Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Alvin Ailey Dance Theater returns to Bass Concert Hall to perform iconic dances ‘Revelations’

Courtesy of Paul Kolnik
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Isabel Wallace-Green in Alvin Ailey’s “Night Creature”.

In 1981, the curtains of Bass Concert Hall rose for the first time on the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, opening for an unforgettable night of stunning and emotional performance. Forty-three years later, the same dance company returns to perform on the same stage. 

On March 2 and 3, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will make a stop in Austin for their 2024 North American Tour. Alvin Ailey pioneered crafting dances that told stories about the African American experience, changing American dance forever.

Isabel Wallace-Green started dancing at six-years-old and has performed with the Radio City Rockettes, the Dallas Black Dance Theater and now dances with Alvin Ailey.

“It’s really incredible that it was the first performance in the hall, and to return now is such a treat for me to be a part of this company that holds roots in Texas,” Wallace-Green said.

Dreaming of performing with Alvin Ailey since she was young, Wallace-Green said she still remembers the first time she watched them perform.

“My parents took me to a show when I was in elementary school,” Wallace-Green said. “One of the first things that drew me to the company as a kid (was seeing) a performance group that was primarily based with people who looked like myself.”

The dance company will perform “Revelations,” a cultural treasure and the world’s most popular work of modern dance. Alvin Ailey created the ballet using “blood memories” of his upbringing in 1930s segregated Texas during the Great Depression. 

Psychology junior Asteria Tran and biochemistry senior Madelyn Skierski said they will be attending the show next weekend. 

“Alvin Ailey is really known for ‘Revelations,’” Tran said. “It’s really popular, and I’m excited to see that. It’s a huge New York company, and they don’t really tour to Austin.”

Tran, an instructor for Texas Ballet, said she discovered Alvin Ailey through dance classes.

“I took dance classes in high school and they cover the history of dance,” Tran said. “Alvin Ailey is a really big company because it carves out spaces for dancers of color, because ballet is historically very white.

Skierski, the president of Texas Ballet, said it will be her first time attending a performance at Bass Concert Hall, and she looks forward to seeing the unique and more modern dance techniques in “Revelations.”

“I’m so used to traditional ballet (that) whenever I try to do modern things, it’s just so different,” Skierski said. “To move your body like that, it’s more free movement.” 

For viewers experiencing “Revelations” for the first time, Wallace-Green said to take it as it comes. 

“There’s no wrong way to experience a performance,” Wallace-Green said. “What connects with you, what resonates with you, maybe there are images that stick with you or remind you of your own past or identity. And, that’s so beautiful because it can connect to everyone in different and still meaningful ways.”

Wallace-Green said dance ultimately aims to convey the common human experience.

“We all experience the pain and the grief and the triumph, and of course Mr. Ailey is sharing that through an African American lens, but that’s a universal human feeling,” Wallace-Green said. “Anyone can relate to that and then can relate to the hope and the joy and the overcoming and the triumph.”


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