When Alvin Ailey founded Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1958, there weren’t many opportunities for black dancers. "Alvin Ailey wanted to change that so he started the company. It represents a kind of movement not just in terms of dance, but in terms of transforming the country," says artistic director Robert Battle.
Just in time for Black History Month, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater comes to Philadelphia’s Merriam Theater on Feb. 3 and 4 to perform inspiring pieces that reflect on the past and look forward to the future. Battle chats with us about the MLK-inspired “Revolution Dream,” the dance performance that “awakened” him on his creative path and why the arts matter now more than ever.
There are different programs being performed each day. How does that work?
There are so many different works in the repertoire that you can’t do them all in one night in one week. So we try to give a variety of options for people. If you can, I think it’s wise to attend both programs because you get to see the versatility of the dancers.