Alvin Ailey Returns to Boston for 50th Anniversary Celebration

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Celebrity Series of Boston welcomes the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater back to Boston March 22-25, 2018 at the Boch Center Wang Theatre, 270 Tremont Street. The culminating event of a four-month, 50th Anniversary celebration of the Ailey Company’s 1968 Boston debut, the performances bring to audiences an array of Boston premieres, new productions of classic works, and a nightly finale of Ailey’s masterpiece Revelations, which was seen at the company’s first Boston performance and has since become the world’s best-known work of modern dance.

Company and Boston Premieres:

  • Ailey star Jamar RobertsMembers Don’t Get Weary is his first world premiere for the Company, where he has danced since 2002. Roberts calls the work “a response to the current social landscape in America,” that “takes an abstract look into the notion of ‘having the blues.’” Set to legendary jazz saxophonist/composer John Coltrane’s “Dear Lord” (1965) and “Olé” (1961), with a title inspired by a black spiritual, Roberts says the work was created to be “in line with Mr. Ailey’s vision.”
  • Spanish choreographer Gustavo Ramírez Sansano works with the Ailey Company for the first time for his world premiere, Victoria (“Victory”). Set to an adaptation of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony by award-winning composer Michael Gordon, Victoria is both vital and of-the-moment. Sansano’s work has appeared on companies around the world, including Nederlands Dans Theater, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Atlanta Ballet and more.
  • Ailey Artistic Director Robert Battle’s Mass (2004; 2017 Company Premiere; Boston Premiere) features a score by Battle’s frequent collaborator John Mackey (the 2015 world premiere Awakening). Commissioned originally for The Juilliard School, Mass is an ensemble work that gives physical life to a haunting score and showcases Battle’s signature ritualistic choreography.

New Productions

  • The Ailey program honors modern dance pioneer Talley Beatty during his centennial with the return of Stack-Up, which is set in a crowded disco and the urban landscape that surrounds it, with a background of vibrant 1970s beats by Earth, Wind & Fire, Grover Washington Jr., Fearless Four, and Alphonze Mouzon. Inspired by Los Angeles and the lives of its disparate inhabitants, Stack-Up reflects the “emotional traffic” of a community where people live “stacked up.” Beatty has a Boston connection. He was a frequent teacher at the Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts; his Talley Beatty Company was acquired by the school to become its first professional performing arts group in residence.  
  • Tony Award-winning choreographer Twyla Tharp’s The Golden Section is a sizzling ensemble work filled with breathtaking leaps, finely-honed partnering and explosive joy set to a propulsive score by David Byrne.

Returning Works

  • Where Jamar Robert’s Members Don’t Get Weary is danced to music by John Coltrane, who died 50 years before it was created, Artistic Director Robert Battle’s 2008 piece Ella was a company premiere that came to Boston in 2017, the centenary year of jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald’s birth. A tour-de-force duet is set to Fitzgerald’s virtuosic scatting in the song “Airmail Special,” Ella will be presented on the company’s final Boston performance along with two other works by Battle: Mass (described above); and In/Side, a gripping solo in which a man deals with his most private struggles, set to Nina Simone’s “Wild is the Wind.”
  • Alvin Ailey’s signature piece Revelations (1960), caps each program during the five-performance run. More than just a popular dance, Revelations has been called a cultural treasure and a uniquely American classic beloved by generations. The work is built on African-American spirituals that explore places of deep grief and holy joy. Boston audiences return annually to see Revelations and cheer, sing along and dance in their seats — from the plaintive opening notes of “I Been ’Buked” to the rousingly rhythmic “Wade in the Water” and the triumphant finale, “Rocka My Soul.”

Tickets to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater start at $35, and are available online at, by calling Ticketmaster at 800-982-2787, or at the Boch Center Wang Theatre box office at 270 Tremont Street, Boston, MA.

For the full performance schedule visit

About Celebrity Series of Boston  

The Celebrity Series of Boston was founded in 1938 by pianist and impresario Aaron Richmond. Over the course of its 79-year history, Celebrity Series has presented an array of the world’s greatest performing artists, including Sergei Rachmaninoff, Arturo Toscanini, Ignace Paderewski, Artur Rubenstein, Vladimir Horowitz, Glenn Gould, Fritz Kreisler, Jascha Heifetz, Isaac Stern, Andrés Segovia, Kirsten Flagstad, Marian Anderson, Luciano Pavarotti, Béla Bartók, Igor Stravinsky, Martha Graham, Ballet Russe De Monte Carlo, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Mstislav Rostropovich, and the New York City Opera Company.