he Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is returning to the Michigan Opera Theater this weekend, bringing along a collection of performances, including a world and company premiere work. Each night of performances will bit a little different
“Detroit loves the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre,” Robert Battle says, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater artistic director. “Definitely when you think about equity, when you think about overcoming the difficulties of inequity, I think Detroit is no stranger to that.”
This year makes the centennial of Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie’s birth, and both artists are honored during these performances. A piece entitled “Ella,” choreographed by Battle, is a duet set to her song “Airmail Special.” It will be performed on April 21 and during the evening performance on April 22. “The Winter in Lisbon” pays tribute to Dizz Gillespie, and will be performed on April 21 and during the matinee performance on April 22.
A piece titled “In/Side,” also choreographed by Battle, is a solo dance performance set to the sounds of Nina Simone’s “Wild is the Wind”
In addition to honoring jazz greats, The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will continue to perform thought-provoking works about politics and social justice.
The piece “r-Evolution, Dream,” choreographed by company veteran Hope Boykin, was inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speeches and sermons, and will premiere during the evening performance on April 22 and will also be performed on April 23.
Another piece “Masekela Langage,” choreographed by Alvin Ailey in the 1969, looks at the parallels between Aparteid and the Chicago riots in 1968. It will be performed on April 21.
“When people see it, they’ll see whatever they want to see reflected based on their own experiences,” Battle says. “The wonderful thing about dance is that it’s non-verbal. Sometimes you can get strong messages out but not with too much conflict, because it’s left to the imagination of the audience, the individual, so that you don’t feel you’re being told how to feel.”
The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will perform at The Detroit Opera House April 21-23. For more information, visit michiganopera.org.