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Handing over the reins at Alvin Ailey

Our appetite for the familiar is gloriously fed by Alvin Ailey’s “Revelations,” celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Our appetite for the familiar is gloriously fed by Alvin Ailey’s “Revelations,” celebrating its 50th anniversary. Scheduled for more than 20 performances between now and the end of his troupe’s five-week season, it will be shown straight, sometimes with live music including the venerable Ella Mitchell singing onstage, along with a terrific new film by Judy Kinberg in which Ailey himself, who died in 1989, can be seen dancing.

Friday’s show had a cast of 50, the usual stellar performers augmented by the members of Ailey II and students from the Ailey school, with couples dancing in the aisles. It also included two iconic 1970s works — “Night Creature” and “Cry,” lovingly performed — and a premiere: Christopher L. Huggins’ “Anointed,” a pageant celebrating the succession of the troupe’s direction from Ailey to Judith Jamison and the various powerful women who keep the vast complex going.

The dancing is fast and furious, sometimes evoking figure skaters — and the costumes, blazing red and purple, are very contemporary. The packed theater shrieked with delight.

This is Jamison’s final season in the director’s chair. Her successor, Robert Battle, contributes another premiere, “The Hunt,” to the season’s offerings. And Camille A. Brown brings “The Evolution of A Secured Feminine.”

 
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