Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater opening night marks return from pandemic

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- As opening night approaches for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, dancers are thrilled to return to the stage after in-person performances were suspended due to the pandemic last year.

A final run through was held Wednesday ahead of Alvin Ailey's much anticipated homecoming at City Center.

"I'm just thrilled that we are going back and getting feedback in real time from the audience, that's the secret sauce," Alvin Ailey Artistic Director Robert Battle said.

No one knew it, but the season finale on January 5, 2020 would be the last time dancers would perform on the stage, until now.

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When COVID hit, everyone stayed home, but something magical happened. Movement from where they were -- each person performed part of the masterpiece 'Revelations.' Ailey All Access was born.

"It was in a way, as my grandfather would say, making a way out of no way and because of that digital outreach, we've reach millions of people in 121 countries," Battle said.

Battle believes dance played a crucial role over the last 20 months, which were some of the most trying times we've ever experienced.

"I think the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater offers a balm, kind of suspended reality that you can appreciate beauty and that is a testimony to the fact we are still here," Battle said.
He pushed not only himself creativity, but the dancers.

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"That friction of getting outside of one's comfort zone is often the thing we define as electricity on the stage," Battle said.

This is his 10th year as artist director. Normally modest, Battle tells Eyewitness News he's finally ready to accept the much-deserved accolades, keeping in mind the sky's the limit.

"I'm still challenged by this job, but I'm still inspired by the dancers and seeing them, who choose to get to live out their dreams on stage and tell their stories," Battle said.


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