Arts » Arts Stories & Interviews

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Brings Its Eclectic Repertoire to the Tobin


  • Andrew Eccles

In 1958, Alvin Ailey launched his company with the goal of providing more opportunities to black talent, but he soon opened up the troupe to dancers of all racial backgrounds, continuing to promote diversity while casting based only on talent. This diversity was also extended to dance styles — Ailey was known to hire dancers with backgrounds in jazz, ballet, modern and, later, hip-hop. The style evinced in Ailey’s choreography focused on a balletic technique in the legs matched with effusiveness and modernity in the movements of the upper body, with flexibility for each individual dancer to imprint their own style and background onto each performance. Although Ailey himself was struck down by complications related to AIDS in 1989, his legacy has continued to this day, and the 32-member Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Company currently tours worldwide with an extensive repertory. Notable amongst the company’s current repertoire are artistic director Robert Battle’s The Hunt, which draws on Battle’s background in martial arts to create a primal and percussive performance by six men, and Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain Pas de Deux, a dreamlike and intimate male-female duet set to composer Arvo Pärt’s “Spiegel im Spiegel.” $36.50-$96.50, 7:30pm Tue, Mar. 28, Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, 100 Auditorium Circle, (210) 223-8624,

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