Thursday, January 5, 2012

Alvin Ailey company returns in May

Blumenthal Performing Arts has slipped one of the most beloved names in the performing arts into its spring schedule.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will return to the Knight Theater on May 15-20, a little more than a year after it sold out a weeklong run there. A second schedule addition: The Knight will host another popular dance group, Pilobolus, for a single performance March 27.

The Ailey company's visit will be its first under new artistic director Robert Battle, who took over last fall from longtime dancer and leader Judith Jamison. The company will perform two of his works: "The Hunt," a showpiece for six men, and "Takademe," inspired by the rhythms of Kathak dance from India.

Here's what the three Charlotte programs hold:

May 15 at 7:30 p.m., May 19 at 2 and 8 p.m.: Paul Taylor's "Arden Court"; Rennie Harris' "Home"; Joyce Trisler's "Journey"; Ailey's "Revelations."

May 16 at 7:30 p.m., May 18 at 8 p.m.: Ailey's "Streams" (photo by Paul Kolnik); Ulysses Dove's "Urban Folk Dance"; Ohad Naharin's "Minus 16"; "Revelations."

May 17 at 7:30 p.m., May 20 at 3 p.m.: Ailey's "Memoria"; Robert Battle's "Takademe" and "The Hunt"; "Revelations."

We'll have more about those works in the Observer as the time approaches. But for the moment, here are a few items about them.

  • "Arden Court" is the first Paul Taylor work the Ailey company has performed, and Battle says it's done as a tribute to a modern-dance pioneer whom the late Ailey himself respected. It will also be Charlotte's first look at Taylor's choreography in a long time.
  • "Home" by hip hop choreographer Rennie Harris was inspired by stories of people living with HIV. It was premiered last Dec. 1, which was not only World AIDS day, but the anniversary of Ailey's death from AIDS in 1989.
  • "Minus 16" by Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin includes improvisation and audience participation. When Naharin's company performed it at the Spoleto Festival USA in 2007, the dancers went into the theater and pulled people onstage to kick up their heels. But they missed two prime candidates who were sitting there: N.C. Dance Theatre's Patricia McBride and Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux. Maybe things will turn out differently this time.

For details on the works, go to For tickets,


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