The Mesa engagement begins on Friday, March 29 at 8pm with the celebrated Company performing Talley Beatty’s sizzling Stack-Up; Robert Battle’s high-energy duet Ella¸ danced to Ella Fitzgerald’s virtuosic scatting in the song “Airmail Special; and longtime Ailey star Jamar Roberts’ Member’s Don’t Get Weary, staged to powerful music of jazz legend John Coltrane and hailed for being “as emotional as it was virtuosic” (The New York Times). Roberts calls the work “a response to the current social landscape in America” that “takes an abstract look into the notion of one ‘having the blues,” and aims to inspire audiences to transcend their own personal blues.
On Saturday, March 30 at 8pm, the program features Night Creature, a bubbly champagne cocktail of a dance that perfectly fuses Alvin Ailey’s buoyant choreography and Duke Ellington’s sparkling music; the tour-de-force solo Cry, choreographed by Alvin Ailey as a birthday present for his mother and dedicated to “all black women everywhere – especially our mothers;” and a new production of Artistic Director Robert Battle’s Juba, his electrifying first work for the Company that explores ritual and folk traditions in modern society against an original score by frequent collaborator John Mackey. Another highlight is the Arizona debut of the world premiere The Call, Ronald K. Brown’s seventh work for Ailey to music by Johann Sebastian Bach (performed by Chris Thile, Edgar Meyer & Yo-Yo Ma), Mary Lou Williams Trio, and Asase Yaa. Brown, a 2018 Dance Magazine Award recipient, describes the work, which seamlessly blends modern and West African dance idioms, as “a love letter to Mr. Ailey.”
Both performances will culminate with Alvin Ailey’s jubilant signature work Revelations, lauded as a must-see for all. Since its creation in 1960, Revelations has been seen by more audiences around the world than any other modern dance work, inspiring generations through its powerful storytelling and soul-stirring spirituals. Springing from Ailey’s childhood memories of growing up in the south and attending services at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Texas, Revelations pays homage to the rich African-American cultural heritage and explores the emotional spectrum of the human condition.