LED BY FRANCESCA HARPER IN HER SECOND SEASON AS ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Above: Ailey II in Francesca Harper’s Freedom Series. Photo by Erin Baiano.
1-31-2023: The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami Dade County (@arshtcenter) is proud to present AILEY II (@aileyii), the next generation of dance, for one night only at the Knight Concert Hall on February 25 at 8 p.m. AILEY II is universally renowned for merging the spirit and energy of the country’s finest early-career dance talent with the passion and creative vision of today’s most outstanding emerging choreographers. The critically acclaimed ensemble will inspire audiences with performances of Andrea Miller’s Psūkhe, William Forsythe’s Enemy in the Figure and Francesca Harper’s Freedom Series .
Tickets to AILEY II are $30, $45, $55 and $65, and may be purchased now at arshtcenter.org or at the Adrienne Arsht Center box office by calling (305) 949-6722.
AILEY II, the celebrated second company to Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater continues to expand the bridge from the studio to the stage for talented young performers from The Ailey School under the wings of Artistic Director Francesca Harper, who took her first dance steps at the school where her mother was director from 1984-2010.
This season, eight new dancers, including Miami native, Andrew Bryant, along with Spencer Everett, Jaryd Farcon, Maya Finman-Palmer, Patrick Gamble, Kali Marie Oliver, Tamia Strickland and Maggy van den Heuvel, who all trained at The Ailey School—join the five returning members Nicholas Begun, Meagan King, Travon M. Williams, Amar Smalls and Rachel Yoo.
Andrew Bryant (Miami, FL) began his formal dance training at the Young Contemporary Dance Theatre in his hometown, under the direction of Traci Young Byron. He received his BFA from Towson University where he studied under renowned artists Linda-Denise Fisher-Harrell, Vincent Thomas, and Runqiao Du. After graduating, Mr. Bryant trained at The Ailey School as a scholarship student where he performed works by Alvin Ailey, Bradley Shelver, and Rebecca Margolick. This is his first season with Ailey ll.
“I am excited for audiences far and near to experience the power and grace of these 12 superbly gifted dancers in remarkable works by a variety of powerful choreographic voices,” said Artistic Director Francesca Harper. “It’s an honor to lead Ailey II into its next era, keeping Alvin Ailey’s legacy of artistry and generosity moving forward while nurturing the next generation of performing artists on a journey of discovery.”
Andrea Miller, artistic director of Gallim Dance, is known for visceral, imaginative work and her Ailey IIdebut, Psūkhe (pronounced ‘pSEE-hee’) is no exception. This energetic full company work features unexpected partnering and complex solos set to the electronic music of Nicolas Jaar. The title is an Ancient Greek word meaning ‘life’s breath, spirit, and soul’ and is the origin for the English word ‘psyche.’
Enemy in the Figure (excerpt) is the propulsive central section of William Forsythe’s eponymous work. Originally created in Germany (1989) for his ensemble, Ballet Frankfurt, the full work has been performed in major venues across the globe. Thom Willem’s percussive electronic score was an inspiration for the work’s choreographic invention and the radical use of light and shadow in the original stage design. This excerpt puts the formidable dance skills of the Ailey II dancers on fine display, giving their craft and vitality an invigorating framework.
Francesca Harper’s Freedom Series travels through a landscape of memories creating a series of vignettes that embody and imagine a hybrid world where memory strives to influence the future. Depicted through this futuristic lens, and developed in collaboration with the Ailey II dancers, Harper’s work examines identity and community. With costumes by designer Elias Gurrola and a score featuring a blend of acoustic and electronic sounds, Freedom Series’ unexpected twists and turns bridge tender moments to its intrinsic ferocity.