The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre all access online initiative reaches nearly 10 million people to date with exciting programs familiar to dance enthusiasts and an introduction to artistic brilliance for others. Weekly, on Thursday, a free performance broadcast livestreams with an extension that encourages students to keep dancing.
For over six decades, the Ailey organization has brought people together through dance performances and programs manifesting founder Alvin Ailey’s belief that “dance came from the people and that it should always be delivered back to the people.” Today his mission is carried forward during these challenging times with Ailey All Access, an online series featuring free weekly performance broadcasts, Ailey dancer curated content, an assortment of Ailey Extension dance and fitness classes that has already reached nearly 10 million people since its launch on March 30. Stay connected with Ailey on our Instagram account, Facebook page, or YouTube channel.
Ailey is thrilled to offer screenings of full-length works every Thursday 7pm ET. May 14 is the streaming premiere of Artistic Director Robert Battle’s Mass, which showcases 16 dancers in Robert Battle’s signature ritualistic choreography set to a score by John Mackey. In conjunction with the broadcast, Ailey will share behind-the-scenes footage as well as a special discussion hosted by dancer Hope Boykin with Robert Battle and composer John Mackey, giving viewers a chance to learn more about their collaboration for Mass, among other ballets such as Juba, Strange Humors, and Awakening. The performance series continues on May 21 with Camille A. Brown’s City of Rain – a quietly lyrical ballet honoring a close friend that passed away due to an illness that paralyzed him from the waist down. The following week Artistic Director Robert Battle’s The Hunt will make its streaming debut on May 28.
Two must-see programs are scheduled for June starting with the June 4 at 8pm streaming premiere of a 2015 film of an Ailey at Lincoln Center performance (in conjunction with the new Lincoln Center at Home portal). In addition to witnessing the soul-stirring Revelations, described by The New York Times as “one of the great works of the human spirit,” this electrifying program features Wayne McGregor’s sumptuous Chroma, set to a score by Joby Talbot with orchestrations of songs by The White Stripes; Ronald K. Brown’s Grace, a powerful meeting of modern and West African dance with a soundtrack by Duke Ellington, Roy Davis, and Fela Kuti; and Robert Battle’s humorous, high-flying Takademe. In addition, the Thursday, June 11 at 7:30pm Ailey Spirit Gala global broadcast will celebrate virtually around the world with a one-night-only program to be announced.
Robert Battle became artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in July 2011 after being personally selected by Judith Jamison, making him only the third person to head the Company since it was founded in 1958. Mr. Battle has a long-standing association with the Ailey organization. A frequent choreographer and artist-in-residence at Ailey since 1999, he has set many of his works on Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Ailey II, and at The Ailey School. The Company’s repertory includes his ballets Ella, Juba, The Hunt, In/Side, No Longer Silent, and Mass.
In addition to expanding the Ailey repertory with works by artists as diverse as Kyle Abraham, Aszure Barton, Ronald K. Brown, Christopher Wheeldon, Rennie Harris, Hofesh Schechter, Jiří Kylián, Wayne McGregor, Robert Moses, Ohad Naharin, and Paul Taylor, Mr. Battle has also instituted the New Directions Choreography Lab to help develop the next generation of choreographers. Mr. Battle’s journey to the top of the modern dance world began in the Liberty City neighborhood of Miami, Florida. He showed artistic talent early and studied dance at a high school arts magnet program before moving on to Miami’s New World School of the Arts, under the direction of Daniel Lewis and Gerri Houlihan, and finally to the dance program at The Juilliard School, under the direction of Benjamin Harkarvy, where he met his mentor, Carolyn Adams. He danced with the Parsons Dance Company from 1994 to 2001, and also set his choreography on that company starting in 1998. Mr. Battle then founded his own Battleworks Dance Company, which made its debut in 2002 in Düsseldorf, Germany, as the U.S. representative to the World Dance Alliance’s Global Assembly. Battleworks subsequently performed extensively at venues including The Joyce Theater, Dance Theater Workshop, American Dance Festival, and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.