CHICAGO — The renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is gracing the stage in Chicago once again.
“For me it’s always a giving back to me and thanking the city for bringing me forth,” Ailey dancer Vernard Gilmore said.
Gilmore went from dancing at Chicago’s Curie High School to the world-famous Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. He joined the New York-based theater in 1997.
“Now being there for a quarter of a century it really is a tradition in itself as far as a spiritual moment for all of our audiences,” Gilmore said.
He is one of the several current Ailey dancers originally from the Chicago area.
Alvin Ailey founded the company in 1958, preserving and sharing Black cultural experiences through dance.
His masterpiece, “Revelations,” is considered the mostly widely seen modern dance work in the world. It’s always the finale but this year’s program also features works from other acclaimed choreographers ranging from Kyle Abraham to Twyla Tharp.
“Our audiences are just as excited about the new works as they are the legacy works because they all connect, they all influence each other,” artist director Robert Battle said.
Battle calls it a celebration of the past, present and future.
“When we come and perform here our audiences in Chicago get so excited because our energy, vibrancy and electricity really connect with the electricity of this city,” Battle said.
While Gilmore said he’s proud of his progression, bringing his life to the state and continuing the Ailey tradition.
“It’s a passion, an opportunity to express yourself in a way that no other art form or way of communicating can. It gives me life.”
Alvin Ailey’s performances at the auditorium theater wrap up Sunday.