New York's Ailey II soars at Telluride's Palm Theatre, 2/3/2011

 Telluride's Palm Theatre venue for Ailey II, Thursday, February 3

“The entire company looks terrific. Clearly, the future is theirs.” The New York Times

In Telluride, if I say "Revelation," you say, "Bowl." It's all about high-alpine powder surrounded by 13,000-foot+ peaks. Mostly right – just not this time. This time "Revelations" refers to a peak dance experience, a jubilant, soul-stirring suite that is easily one of the most uplifting ballets in the modern dance repertoire.

"Revelations" is a tribute to the cultural heritage of African Americans and to the genius of a man named Alvin Ailey, Jr. (1931 – 1989). Ailey, an African American modern dancer, teacher and choreographer, founded the world-famous Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, one of our country's boldest and most exciting troupes.

Ailey was renowned as a creator of dance that expressed his people's cultural history. "Revelations" is autobiographical. The choreography and the music are based on Ailey's experience growing up black in the pre-Civil Rights South and express intense feelings for those roots from the deepest grief to the holiest joy in the soul. "Revelations" reveals what Ailey described as "blood memories" of the blues, spirituals, gospel music, ragtime, and folk songs, as well as the hard life of the Southern black during the Great Depression.

"Revelations" is part of an evening of high voltage dance hosted by The Palm Theatre, when Ailey II comes to town, one stop on a global tour that includes 49 cities throughout Europe and North America. The performance takes place Thursday, February 3, 7 p.m.

“This is a groundbreaking year for Ailey II,” said Artistic Director, Sylvia Waters. “The Company has earned a place on the world stage, and we look forward to sharing our unique spirit, dance artistry, and choreographic works with audiences from Belfast, UK to Columbus, Ohio!”

And Telluride.

The sub-company of Alvin Ailey, Ailey II, includes the most talented dancers of a younger generation, not quite as mature in their moves as the members of the principal company, but still capable of delivering eye-popping lines and extensions. The fullness of tone that defines an Ailey body, an athletically formal grace, and a shining love of performance, qualities that have come to be associated with an Ailey dancer, is all there in Ailey II. Guaranteed that at times they will appear to defy the laws of gravity.

In addition to "Revelations,"  in Telluride, Ailey II also performs "The External Knot,"  Troy Powell's exhilarating favourite featuring music by Robert Schumann and Philip Glass. "The External Knot" highlights Ailey II's storytelling skills through the journey of a young man searching for his inner-self.

Also on the program is choreographer Kyle Abraham's "The Corner," an ensemble work that blends contemporary hip hop movement and vernacular with a post-modern movement sensibility. The piece also includes several nods to classical ballet idiom, all in an effort to conjure an urban social interaction, life on "the corner."

For further information and advanced tickets, $30/adults, $20/students, go to the Palm website or call 970-369-5669. (Tickets prices increase by $5 at the door.)

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