Dance Consortium presents
The Next Generation of Dance
Artistic Director Francesca Harper
Ailey 2 is universally renowned for merging the spirit and energy of the finest early-career dance talent in the United States with the passion and creative vision of today’s most outstanding and emerging choreographers. Dance Magazine calls Ailey 2 “second to none,” and The New York Times declares, “There’s nothing like an evening spent with Ailey 2, the younger version of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.”
For their return to the UK, Ailey 2 brings an exciting repertory featuring Francesca Harper’s futuristic Freedom Series (excerpt), Robert Battle’s thrilling The Hunt, the incredible energy of William Forsythe’s Enemy in the Figure (excerpt), and Alvin Ailey’s beloved masterpiece Revelations.
Founded by Alvin Ailey, the company embodies his pioneering mission to establish an extended cultural community that provides dance performances, training, and community programmes for all people. Since its 1974 inception, Ailey 2 has flourished into one of the most popular modern dance companies, combining a rigorous touring schedule with extensive community outreach programmes. Today, with new Artistic Director Francesca Harper at the helm, she brings fresh perspectives to Mr. Ailey’s legacy, while nurturing new creative voices and propelling the company forward.
“The athleticism of the dancers was unbelievable. I’ve never seen anything like it with pirouettes at break-neck speed in this high-octane section. Imagine the best Strictly Come Dancing professional routine ever, then times it by a million.”
Birmingham Live October 2023
“Ailey 2’s show will leave you breathless with its staggering and sensational performances. It’s bringing the best dance in the world to the UK and you’d be a fool to miss it.”
Birmingham Live October 2023
ENEMY IN THE FIGURE
Choreography, stage, original lighting, and costume design by William Forsythe
Staged with Thomas McManus
Music by Thom Willems
Lighting design recreated by Ethan Saiewitz
Lighting consultant: Francesca Harper
Enemy in the Figure (excerpt) is the intensely propulsive central section of William Forsythe’s eponymous work. Originally created in Germany (1989) for his ensemble, Ballet Frankfurt, the full work has been performed in major venues across the globe. Thom Willem’s percussive and rhythmically driving electronic score was the source of the works choreographic invention and influenced the radical use of light and shadow in the original stage design. This excerpt puts the formidable dance skills of the Ailey II dancers on fine display, giving their craft and vitality an invigorating framework.
Music by Various Artists
Costume design by Elias Gurrola
Lighting design by Abby May
Inspired by her Ailey homecoming, Francesca Harper’s Freedom Series travels through a landscape of memories creating a series of vignettes that embody and imagine a hybrid world where memory strives to influence the future. Depicted through this futuristic lens, and developed in collaboration with the Ailey II dancers, Harper’s work examines identity and community. With costumes by designer Elias Gurrola and a score featuring a blend of acoustic and electronic sounds, Freedom Series’ unexpected twists and turns bridge tender moments to its intrinsic ferocity.
Choreography by Robert Battle
Restaged by Elisa Clark
Music by Les Tambours du Bronx
Costume design by Mia McSwain
Lighting design by Burke Wilmore
Robert Battle’s athletic work reveals the predatory side of human nature and the primitive thrill of the hunt. A thundering percussion soundtrack by Les Tambours du Bronx drives the explosive movement that runs the gamut from modern sports to the rituals of the gladiators in Battle’s The Hunt.
Choreography by Alvin Ailey
Décor and costumes by Ves Harper
Costumes for “Rocka My Soul” redesigned by Barbara Forbes
Lighting by Nicola Cernovitch
Using African-American spirituals, song-sermons, gospel songs and holy blues, Alvin Ailey’s Revelations fervently explores the places of deepest grief and holiest joy in the soul.
More than just a popular dance work, it has become a cultural treasure, beloved by generations of fans. Seeing Revelations for the first time or the hundredth can be a transcendent experience, with audiences cheering, singing along and dancing in their seats from the opening notes of the plaintive “I Been ’Buked” to the rousing “Wade in the Water” and the triumphant finale, “Rocka My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham.”
Ailey said that one of America’s richest treasures was the African-American cultural heritage—“sometimes sorrowful, sometimes jubilant, but always hopeful.” This enduring classic is a tribute to that tradition, born out of the choreographer’s “blood memories” of his childhood in rural Texas and the Baptist Church. But since its premiere in 1960, the ballet has been performed continuously around the globe, transcending barriers of faith and nationality, and appealing to universal emotions, making it the most widely-seen modern dance work in the world.