Explore the work of four generations of African-American choreographers who have expanded the boundaries of contemporary dance. Each speaks profoundly and deliberately to identity in different ways.
Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group
(Sat–Sun, Sep 23–24)
Award-winning choreographer Reggie Wilson makes rich, sensual, complex dances that vibrate with the layered histories of the African diaspora. His evening-length Moses(es) is inspired by Zora Neale Hurston's vernacular retelling of the biblical Moses story and combines his own experiences traveling to North Africa to understand the migration of Africans with extensive research into black culture, movement, and spiritual traditions. The result is a powerful investigation of the nature of leadership—who leads? who follows?—in our contemporary culture.
Camille A. Brown & Dancers
BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play
(Fri–Sun, Dec 8–10)
Innovative choreographer Camille A. Brown’s BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play draws on the games little girls play to tell a story of black female empowerment. Brown uses African-American vernacular forms—social dancing, Double Dutch, hand-clapping games, ring shout—to explore the self-discovery and playfulness of childhood in a work the New York Times called “by turns, clever and tender.” Brown, a 2016 Guggenheim Fellow, has created dances for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Urban Bush Women and is known for imaginative works that address issues of identity and social justice.
Spectrum Dance Theater
A Rap on Race
(Fri–Sat, Apr 6–7)
Nearly 50 years ago, two towering public figures—African-American novelist James Baldwin and white anthropologist Margaret Mead–sat together and recorded an epic and intimate seven-and-a-half-hour conversation about race in America. Now, visionary choreographer Donald Byrd and renowned playwright Anna Deavere Smith collaborate to bring that conversation into the present moment, in a new dance-theater work performed by Byrd's acclaimed Spectrum Dance Theater. A Rap on Race, named after the book published from a transcript of that meeting, combines text with movement and music to communicate the complexities of talking about race, at a time when that conversation is as necessary as ever. 'It evokes a whole roiling nation caught in the cobwebs of history...' (Seattle Times).
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
(Tue–Sun, Apr 10–15)
Under the direction of Robert Battle, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater continues to make work that "feeds the soul," mining the artistic legacy of its founder, and nurturing a new generation of choreographers steeped in the African-American experience. With repertoire that looks back to seminal works like Ailey's own Revelations, and new material that engages with vital social movements, the company creates dances with the power to transform. "The current Ailey dancers inhabit Revelations as if it were freshly made, and perform it with irresistible élan" (The Guardian, London).