BDBB: The Black Dance and Broadway Blog

Covering black professionals and professional productions in the dance and theater worlds, plus general arts news

Dance: Upcoming Ailey Season to Include Major Premieres, Appointments and a Notable Departure Behind the Scenes

(all photos by Andrew Eccles for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater)

ailey_company_slideshow_6

July and August are usually a slow period when it comes to news in the dance world. But the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has been full of news about its upcoming 2019-20 season.

So where to begin?

Perhaps the biggest news was today’s announcement that the company has appointed star dancer Jamar Roberts as the first-ever resident choreographer in the company’s vaunted history. Roberts is most familiar to Ailey audiences as the tall, powerful dancer who always amazes with his lithe footwork and pantherlike grace. But he impressed audiences and critics alike with his first major piece for the company, “Members Don’t Get Weary” in 2017.

ailey_company_slideshow_2_1 - Jamar and Jacqueline

While Roberts (shown here with Jacqueline Green) will continue to dance – thank goodness – he will debut his first piece under his new title during the Ailey company’s December season at City Center in New York. That work, called “Ode,” is described as a “meditation on the beauty and fragility of life in a time of growing gun violence,” according to an Ailey press release.

Trust the Ailey to keep it real.

As the company heralds the arrival of a new choreographic voice it will say goodbye to a huge behind-the-scenes voice – associate artistic director Masazumi Chaya. While many company alumni who were selected by and danced for founder Alvin Ailey remain close to the Ailey organization, Chaya, who joined the Ailey company in 1972,  bears the distinction of being the last of Ailey’s dancers to work on a daily basis with the company. He will be replaced by Ailey veteran rehearsal director Matthew Rushing.

The final nugget of news is what to expect next season onstage.

ailey_company_slideshow_12 - yannick

Fans around the world, including those who come to the City Center season in New York, will see Roberts’ “Ode,” which is apparently the first in a series of three works. The season will also see a world premiere by Donald Byrd and company premieres by Aszure Barton and Camille A. Brown. The new season will also include new productions of Judith Jamison’s “Divining” and Lar Lubovitch’s “Fandango.”

 

 

 

 

 

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This entry was posted on August 1, 2019 by in Black Dance and tagged , , , , , , .

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