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Alvin Ailey Theater to Tour China

The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, one of the world's premier dance troupes, has included four performances in China in its world tour this year: two at the Shanghai Grand Theatre on September 27 and 28, and two at the Beijing Poly Theatre on October 1 and 2.

The troupe first came to China 21 years ago, when Alvin Ailey himself headed the company. This will be their first performance here since that time.

The show is divided into two parts and includes both beloved classics and new or newly staged works.

Included in the program is "Cry" (1971), perhaps Ailey's best-known work. "Night Creature," from 1974, is part of Ailey's celebration of the great Duke Ellington. "Winter in Lisbon," with music by Dizzy Gillespie, was restaged in 1992 by the troupe's associate artistic director, Masazumi Chaya. "Episodes," from 1987, is a mesmerizing work depicting the power struggles involved in intimate personal relationships.

In keeping with tradition, the performance will end with Ailey's brilliant and enduringly popular 1960 masterpiece, "Revelations." In a recent review in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Kathy Janich wrote of this modern classic, "soul-stirring [and] show-stopping . . . as sassy, snappy and soulful as ever."

Alvin Ailey was born in 1931 in Rogers, Texas, and grew up in a single-parent household headed by his mother. They moved to Los Angeles when Ailey was 12, where he fell in love with concert dance on a middle-school trip to the ballet. He began his serious study of dance in 1949 with Lester Horton of the Lester Horton Dance Theater.

He formed his own company of young, black modern dancers in 1958. From the time of their first performance in New York City, word of this innovative new dance troupe spread quickly.

Ailey built that small, fledgling troupe into one of the world's preeminent dance companies, and one that has made an indelible impact on the way people view dance, the African-American aesthetic and music in America.

A living time capsule, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and its repertory mirror their country and its changes, growing from a small mostly-black troupe to a large multiracial dance company fulfilling Ailey's dream of touching everyone's heart through dance.

They have now performed before nearly 20 million people around the world. Such notables as former US President Bill Clinton and former South African President Nelson Mandela have personally received artistic director Judith Jamison.

In addition to its visit two decades ago, the troupe has a connection with China through dancer Jin Xing, who studied at the Ailey School.

The company also runs a number of cultural outreach programs, particularly for children, offering classes, camps, workshops and demonstrations.

Performance Details:


Dates: September 27–28

Venue: Shanghai Grand Theater

Ticket Prices: RMB880, 680, 500, 350, 250, and 150

Booking: (021) 5292 1134, 5292 1149


Dates: October 1–2

Venue: Poly Theatre

Ticket Prices: RMB1,500, 1,200, 880, 580, 380 and 180

Booking: (010) 6551 8181

Sponsored by New Music Entertainment Co., Ltd. with funding by Citigroup.

(China.org.cn by Chen Lin, September 20, 2004)

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