMcafé also features an eclectic mix of spoken word and live music for BAMcafé Live nights on Friday and Saturday with a special BAMcafé Live menu available starting at 8pm.


Subway:                 2, 3, 4, 5, Q, B to Atlantic Avenue;
                                D, M, N, R to Pacific Street; G to Fulton Street; C to Lafayette Avenue
Train:                      Long Island Railroad to Flatbush Avenue

Bus:                        B25, B26, B41, B45, B52, B63, B67 all stop within three blocks of BAM
Car:                         Commercial parking lots are located adjacent to BAM

For ticket and BAMbus information, call BAM Ticket Services at 718.636.4100, or visit


*          *          *

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT), recently recognized by U.S. Congressional resolution as a vital American “Cultural Ambassador to the World,”  grew from a now fabled March 1958 performance in New York that changed forever the perception of American dance.   Today, led by Artistic Director Judith Jamison and celebrating its 50th Anniversary, AAADT has performed for an estimated 21 million people in 48 states and in 71 countries on 6 continents, including two historic residencies in South Africa, promoting the uniqueness of the African-American cultural experience and the preservation and enrichment of the American modern dance. Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation, Inc. is the umbrella organization which includes AAADT; Ailey II (1974) a junior performing company of emerging young dancers and innovative choreographers; The Ailey School, (1969) one of the most extensive dance training programs in the world; Ailey Arts In Education & Community Programs which brings dance into the classrooms, communities and lives of people of all ages; and The Ailey Extension, a program offering dance and fitness classes to the general public that began with the opening of Ailey’s permanent home – the nation’s largest building dedicated to dance - named The Joan Weill Center for Dance, located at 55th Street at 9th Avenue in New York City.




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