Ryan Chartrand

The Performing Arts Center will conduct experiments in alternative energy Sunday, when it hosts the critically acclaimed, highly dynamic Ailey II dance company.

Ailey II, an extension of the world-famous Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, provides some of America’s most talented young dancers with the opportunity to tour and perfect their craft before beginning their professional careers.

“They’re on a steady diet of touring and gaining important experiences,” said Sylvia Waters, artistic director of Ailey II. “They’re young and energetic, and the audience gets a tremendous sense of not only their presence but their talent as well.”

According to Peter Wilt, interim director of Cal Poly Arts, that reputation for youthful enthusiasm was the main reason the company was asked to perform at the PAC.

“We have had Ailey II perform before and it was extremely successful,” he said. “They are a group of very skilled dancers and the things they can do with their bodies are amazing.”

The event is scheduled as a part of Cal Poly’s celebration of Black History Month. Ailey was one of America’s first prominent black choreographers. He was a pioneer in the advocacy of integrated dance companies and is considered one of the most influential figures in modern dance.

Ailey created 79 ballets in his lifetime but never intended his company to be solely a showcase for his own work. In keeping with that vision, Ailey II also features dances by some top, emerging choreographers.

The group’s diverse body of work allows them to offer a unique experience for each performance and keeps prospective audience members on their toes.

“We do a little bit of everything,” Waters said of her company’s repertory. “I really try to do as much as we can to give a cross section of what Ailey II represents. People come in not knowing what to expect, but I think that when they see the Ailey company they understand. It has an impact on lives; it’s life changing.”

Ailey II was initially scheduled for only one performance Sunday, but the high demand for seats made it necessary for the PAC to add a matinee. Waters said this is not an unusual occurrence on their current tour.

Tickets for the 7 p.m. performance are sold out, but seats are still available for the 3 p.m. matinee. Students are encouraged to attend, and $8 student rush tickets will be available at the door for the matinee only.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *