A groundbreaking company that has forever changed American dance and culture, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater comes to the Moss Arts Center for two performances on Tuesday, Feb. 28, and Wednesday, March 1, at 7:30 p.m. Marking the first time the main company has performed in Southwest Virginia, each evening performance features a distinct and diverse repertory of new and classic works as well as founder Alvin Ailey’s masterpiece, “Revelations.”

The performances will be held in the center’s Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, located within the Street and Davis Performance Hall at 190 Alumni Mall. 

The program on Tuesday, Feb. 28, will include Robert Battle’s “For Four” (2021), featuring four amazing Ailey dancers and Wynton Marsalis’ jazz score – written in 4/4 time, and Paul Taylor’s 1964 “Duet,” set to the music of Franz Josef Haydn.

The evening also includes a new production of “Survivors” (1986), Alvin Ailey’s impassioned tribute to the profound courage and terrible anguish of Nelson and Winnie Mandela, which will be seen this season for the first time since 1988. A soundtrack of Max Roach’s richly varied drumming and Abbey Lincoln’s powerful vocals sets the emotional tone for a work that presents a portrait of people transformed by injustice and lifts up those who resist oppression in any form. 

The performance on Wednesday, March 1, will include acclaimed choreographer Kyle Abraham’s “Are You in Your Feelings?” (2022), a celebration of Black culture, Black music, and youthful spirit, scored to a mixtape of soul, hip-hop, and R&B featuring artists such as Jhené Aiko, Drake, Lauryn Hill, Kendrick Lamar, Jazmine Sullivan, and Summer Walker. Using an original composition by Duke Ellington and four jazz standards given an avant-garde twist by composer Rafiq Bhatia, “In a Sentimental Mood” (2022) by Jamar Roberts bridges the past and present, making these musical classics freshly relevant and timely.  

Both evenings will include performances of Alvin Ailey’s “Revelations.” Since its creation in 1960, “Revelations” has been seen by more people around the world than any other modern dance work, moving audiences with its powerful storytelling and soul-stirring music, evoking timeless themes of determination, hope, and transcendence. Springing from Ailey’s childhood memories of growing up in the south and attending services at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Texas, “Revelations” pays homage to the rich cultural heritage of the African American and explores the emotional spectrum of the human condition. 

These performances by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater are co-sponsored by Virginia Tech’s Black Cultural Center and are supported in part by gifts from Dr. Mark and Connie Froggatt, Ms. Ann Goette, and Dr. James M. Shuler and Ms. Margaret F. Shuler.

Related events

Film, “American Masters: Ailey”

On Wednesday, Feb, 22, at 7:30 p.m. the Lyric Theatre in downtown Blacksburg will host a free screening of “American Masters: Ailey,” a PBS documentary offering a portrait of legendary choreographer Alvin Ailey.

Discussion with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Join the artistic staff of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for a conversation on the enduring legacy and inspiring mission of dance company on Tuesday, Feb. 28, from 6-6:30 p.m. at Haymarket Theatre in Squires Student Center. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

Class visits

During their visit, members of the company will lead a dance class with Virginia Tech students, as well as a discussion about the dance company’s legacy and artistic aspirations.

School-day performance

Educators and students in grades four through seeven from Floyd, Montgomery, Pulaski, and Roanoke counties and Radford and Salem cities will attend a free performance by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater as part of the Moss Arts Center’s school-day performance series. The program was supplemented with an educational study guide to support educators’ integration of the performance with their in-class instruction.

Ticket information

Tickets for the performance are $40-$75 for general public and $10 for students and youth 18 and under. Tickets can be purchased online; at the Moss Arts Center's box office, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; or by calling 540-231-5300 during box office hours.

Paid parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street. Virginia Tech faculty and staff possessing a valid Virginia Tech parking permit can enter and exit the garage free of charge. Virginia Tech has also partnered with ParkMobile to provide a convenient, contactless electronic payment option for parking, which may be used at any parking meter, campus parking space, or lot with standard F/S, C/G, or R parking.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Jamie Wiggert at least 10 days prior to the event at 540-231-5300 or email wiggertj@vt.edu during regular business hours.

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