Saturday, February 27, 2016

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre at the Sony Centre
Beloved by Toronto audiences, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre at last returns to the Sony Centre after a two-year absence. Heralded as America’s Cultural Ambassador to the World, the company comes to the Sony Centre to showcase the vision of Robert Battle, Artistic Director, with programming that embraces the tradition of such beloved classics as Revelations and extends the legacy in dynamic new directions. While forever true to their illustrious heritage, the company also prides itself on debuting new works by the foremost emerging choreographers. Experience the power of Ailey and see for yourself why this extraordinary company is hailed as “possibly the most successful modern dance company on the planet.”
(New York Times)

*selected interview segments with Samuel Lee Roberts ©Bateman Reviews, 2016
                                                                       SAMUEL LEE ROBERTS
Samuel Lee Roberts has been described by Dance Magazine (July 22, 2011) as “a dancer of extremes. This whirlwind of raw energy was “On The Rise” in May 2006 when he was still a Battleworks dancer…” In the same issue of Dance Magazine he exclaimed;

“I have always found it physically impossible to be still if there is music playing. Doctors today might diagnose me with ADHD…and that’s fine. Just hold the Ritalin and put me on the stage!”

At five years old Roberts would watch Michael Jackson dance and he would dance along, prompting friends and relatives to say * “You were always dancing…you would dance into the room.” He feels that dance is in his DNA – * “embedded in my soul” - and that he has been fortunate enough to be able to work with acclaimed companies, for more than ten years, including Battleworks and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. Studying at Julliard gave him the chance to meet Robert Battle during his student solo for a senior year project. After graduating in 2001 Battle asked Roberts to be a part of the company. Since that time they have created a lot of work together. In\side, a solo piece, was created for him by Battle. Roberts performed the piece in his first year with the company and continued to do so for two years before it moved out of repertory.
                                                                          SAMUEL LEE ROBERTS

As part of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre (since 2009), with Robert Battle at the helm (Artistic Director since 2001) Roberts will be performing at the Sony Centre March 4th and 5th. The program will showcase the vision of Robert Battle, with Roberts appearing in Toccata and Awakening.

 Toccata (new production – Canadian premiere) program A - March 4th & 5th, 8pm

Roberts describes Toccata as “a very jazzy ballet, high octane, very exciting and fun [and] a throwback to the good old days of jazz.”

Awakening (Canadian premiere – Robert Battle’s first new work as Artistic Director) program B – March 5th, 2pm

“Set to a symphonic score by frequent collaborator John Mackey” Awakening showcases Battle’s “taut, ritualistic style to powerful effect in a dance that expertly balances chaos and resolution, dissonance and harmony.”
Founded in 1958 by Alvin Ailey, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre was formed in order to “carry out [Ailey’s] vision of a company dedicated to enriching the American modern dance heritage and preserving the uniqueness of the African-American cultural experience…Alvin Ailey was a pioneer of programs promoting arts in education, particularly those benefiting underserved communities…” 

Ailey’s legacy continues as the company showcases work such as Revelations (a signature choreographic work by Alvin Ailey) in Norfolk Virginia to hundreds of students bussed in from surrounding areas. Samuel Lee Roberts sees the company as being true to its specific heritage as well as serving a broad demographic that * “reflects all American culture. [The company] gives people a chance to see themselves reflected onstage – the beauty of their lives, their struggles, what they’ve gone through – giving to as many people as possible – [this is] part of our legacy."


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