Author: Jill Kimball

Ailey II brings innovative, youthful and passionate dance to Boulder

Alvin Ailey’s second company boasts ‘wow factor aplenty’.

“Wow factor aplenty,” says Herald Scotland. “Second to none,” gushes Dance Magazine. “The entire company … looks terrific,” proclaims The New York Times.

It’s impressive for any dance company to amass such effusive acclaim. But it’s downright awe-inspiring for a company whose members aren’t even old enough to rent a car.

Formed in 1974 by dance legend Alvin Ailey himself, Ailey II was founded to give promising students at The Ailey School a chance to tour brand-new works and get a taste of life as a professional dancer. Forty-five years later, the company’s reputation is unmatched by any other junior company in the world. Boulder audiences have a chance to see them live on Saturday, Feb. 17 at Macky Auditorium.

“These dancers are young, hungry and passionate,” says Ailey II Artistic Director Troy Powell. “Every time the curtain opens, they continue to celebrate Mr. Ailey’s legacy by telling their own stories in the most humanistic and honest way.”

At the center of the Boulder performance is “Revelations,” widely considered to be Alvin Ailey’s masterpiece. Choreographed in 1960, at the dawn of the civil rights movement, the piece is an homage to African Americans’ perseverance through hundreds of years of adversity. Through a soundtrack of religious music and movement that’s at once strong and ethereal, “Revelations” explores the pain, joy and hope that African Americans have all experienced. Nearly 60 years later, the work’s themes resonate as clearly as ever.

“‘Revelations’ was born from Mr. Ailey’s blood memories of growing up in Rogers, Texas, where he experienced racism, poverty and other hardships,” Powell says. “He always wanted to touch others’ lives by sharing the story of his.”

Also on the program is “Circular” by Jae Man Joo, a contemporary ballet about the complex range of human emotions and the power of unity, and “Breaking Point” by Renee I. McDonald, an intense modern piece.

“It will have the audience on the edge of their seats,” Powell says. “It captures the fight for our heart’s desires—whether it’s love, hope or just the need to survive. It’s about constantly fighting and reaching for something until you hit that ‘breaking point.’”

The company’s pieces all share a common thread of relatability, covering themes anyone from any background can understand. And it’s certain Alvin Ailey would approve: He once said, “Dance is for everybody. I believe that the dance came from the people and that it should always be delivered back to the people.”

More Artist Series events View all events

Chick Corea Trilogy

Loading
Oct 9, 2019

Chick Corea Trilogy

with Christian McBride and Brian Blade
Full price: $22-$87

The legendary Chick Corea brings his Grammy-winning acoustic trio to Boulder. Powerhouse bassist Christian McBride and drum master Brian Blade join Ch...

Nobuntu

Loading
Oct 30, 2019

Nobuntu

Full price: $20-$66

"Nobuntu"—an expression meaning feminine familial love, humility and kindness—is a female a cappella quintet from Zimbabwe that has drawn ...

Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano

Loading
Nov 19, 2019

Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano

Beethoven the Avant-gardist
Full price: $20-$66

Hailed as "a brilliant musician and an extraordinary visionary” (Wall Street Journal), world-renowned pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard is as recogn...

Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy

Loading
Dec 17, 2019

Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy

A Celtic Family Christmas
Full price: $22-$87

The holidays truly become a family affair when married duo Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy—two of the globe's best and brightest fiddle play...

Cirque Mechanics

Loading
Jan 17, 2020

Cirque Mechanics

42FT – A Menagerie of Mechanical Marvels
Full price: $20-$66

Cirque Mechanics' latest theatrical invention brings the lore of the one-ring circus to historic Macky Auditorium. With exhilarating thrills, death-de...

More Dance events View all events

[UN] W.R.A.P. Dances That Don't Look Like Dances

Loading
Full price: $20

The New York Times hailed Brian Rogers' dance film "Screamers" as "a movie that creeps to its own choreographic beat" and declared Michelle Ellsworth'...

Sans Souci: Festival of Dance Cinema

Loading
Sep 20-21, 2019

Sans Souci: Festival of Dance Cinema

Curated by CU Dance faculty and alumni

SSFDC screens an eclectic selection of the season’s best dance cinema shorts from around the world. From the highly produced to the highly exper...

re-membering

Loading
Oct 4-6, 2019

re-membering

An MFA dance concert
Full price: $16

MFA Dance candidates Taylor Madgett and Kshitija Saturdekar reverberate and rebound between rhythmic forms—including classical and contemporary ...

Lacunae

Loading
Oct 25-27, 2019

Lacunae

An MFA dance concert
Full price: $16

MFA Dance candidates Kristen Holleyman, Gretchen LaBorwit and Kelley Ann Walsh use the spiral, gesture and drive of bodies to craft a collision of apo...

Catapult

Loading
Jan 31-Feb 2, 2020

Catapult

A BFA dance concert
Full price: $16

BFA candidates Hattie Houser, Attiyya Fortuné and Sami Scovel craft works that attack, float and reverberate, as they map intergenerational nar...