Ailey II- the next generation of dance- to perform at Wallace State Feb. 11

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Photo: Ailey II 2019-20 Poster Image. Kyle H. Martin. Photo by Nir Arieli

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – Over the next six months Ailey II is traveling around the globe inspiring audiences in more than 30 cities. The tour will take the acclaimed 12-member ensemble of rising stars across the U.S. from Towson, Maryland to Atlanta, to St. Louis and to Hanceville.

Tickets to the public performance at Wallace State Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m. are available at www.wallacestate.edu/ailey2 or by calling 256-352-8277.  Through Jan. 15, tickets range from $20 and $25. Prices after Jan. 15 are $25 to $30.

The group will also reach international audiences in Germany, France and Italy before returning home for its annual New York season, taking place March 25 – April 5, 2020 at Ailey Citigroup Theater.

Ailey II, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s junior company that serves as a bridge between The Ailey School and the professional dance world, is universally renowned for merging the spirit and energy of the country’s best young dance talent with the passion and creative vision of today’s most promising emerging choreographers.

“This is one of the top companies in the nation, so the importance of their performance here almost cannot be over stated.  This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for many of our patrons and students. We think it’s a must see for anyone interested in the arts,” said Brooke Desnoes, Wallace State Dance instructor and director of the college’s Allegro Dance Theatre.

Continuing Alvin Ailey’s mission of bringing dance to the people, Ailey II’s world tour will feature an educational outreach component offering a variety of special activities, including master classes, student performances, and lecture-demonstrations.

“The Ailey company is one of the forerunners in community outreach.  It’s an extraordinary opportunity for our young dancers to be able to witness the demonstration and participate in a master class put on by such a professional, renowned company,” she said.

A master class with members of the Ailey II company has been scheduled for the morning of Tuesday, Feb. 11 at 11 a.m. in the Wallace State Wellness Center Dance Studio. Advanced or intermediate dance students interested in participating should contact Desnoes at brooke.desnoes@wallacestate.edu or 256-352-8153. Class size is limited to 30 and the cost is $50.

On Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 9:30 a.m., the Ailey II company will hold a lecture/demonstration in the Betty Leeth Haynes Theatre.  This event is open to children as well as adults. Attendance for this intimate event is limited to the first 60 registrants. The tickets are $15. Contact at brooke.desnoes@wallacestate.edu or 256-352-8277 for reservations.

The Ailey 2 visit to Wallace State is supported in part by the Wallace State Future Foundation.

Tickets to the public performance at Wallace State on Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m. are available at www.wallacestate.edu/ailey2 or by calling 256-352-8277.  Through Jan. 15, tickets range from $20 and $25. Prices after Jan. 15 are $25 to $30.

Under the artistic direction of Troy Powell, Ailey II’s repertory includes a diverse array of ballets created by innovative choreographers. In addition to repertory favorites, four world premieres gracing the stage this season include former Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater member Kirven Douthit-Boyd’s “Still,” former Ailey II Rehearsal Director Alia Kache’s “The Gone,” Ailey company member Yannick Lebrun’s “Saa Magni” and Artistic Director of Gallim Dance Andrea Miller’s “Psūkhe.”

“For over four decades Ailey II has opened doors and opportunities for young artists yearning to grow,” said Troy Powell. “I am excited this season to bring on board four choreographers who have had strong ties to The Ailey School, which is now celebrating 50 years of excellence. These four dynamic new commissions will showcase the School’s world-class training and spotlight Ailey II’s athleticism, artistry, and agility.”

The Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and early 30s produced a flowering of art, music, and writing by Black lesbians and gay men who were forced to live their lives in secret. In the world premiere work “Still,” former Ailey dancer Kirven Douthit-Boyd shines a light on these artists with a present-day response that captures the vibrant energy that filled the streets during this historic era. With a mix of modern and contemporary movement, this ensemble work is set to an original score by Lamar Harris that has influences from jazz, hip-hop, and world music.

A heartfelt love letter to ones lost, former Rehearsal Director Alia Kache makes her Ailey II choreographic debut with “The Gone.” This sextet embraces her unique style of movement – a fusion of ballet, Forsythe, Graham, Hawkins, and Horton – which is wonderfully paired with the soulful music of singer-songwriter Be Steadwell.

In the intimate “Saa Magni” (pronounced ‘SAH MAHg-knee’) – the title means “death is terrible” – Ailey company member Yannick Lebrun delivers a passionate duet filled with the angst and fear that comes along with the mourning process. One dancer portrays a lamented soul while the other provides strength and solace. Set to music by Malian singer Oumou Sangaré, Lebrun’s movement is long and reaching with striking lines and full-bodied lifts.

Artistic Director of Gallim Andrea Miller, known for her visceral and imaginative work, makes her Ailey II debut with her ballet “Psūkhe” (pronounced ‘pSEE-hee’). This energetic full company features unexpected partnering and complex solos set to the electronic music of Nicolas Jaar. The title is an Ancient Greek word meaning ‘life’s breath, spirit, and soul’ and is the origin for the English word ‘psyche.’

In addition, four new dancers who all trained extensively at The Ailey School – Elijah Lancaster, Jamaris Mitchell, Jeffrey Robert Robinson II, and Brena Thomas – join the eight returning members –Grace Bergonzi, Leonardo Brito, Carl Ponce Cubero, Caroline Theodora Dartey, Amarachi Valentina Korie, Kyle H. Martin, Alisha Rena Peek, and Marcel Wilson, Jr. Along with the four world premieres, Ailey II’s touring repertory will include “Breaking Point” by Renee McDonald, “Road To One” by Darrell Grand Moultrie, “Touch & Agree” by Juel D. Lane, and additional works by members of the Ailey family – “Where There are Tongues” by Ailey School alum and former Ailey II dancer Bradley Shelver, “Track”s by former Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater member Uri Sands, and “Revelations” – the must-see American masterpiece by Alvin Ailey himself. For more information on the tour, visit alvinailey.org.

About Ailey II

Ailey II – Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s second company – is universally renowned for merging the spirit and energy of the country’s best young dance talent with the passion and creative vision of today’s most outstanding emerging choreographers. Founded in 1974 as a bridge between The Ailey School and the professional dance world, Ailey II embodies Alvin Ailey’s pioneering mission to establish an extended cultural community that provides dance performances, training, and community programs for all people. Ailey II flourished into one of the most popular dance companies in the country under the leadership of Sylvia Waters from 1974-2012, combining a rigorous touring schedule with extensive community outreach programs. With Artistic Director Troy Powell at the helm, Ailey II continues to thrive as he brings a fresh dimension to this beloved company.

Ailey II in Alvin Ailey’s “Revelations” (Photo by Nir Arieli)