Arts for All, Boston Community, Dance, Main Stage, Neighborhood Arts

50 Years of Alvin Ailey in Boston – Thanks for Celebrating with Us!

Words by: Alexandra Contreras
Photos by: Robert Torres

All season long we’ve been celebrating the 50-year relationship between Celebrity Series of Boston, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and the people of Boston. The celebration culminated in the company’s incredible return engagement at the Boch Center Wang Theatre last month. With a variety of programs throughout the weekend, Ailey members showcased the company’s versatility and its ability to keep innovating while staying true to the roots and legacy of Mr. Ailey. Every performance included a selection from old and new pieces such as Members Don’t Get Weary (Jamar Roberts, 2017), The Golden Section (Twyla Tharp, 1983), In/Side, Stack-up (Talley Beatty, 1982), Victoria (Gustavo Ramírez Sansano, 2017), Ella (Robert Battle, 2008), and Mass (Robert Battle, 2017). Each performance closed with Mr. Ailey’s Revelations, the iconic masterpiece that has been capturing audiences’ hearts since 1960. In three different sections – “Pilgrim of Sorrow,” “Take me to the Water,” and “Move Members Move” – Revelations evolves from the places of deepest grief and struggle in the powerful opening vignette, “I Been ‘Buked,” all the way up to the celebration of life with the triumphant finale “Rocka My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham,” which brought audience members to their feet as they clapped and danced along to the music.

We are proud of our 50-year history with the company. As part of the season-long celebration, we held several events to honor the relationship Bostonians share with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. In December, we gathered at John Hancock Hall for REVELATIONS: The Legacies of Alvin Ailey and Boston’s Elma Lewis, where we celebrated these groundbreaking cultural leaders in a lively discussion with their friends, colleagues, and some of today’s artists inspired by their work. You can watch the full discussion here.

In January, we welcomed Ailey company members Belén Pereyra-Alem, Solomon Dumas, and Chalvar Monteiro for our annual school residency program at several Boston-area schools, including Boston Arts Academy and three schools that serve students with physical disabilities: Henderson Upper School, The Cotting School, and Kennedy Day School at Franciscan Children’s Hospital. Watch a short video of the dancers reflecting on their experiences in sharing their love of dance with young people.

On Saturday, February 24, and Sunday, February 25, we hosted Ailey Revelations Celebration Dance Workshops at the Salvation Army Kroc Center Gym and Reggie Lewis Athletic Center Gym, respectively. During this weekend, 800 Bostonians joined former Ailey company member and Master Teacher Nasha Thomas as she taught the beginning of “I Been ‘Buked,” “Wade in the Water,” and “Rocka My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham” – three iconic sections from the beloved work. Watch a recap video of the workshops here!

Celebrity Series thanks the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; John Hancock Hall and our December panelists; The Peabody Foundation for support of workshops for students with physical disabilities; our Revelations workshops partners the Salvation Army Kroc Center, the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center, and Tufts Health Plan; our Dance Series sponsors The Stephanie L. Brown Foundation, The Royal Little Family Foundation, and The Cynthia and John S. Reed Foundation; our season sponsors Amy & Joshua Boger, and our many generous supporters.

Join us as we look back through our favorite photos from the celebration!

 

Jean Appolon, Shaumba-Yandje Dibinga, Sylvia Waters, E. Barry Gaither, Betty Hillmon, and Callie Crossley.

Boston Arts Academy Students with Chalvar Monteiro.

Boston Arts Academy Students.

Belén Pereyra-Alem and Boston Arts Academy Students.

Boston Arts Academy Student.

Boston Arts Academy Students.

Shaumba Yandje Dibinga and Belén Pereyra-Alem at Dorchester’s Henderson Upper School.

Chalvar Monteiro and Solomon Dumas at Dorchester’s Henderson Upper School.

Ailey percussionist Roderick Jackson with Master Teachers Nasha Thomas and Cheryl Rowley-Gaskins teaching the Alvin Ailey Celebration Workshops at the Salvation Army Kroc Center Gym.

Alvin Ailey Celebration Workshops at the Salvation Army Kroc Center Gym.

Ailey percussionist Roderick Jackson with Master Teachers Nasha Thomas and Cheryl Rowley-Gaskins teaching the Alvin Ailey Celebration Workshops at the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center Gym.

Alvin Ailey Celebration Workshops at the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center Gym.

Alvin Ailey Celebration Workshops at the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center Gym.

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