For many people, the coming of Thanksgiving signals that Christmas is not too far off. For others, like us, it means that Alvin Ailey’s annual season at City Center is right around the corner. From November 30 to December 31, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will be at the West Fifty-Sixth Street institution, presenting three world premieres, one company premiere, four new productions, and sixteen returning favorites. Mauro Bigonzetti follows up his 2008 Ailey piece, Festa Barocca, with Deep, set to music by French-Cuban twin sisters Ibeyi. Kyle Abraham’s three-part Untitled America, the first two parts of which debuted in December 2015 and this past June, will now be seen in its entirety for the first time. Longtime Ailey dancer Hope Boykin has choreographed r-Evolution, Dream., a large ensemble work inspired by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with music by Ali Jackson and writings recorded by Hamilton Tony winner Leslie Odom Jr. Johan Inger reimagines Ravel’s Bolero with Walking Mad, with additional music by Arvo Pärt.
AAADT artistic director Robert Battle’s The Hunt is getting a makeover, as are Alvin Ailey’s Masekela Langage, Ulysses Dove’s Vespers, and Billy Wilson’s The Winter in Lisbon, which pays tribute to Dizzy Gillespie. The season also includes pieces by Christopher Wheeldon, Rennie Harris, Judith Jamison, Matthew Rushing, Paul Taylor, Talley Beatty, and Ronald K. Brown, who will be celebrated on December 14 with performances of Open Door, Ife / My Heart, Four Corners, and Grace. There are still tickets left for the opening-night gala ($70-$90), “An Evening of Ailey and Jazz,” with Battle’s Ella, excerpts from John Butler’s Portrait of Billie, Beatty’s The Road of the Phoebe Show, Wilson’s The Winter in Lisbon, Ailey’s For Bird – With Love and Pas de Duke, and live music and a gospel choir joining in on Revelations. On December 17 and 20, “Bold Visions” consists of r-Evolution, Dream., Vespers, The Hunt, and Revelations, while several “All Ailey” programs consist of a mix of repertory classics. Saturday matinees are followed by a Q&A with the dancers, while the always greatly anticipated season finale takes place on New Year’s Eve.