If ever there was a “cultural ambassador” Chicago could call our own, it’s the beloved Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. The world renowned and resplendently talented company of diversely gifted dancers has performed for an estimated 25 million people in 71 countries on 6 continents—as well as millions more through television broadcasts, film screenings, and online platforms—promoting the uniqueness of the African American cultural experience and the preservation and enrichment of the American modern dance tradition.
Certainly the company is famously based in New York City, but we can call Alvin Ailey our own simply because the company has chosen to “reside” here in the Windy City nearly every spring and gift us with highly personal and profoundly important performances when they do. Their Chicago “home” is the historic Auditorium Theatre (50 E. Ida B. Wells Drive), and the venue proudly welcomes the return of the company this spring for six performances this winter from March 8-12, 2023 as part of a 22-city North American tour. Under the acclaimed artistic direction of Robert Battle, Ailey’s renowned artists will move audiences this March with three distinct mixed repertory programs highlighting new works from celebrated choreographers, along with beloved repertory favorites.
“For over five decades, the Auditorium Theatre has proudly presented the iconic Alvin Ailey American DanceTheater as one of its visiting resident companies,” said Auditorium Theatre CEO Rich Regan. “This annual Spring visit has become a highly anticipated tradition and treasure on Chicago’s arts calendar.
As our own cultural ambassadors, we’ve come to know a little about what we can expect from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater when they embark upon their annual Chicago residency. There is always something new, something familiar and something harkening to the storied and regal tradition that comprises the Alvin Ailey legacy. This season’s repertory is no different. Throughout the engagement this winter, audiences will witness the Chicago premieres of Kyle Abraham’s Are You in Your Feelings?, a celebration of Black culture scored to a ‘mixtape’ of soul, hip-hop, and R&B, and Jamar Roberts’ In A Sentimental Mood, an intimate duet using an original composition by Duke Ellington. Audiences will also be treated to the recent company premieres from Alvin Ailey peer choreographers Paul Taylor, with the simplicity and beauty of DUET; and Twyla Tharp, seen in her rollicking best in Roy’s Joys; as well as a new production of Ailey’s 1986 impassioned tribute to Nelson and Winnie Mandela, Survivors. As is tradition, Alvin Ailey’s American masterpiece, Revelations, which has inspired generations through its powerful storytelling and soul-stirring spirituals since its creation in 1960, will serve as the finale for all performances.
“I am excited to see the brilliance of Ailey’s dancers back on the Auditorium Theatre stage in this season’s repertory filled with some of Alvin Ailey’s most memorable works while premiering choreography by Kyle Abraham and Jamar Roberts that explore Black culture and love through soulful and inventive musical journeys,” said Artistic Director Robert Battle. “For decades, we’ve been proud to bring to Chicagoans our vision of resilience, artistry and spirit, using dance to inspire, entertain and share the joy of connections.”
And audiences here will revel in another opportunity to welcome back our own Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, deepening the connections they’ve made with our city for half a century.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Company returns to the Auditorium Theatre this winter March 8 – 12, 2023. Visit auditoritumtheatre.org for tickets or to learn more.