Ailey 2 is universally renowned for merging the spirit and energy of the country’s finest early-career dance talent in the United States with the passion and creative vision of today’s most outstanding and emerging choreographers. Dance Magazine calls Ailey 2 “second to none,” and The New York Times declares “There’s nothing like an evening spent with Ailey 2, the younger version of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.”
For their return to the UK, Ailey 2 brings an exciting repertory featuring Francesca Harper’s futuristic Freedom Series (excerpt), Robert Battle’s thrilling The Hunt, the incredible energy of William Forsythe’s Enemy in the Figure (excerpt), and Alvin Ailey’s beloved masterpiece Revelations.
Founded by Alvin Ailey, the company embodies his pioneering mission to establish an extended cultural community that provides dance performances, training, and community programs for all people. Since its 1974 inception, Ailey 2 has flourished into one of the most popular modern dance companies, combining a rigorous touring schedule with extensive community outreach programs. Today, with new Artistic Director Francesca Harper at the helm, she brings fresh perspectives to Mr. Ailey’s legacy, while nurturing new creative voices and propelling the company forward.
Enemy in the Figure (excerpt) is the intensely propulsive central section of William Forsythe’s eponymous work. Originally created in Germany (1989) for his ensemble, Ballet Frankfurt, the full work has been performed in major venues across the globe. Thom Willem’s percussive and rhythmically driving electronic score was the source of the work’s choreographic invention and influenced the radical use of light and shadow in the original stage design. This excerpt puts the formidable dance skills of the Ailey 2 dancers on fine display, giving their craft and vitality an invigorating framework.
Inspired by her Ailey homecoming, Francesca Harper’s Freedom Series travels through a landscape of memories creating a series of vignettes that embody and imagine a hybrid world where memory strives to influence the future. Depicted through this futuristic lens, and developed in collaboration with the Ailey 2 dancers, Harper’s work examines identity and community. With costumes by designer Elias Gurrola and a score featuring a blend of acoustic and electronic sounds, Freedom Series’ unexpected twists and turns bridge tender moments to its intrinsic ferocity.
Robert Battle’s athletic work reveals the predatory side of human nature and the primitive thrill of the hunt. A thundering percussion soundtrack by Les Tambours du Bronx drives the explosive movement that runs the gamut from modern sports to the rituals of the gladiators in Battle’s The Hunt.
Using African-American spirituals, song-sermons, gospel songs and holy blues, Alvin Ailey’s Revelations fervently explores the places of deepest grief and holiest joy in the soul. 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.
Images: Main image – Ailey 2 in Alvin Ailey’s Revelations. Photo by Eduardo Patino. Gallery – Ailey 2 in Alvin Ailey’s Revelations. Photos by Nir Arieli; Ailey 2 in Francesca Harper’s Freedom Series. Photo by Erin Baiano; Ailey 2 in Robert Battle’s The Hunt. Photo by Nan Melville; Ailey 2 in William Forsythe’s Enemy in the Figure. Photos by Erin Baiano.
Tickets from £16Prices and discounts subject to change
Approximately 2 hours including two intervals
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The New Yorker
"The entire company looks terrific. Clearly, the future is theirs"
The New York Times
"Second to none"