Tue, Apr 15, 2014

Arts, Culture, Lifestyle

Alvin Ailey’s Revelations: A Cultural Treasure. “How Does One Keep it Fresh”

BY lyanne


TODAY at NJPAC in partnership with Alvin Ailey Dance Company, there will be a panel discussion on Alvin Ailey’s Revelations: A Fresh Look at a Classic.  Tuesday, 7-9pm at the Horizon Theater located in the NJPAC’s Center for Arts Education, 24 Rector Street, Newark.  This event is one of several free events held at the NJPAC leading up to the Alvin Ailey principal’s company scheduled performances for Mothers Day (May 10th, & 11th) weekend.  Revelations is one one of Ailey’s  best known  masterwork, a work which has been in its repertory since its creation in 1960. More than 23 million people in 71 countries have seen Revelations – more than any other modern dance work.

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.” 

Revelations is divided into three sections; each includes several dances representing different aspects or experiences in Baptist worship:


Pilgrim of Sorrow,” in which the dancers portray people who hope for salvation in spite of life’s difficulties. Watch for the movements that suggest reaching toward heaven and being pulled back to earth.

Take Me to the Water” depicts Ailey’s own baptism—the ritual in which one becomes a full member of the congregation—which took place in a pond behind his church. Watch for movements suggesting rippling water.

Move, Members, Move” begins as a church congregation gathers to worship. Watch for movements that suggest gossiping conversations, discomfort on a hot day, and the hope of salvation.

Ailey was only 29 when he created Revelations. Drawing on the his childhood recollections of people, places and experiences in and around his rural church, and using traditional African American blues, work songs, and spirituals as his musical inspiration, Ailey tells the story of African American faith and persistence from slavery to freedom.

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.

Revelations: A Fresh Look at a Classic, will be moderated Nasha Thomas-Schmitt, National Director of AileyCamp/Spokesperson & Master Teacher for Arts In Education, with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater company members Hope Boykin and Vernard J. Gilmore.  For nearly 55 years revelations has become a cultural treasure, beloved by generations of fans.

Please RSVP at with the subject: RSVP for Revelations. You will receive a
confirmation within 24 hours before the event begins.
FREE! Alvin Ailey Open Dance Workshop with
Rev. Eyesha Marable and special guests!

Saturday, April 19, 10am-Noon
NJPAC, One Center Street, Newark
Rev. Eyesha Marable, Founding Director of the National Liturgical Dance
Network, along with a representative from Alvin Ailey American Dance
Theater and other special guests, will present the following dance workshops:
• Ailey Advanced Class
• Adult Modern Class
• Children West African Class
• Young Children Movement That Matters


3 Responses to “Alvin Ailey’s Revelations: A Cultural Treasure. “How Does One Keep it Fresh””

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