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Boykin joined the company in 2000 and has since toured the world, but the Durham native said there is something special about performing in the Triangle Area — a place she considers her home.

“There’s a different kind of love and respect that I find performing here,” Boykin said.

Chapel Hill will be the fifth stop on the company’s 18 city national tour that began in early February.

Mark Nelson, a spokesman for Carolina Performing Arts, said he is especially looking forward to Alvin Ailey’s performance.

“They’re an American global institute that’s the best at what they do,” Nelson said. “Having access to these artists that are only traveling to major cities is an opportunity of a lifetime.”

The company has performed at Memorial Hall annually for eight years and has developed a close relationship with CPA.

“We get to interact with them at rehearsals,” Nelson said. “They’re a phenomenal group of people that are incredibly talented.”

Freshman Tiana Petree, who studied Alvin Ailey and his legacy last semester as a part of a seminar of American studies, AMST 390, said she is also looking forward to the company’s performances.

“I’m very excited,” she said. “I learned a lot about his contribution to dance and how he paved the way for African-American dancers — he was the first to put a black body on stage.”

The company has performed for several presidents and traveled abroad as cultural ambassadors, touring Africa under the State Department.

“A lot of artists like coming here because it’s a good experience,” Nelson said. “Coming to a place where they’ve been for a long time is a comfortable, peaceful feeling and that translates into their performances.”

Boykin said performing and speaking in her home community gives her the chance to thank the people who inspired and supported her throughout her journey.

“We perform all the time,” she said. “Regardless of the piece, when you are as genuine and real and honest as you can be, each performance is blessed in your memory as a different experience.”

The company’s most popular work, “Revelations,” was inspired by Alvin Ailey’s memories from living in Texas and explores the blues, spirituals and gospel music. Boykin said the dance is her number one priority.

“It’s not just historical but a legacy,” she said. “It’s the milk in the cereal, the bread not the butter — it’s the substance.”

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