Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Returns to Auditorium Theatre March 4-8

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Returns to Auditorium Theatre March 4-8 1 The Auditorium Theatre’s Visiting Resident Company Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returns to Chicago March 4-8, 2020 with Midwest premieres, Chicago premieres, and new productions of classic works.Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Vernard Gilmore and Sarah Daley-Perdomo, photo by Todd Rosenberg.

The Auditorium Theatre’s Visiting Resident Company Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returns to Chicago March 4-8, 2020 with Midwest premieres, Chicago premieres, and new productions of classic works.

The legendary company gives Midwest premieres to three pieces: Ode, created by Ailey dancer and the company’s first-ever Resident Choreographer Jamar Roberts; Greenwood, Donald Byrd’s ensemble work drawn from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre; and Ounce of Faith, Darrell Grand Moultrie’s tribute to teachers and mentors. The engagement also includes Chicago premieres of BUSK, Aszure Barton’s 2009 work premiered by the Ailey company in 2019, and The Call by Ronald K. Brown, a joyous mix of modern and West African dance. The company brings new productions of Ailey Artistic Director Emerita Judith Jamison’s Divining and Lar Lubovitch’s Fandango. Robert Battle’s high-energy duet Ella is also on the program. Keeping with Chicago tradition, every performance ends with company founder Alvin Ailey’s masterpiece Revelations, which has been a beacon of inspiration for six decades.

“The Auditorium Theatre is proud to have this world-class dance company as one of its Visiting Resident Companies for over 50 years, and our 130th anniversary season would not be complete without them,” says Rich Regan, Auditorium Theatre CEO. “I still remember my first time seeing Revelations, which moved me in a way that I had never before experienced while watching dance. It is an honor to present Ailey every year and to share this legendary company with the city of Chicago.”

Ahead of the March performances, Ailey offers its Ailey Experience workshops at the Auditorium Theatre’s Katten-Landau Studio (425 S Wabash) on February 1 and 2. Presented by Ailey Extension – which is now celebrating 15 years of fulfilling Alvin Ailey’s life-long commitment of bringing dance to everyone by offering “real classes for real people” – Ailey Experience workshops are open to children and adults at all experience levels. Participants will have the opportunity to study hip-hop, Chicago’s own Horton Technique, and Ailey classics. The workshops are led by Ailey Extension instructors with Chicago connections: Director of Ailey Extension and former Ailey dancer Lisa Johnson-Willingham, who also performed with Chicago’s Deeply Rooted Dance Theater and Joel Hall Dance Company and previously led dance programs at the Chicago High School for the Arts and Whitney Young Magnet High School; Martell Ruffin, a native Chicagoan who graduated from the Chicago High School for the Arts under Johnson-Willingham’s direction and a former Ailey II dancer; and Keith Alexander, a former company member of the Willingham Project and Design Dance Co. who trained in Chicago with Johnson-Willingham. For more information about the Ailey Experience and to register, visit

Ailey Programming

All programs conclude with company founder Alvin Ailey’s masterpiece Revelations, which premiered in 1960 and has been the company’s signature work for six decades. Revelations is an intimate reflection inspired by Ailey’s own childhood memories of attending services at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Texas and by the work of writers James Baldwin and Langston Hughes.

Program A (March 4 @ 7:30PM and March 7 @ 2PM) features the Chicago premiere of internationally-renowned choreographer Aszure Barton’s BUSK, an intricate ensemble work that invites audience members to revel in the fragility, tenderness, and resilience that exist within the human experience. Barton is the founder of Aszure Barton & Artists and has created works for companies including English National Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. BUSK is Barton’s second work for the Ailey company, following 2013’s LIFT. Program A also includes the Midwest premiere of Jamar Roberts’ Ode, a meditation on the beauty and delicateness of life in a time of growing gun violence. Roberts, who began dancing with the Ailey company in 2002, was named Ailey’s first-ever Resident Choreographer in 2019. Ode is his second work for the company and the first in a series of three new works he is creating as Resident Choreographer.

Program B (March 5 @ 7:30PM and March 8 @ 3PM) features a new production of Ailey Artistic Director Emerita Judith Jamison’s Divining, a 1984 work that builds on dance idioms from across Africa to create a pulsating, contemporary work; and a new production of Lar Lubovitch’s 1990 piece Fandango, which entered the Ailey repertory in 1995 but hasn’t been performed by the company in over a decade. Lubovitch, a Chicago native, was the founder of the Chicago Dancing Festival and has choreographed works for The Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and Martha Graham Dance Company, among others. Program B also includes Jamison’s emotional, sensual duet A Case of You.

Program C (March 6 @ 7:30PM) features the Midwest premiere of Darrell Grand Moultrie’s ballet Ounce of Faith, a work for 12 dancers that celebrates the lasting impact of a teacher’s influence on a young child. Ounce of Faith is Moultrie’s first work for the Ailey company, and he has previously created works for companies including Atlanta Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, and Ailey II, among others. The program also includes the Midwest premiere of frequent Ailey collaborator Donald Byrd’s Greenwood, a riveting work that draws from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre as a source and explores the story through different lenses of those who were affected.

Program D (March 7 @ 8PM) features the Chicago debut of Ronald K. Brown’s The Call, which had its world premiere in 2018. Considered “a love letter to Mr. Ailey,” The Call seamlessly blends modern and West African dance. Brown has created multiple works for the Ailey company, including Grace (1999) and Four Corners (2013). Program D also includes the return of Ailey Artistic Director Robert Battle’s sizzling duet Ella, set to music by Ella Fitzgerald, as well as Jamar Roberts’ Ode.

Student Matinee (March 6 @ 11AM), a special one-hour program for Chicagoland students in grades K-12, features an excerpt from the Ounce of Faith ballet and Revelations.

SONIA FLORIAN – International Dance Sponsor
AVISON YOUNG – Opening Night Sponsor
This engagement is supported by the Arts Midwest Touring Fund, a program of Arts Midwest that is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from the Illinois Arts Council Agency and the Crane Group.
Performance Information

Wednesday, March 4 @ 7:30PM
Program A: BUSK / Ode / Revelations

Thursday, March 5 @ 7:30PM
Program B: Divining, A Case of You / Fandango / Revelations

Friday, March 6 @ 11AM – One hour Student Matinee
Ounce of Faith (excerpt) / Revelations

Friday, March 6 @ 7:30PM
Program C: Ounce of Faith / Greenwood / Revelations

Saturday, March 7 @ 2PM
Program A: BUSK / Ode / Revelations
[Family matinee followed by Post-Show Q&A featuring Ailey dancers and staff]

Saturday, March 7 @ 8PM
Program D: The Call, Ella / Ode / Revelations

Sunday, March 8 @ 3PM
Program B: Divining, A Case of You / Fandango / Revelations

Tickets start at $35 and are available online here, by phone at 312.341.2300, or in person at the Auditorium Theatre Box Office (50 E Ida B Wells Dr, Chicago, IL). Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is part of the International Dance Series subscription, which offers a 25% discount and also includes American Ballet Theatre and the Bolshoi Ballet. Discounted tickets for groups of 10 or more people are also available.

Student Matinee tickets (for K-12 groups) are $15 and are available by phone at 312.341.2300. Inquiries regarding Student Matinee tickets may also be submitted online here.

The Auditorium Theatre also offers $20 student rush tickets to full-time college students and $5 tickets to young people ages 13-19 with Urban Gateways’ Teen Arts Pass program. The Auditorium Theatre’s ADMIT ONE program offers complimentary tickets to Chicago-area community groups.