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Thursday July 7th

Alvin Ailey dance company returns to UNC with 'Revelations'

	<p>The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater perform three new pieces at Memorial Hall in 2010 and returns to Chapel Hill this week.  Courtesy of Carolina Performing Arts</p>
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The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater perform three new pieces at Memorial Hall in 2010 and returns to Chapel Hill this week. Courtesy of Carolina Performing Arts

The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has performed its classic spiritual piece, “Revelations,” for nearly 50 years. But dancer Hope Boykin said the company delivers the piece differently every year.

“People don’t feel like they’ve seen the company unless they’ve seen ‘Revelations,’” said Boykin, a Durham native who has been performing with the company since 2000.

“They start to expect a certain level of excellence. Every year we come with something different.”

ATTEND THE PERFORMANCE

Time: 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
Location: Memorial Hall
Info: carolinaperformingarts.org

The company — named after its founding choreographer — will perform at Memorial Hall on Saturday and Sunday as part of a 20-city tour celebrating Artistic Director Judith Jamison’s 20 years leading the group.

Ailey dancers have performed at Memorial Hall during three of the last four Carolina Performing Arts seasons. Boykin said this weekend’s performances will feature three pieces that are new to the company’s repertoire this year.

During Saturday’s show, the company will perform “Night Creature,” an Ailey classic set to Duke Ellington’s music, and Jamison’s new piece about relationships, “Among Us.”

Sunday night’s pieces are “Uptown,” a ballet about the Harlem Renaissance, and the new number “Dancing Spirit,” which incorporates Cuban and Brazilian dance styles.

The company will also perform “Revelations” at each show.

Both performances are close to selling out. Harry Kaplowitz, marketing director for Carolina Performing Arts, said the shows often sell out thanks to the strong dance community in the Triangle.

Marian Hopkins, who teaches dance classes at UNC, said the group is popular in part because of the flexibility, grace and strength of Ailey dancers.

“They’re very exciting; they’re very entertaining,” Hopkins said.

“Extreme athleticism has become a real hallmark of their style.”

Shawnda Herring, an academic adviser for Upward Bound at UNC, first saw the group perform last April and said that she was impressed by the dancers’ power and elegance.

“It’s one thing to do athletic movement and not look graceful. You can look at any sport and see that,” Herring said. “They’re top-notch.”

Company members will also teach a master class at 12:30 p.m. Saturday in Gerrard Hall.

 

Contact the Arts Editor at artsdesk@unc.edu.

 

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