MANHATTAN — When Alvin Ailey and a small group of African-American modern dancers first took the stage at the 92nd Street Y in 1958, it was groundbreaking and revolutionary. Revelations captured the agony and triumphs of the African American experiences.
Now, six decades later, his multi-cultural dance company is still charting a new course in its 60th season at City Center.
"We want the audience to see a reflection of themselves when they see us," artistic director Robert Battle said. "We do works that that have to do with social justice. Brings to light the universal experience.”
They chart the course of the civil rights movement with hip hop.
Among those dancing in this hour-long tour de force is 24-year-old Courtney Spears, anew member this season whose dream was to join the company started by Ailey.
"He wanted to create a space where black bodies are celebrated," she said. "Celebrated, loved, valued and cherished.”
The ballet of No Longer Silent, choreographed by the company’s artistic director, tells the story of a concentration camp musician who perished. To these dancers it’s a universal theme and this company is about everybody’s struggles.
"t’s nice to be represented because I feel our lives are overlooked and our stories aren’t told," dancer Jermaine Terry said.