Building on the success of last season's unprecedented world tour to over 45 cities, including performances in France, Germany and the UK, Ailey II is embarking on a 32-city tour including over 20 domestic cities and international stops in Bermuda, Germany and for the first time ever, Greece.
It is truly a historic season for the celebrated Second Company of America's cultural ambassador to the world, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. On June 30, 2012, Artistic Director Sylvia Waters will retire from the company of young dancers she has led for nearly four decades. Chosen by Alvin Ailey to guide and develop Ailey II, following seven years as a lead dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ms. Waters has trained generations of outstanding professional dancers, opened the door for many of today's most vital choreographers (including Robert Battle, now the Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater) and has brought Ailey II to prominence as one of the world's most popular and acclaimed touring companies.
To lead the company forward, Ms. Waters named Troy Powell, the veteran Ailey dancer, teacher, choreographer and Ailey II Associate Artistic Director since 2003, as her successor. In August, Mr. Powell became Artistic Director Designate of Ailey II and will assume his new role as Artistic Director on July 1, 2012.
Sylvia Waters stated, "Mr. Ailey gave me the greatest gift imaginable when he created a Second Company and asked me to take charge of it. I have spent the past 37 years living with the energies and enthusiasms, the hopes and hurts, of some of the world's best young dancers and choreographers - memories I will always cherish. I'm excited to continue coaching, teaching master classes and conducting The Ailey Legacy Residency, and I can't wait to see all the new ways that Ailey II will flourish with Troy Powell's inspired leadership."
Troy Powell commented, "I'm so grateful that Mr. Ailey invited me to study at The Ailey School after I participated in one of Ailey's outreach activities at my elementary school when I was nine. I've had the incomparable experience of being touched by so many arms of the Ailey organization throughout my 30 plus years here. I was coached by Mr. Ailey and I learned Revelations directly from him. I was a member of Ailey II for two years and I performed in Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater under Judith Jamison's direction for ten years. I learned so much during the eight years I spent as Associate Artistic Director of Ailey II: watching how Sylvia worked, following what she did, listening to everything she said. It's through Sylvia's example most of all that I've wanted to embrace and continue Alvin Ailey's legacy-and I feel blessed to have this exciting new opportunity."
In recent years, Ailey II has become a renowned dance company in its own right, winning rave reviews and regularly selling out its North American tour stops and annual New York seasons. This season, the Company adds three rich new works to a full repertory of 15 diverse pieces. Newly appointed Artistic Director Designate Troy Powell brings Reference Point to the repertory, his seventh world premiere work for Ailey II. Powell delivers a cutting-edge piece that combines ballet, jazz, and contemporary dance set to music by Mio Morales. The full ensemble work features a variety of movement that is energetic and powerful at times, yet also subtle and vulnerable.
Emerging choreographer Stefanie Batten Bland's world premiere The Legacy of Inheritance fuses European and American styles into a passionate post-modern dance. Moving through and around an enormous white fabric, which takes on the form of several elements, the dancers are propelled forward by the music of Zoe Keating and Stars of the Lid. Mina Yoo's Company premiere Boulevard is an athletic piece that references a neighborhood "on the boulevard," where young people of various cultures and backgrounds interact. Originally set as an all-male work when created in 2006, Boulevard has been reconceived for Ailey II's cast of nine dancers and blends contemporary dance with the percussive sounds of Michel Macias, Hugues Le Bars, René Aubry, and Greetje Bijma.