Renowned Second Company to Perform Two Thrilling Programs, Poetic Motion and Empowered, Featuring Premiere of mediAcation by Elizabeth Roxas-Dobrish and New Production of Alvin Ailey’s The Lark Ascending
(Black PR Wire) NEW YORK — Ailey II, the renowned second company to Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, will return to its home, The Ailey Citigroup Theater, for a highly anticipated two-week season—the second led by Artistic Director Francesca Harper—featuring 14 exhilarating performances from March 22- April 2. The gifted ensemble of rising stars will treat audiences to two dynamic programs, Poetic Motion and Empowered, spotlighting works by founder Alvin Ailey, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Artistic Director Robert Battle, William Forsythe, Francesca Harper, Andrea Miller, and former Ailey Company member Elizabeth Roxas-Dobrish.
For over four decades, Ailey II has merged the spirit and energy of the country’s best early-career dance talent with the passion and artistry of today’s most outstanding choreographers. Founded in 1974 as a bridge between The Ailey School and the professional dance world, the company embodies Alvin Ailey’s pioneering mission to establish an extended cultural community that provides dance performances, training, and community programs for all people.
“After a successful U.S. tour, I am thrilled for New York audiences to witness the grace, strength, and versatility of the Ailey II dancers that will bring joy to hearts and inspire,” said Artistic Director Francesca Harper. “The two programs will highlight richly diverse works from treasured classics to contemporary favorites; there’s something for everyone.”
The Ailey Citigroup Theater engagement opens on Wednesday, March 22 at 7:30pm with Poetic Motion, dedicated to the heart of the creative process and the poetry that lives in the mind of an artist. The program showcases Elizabeth RoxasDobrish’s new work mediAcation, which explores relationships and the nuances of communication; new production of Alvin Ailey’s The Lark Ascending (excerpt), a lyric and romantic dance choreographed in 1972 to music by Ralph Vaughan Williams’s Romance for Violin and Orchestra; and two extended audience favorites Robert Battle’s Alleluia, a work that seamlessly meshes the foot stomping and hand gestures of the Baptist Church with classical Baroque idioms; and William Forsythe’s Enemy in the Figure (excerpt), set to Thom Willem’s percussive and rhythmically driving electronic score, which is the source of the works choreographic invention and influenced the radical use of light and shadow in the original stage design. Poetic Motion highlights the full breadth of Ailey II’s expression that features the sensitivity of Mr. Ailey, the athleticism of Battle, the audacity of Forsythe, and the innovative mind of Roxas-Dobrish.
Empowered, a program designed to leave the audience on the edge of their seats, premieres on Thursday, March 23 at 7:30pm. From the cinematic wonderment of Andrea Miller’s Psūkhe (pronounced 'pSEE-hee'), an energetic full company work featuring unexpected partnering and complex solos set to the electronic music of Nicolas Jaar; to the daring physicality of William Forsythe’s Enemy in the Figure; to the Afro-futuristic lens of Francesca Harper’s Freedom Series, the unexpected twists and turns take audiences on an evocative journey that awakens curiosity and encourages valiance.
The dancers of Ailey II come from near (Brooklyn natives Meagan King and Amar Smalls as well as Queens native Patrick Gamble) and far (Canadian company member Spencer Everett ), and New Yorkers have 14 chances to see why The New York Times says, “There’s nothing like an evening spent with Ailey II.” Tickets starting at $59 are on sale now and can be purchased at www.alvinailey.org/aileyinnyc or by phone at 212-405-9082. Detailed schedule below.
Ahead of the company’s engagement, all are invited to tap into their creativity during a Masterclass with Francesca Harper at Ailey Extension on Saturday, March 18 at 3pm. Throughout this contemporary ballet workshop Harper will teach dancers of all experience levels new creative tools to implement in their artistic process. Participants will learn to find pleasure in movement while refining their technique.
Let Ailey II’s performances inspire you to get moving this spring for FREE in one of Ailey Extension’s “real classes for real people.” Ailey’s Ticket to Dance promotion gives new and returning students a chance to trade their performance ticket for a complimentary dance or fitness class of their choice. With over 50 classes a week available in-studio and online in a wide variety of techniques such as hip-hop, ballet, West African, NY Style Mambo, Pilates, and Horton—the signature technique seen in many of Alvin Ailey’s classic works—Ailey Extension makes dance accessible to people of all ages, backgrounds, and experience levels. Ticket holders for Ailey II’s 2023 New York engagement have until July 31, 2023 to take advantage of this exclusive offer. Please visit alvinailey.org/extension to view the schedule of classes or to sign up and learn more about the program.
The upcoming New York season comes on the heels of the company’s U.S. tour and a recent welcome by Mayor Eric Adams and Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) Commissioner Laurie Cumbo to City Hall for the inauguration of an installation of 15 photographs documenting the Ailey Moves NYC! initiative. Hung in the City Hall rotunda, conference rooms, and workspaces throughout the executive side of the building, the photos depict the lively, free outdoor dance performances and classes reaching audiences in all of New York City’s five boroughs in summer 2022. The installation will remain on view for six months, marking the beginning of a broader initiative to celebrate the city’s diversity and bring artwork to city buildings across the boroughs. Click here for photo of Francesca Harper, Mayor Adams, Robert Battle and Laurie Cumbo with Ailey II dancers in City Hall for the announcement of the AileyMovesNYC! photography installation.
All programs are approximately 90 minutes, including two intermissions.
Alleluia/ The Lark Ascending/ MediAcation / Enemy in the Figure
Wednesday, March 22 at 7:30pm
Friday, March 24 at 7:30pm
Sunday, March 26 at 3pm
Sunday, March 26 at 7:30pm
Thursday, March 30 at 7:30pm
Saturday, April 1 at 2pm
Saturday, April 1 at 7:30pm
Psūkhe / Enemy in the Figure / Freedom Series
Thursday, March 23 at 7:30pm Saturday, March 25 at 2pm
Saturday, March 25 at 7:30pm
Wednesday, March 29 at 7:30pm
Friday, March 31 at 7:30pm
Sunday, April 2 at 3pm
Sunday, April 2 at 7:30pm
Visit www.alvinailey.org/about/ailey-ii for more information on Ailey II. To enjoy a variety of digital content, follow Ailey II on Facebook and Instagram. Press can visit pressroom.alvinailey.org/ailey-ii for bios, hi-res downloadable photos and b-roll.
Masks are encouraged, but not required to attend the performance at the Ailey Citigroup Theater. Ailey is committed to following the latest health and safety protocols established by the CDC, local government, and unions. For the latest updates, please visit alvinailey.org/covid.
Ailey II is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, as well as by American Express.
About Ailey II
Ailey II—Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's second company—is universally renowned for merging the spirit and energy of the country’s best early-career dance talent with the passion and creative vision of today’s most outstanding emerging choreographers. Founded in 1974 as a bridge between The Ailey School and the professional dance world, Ailey II embodies Alvin Ailey’s pioneering mission to establish an extended cultural community that provides dance performances, training, and community programs for all people. Ailey II flourished into one of the most popular dance companies in the country under the leadership of Sylvia Waters from 1974-2012, combining a rigorous touring schedule with extensive community outreach programs. With Artistic Director Francesca Harper at the helm, Ailey II continues to thrive as she brings a fresh dimension to this beloved company. For more information, visit www.alvinailey.org/ailey-ii.