Palm Arts: Ailey II, The Next Generation of Dance, Returns to Telluride, 2/14!

Palm Arts: Ailey II, The Next Generation of Dance, Returns to Telluride, 2/14!

Ailey II, The Next Generation of Dance, Returns to the Palm for a Valentine’s Day event not to be missed!
Advance tickets for Ailey II’s February 14 performance, 6 p.m., are $45 for adults and $35 for students/children and can be purchased at or by calling 970.369.5669.

Go here for more on Ailey II.

On Monday, February 14, at 6pm, Telluride’s Palm Arts will be welcoming Ailey II – Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s second company— to the Palm stage. The engagement represents Ailey II’s third visit, having first performed in town in 2011, then again in 2018.

Ailey II is universally renowned for merging the spirit and energy of the country’s best early-career dance talent with the passion and creative vision of today’s most outstanding emerging choreographers. Founded in 1974 as a bridge between The Ailey School and the professional dance world, Ailey II embodies Alvin Ailey’s pioneering mission to establish an extended cultural community that provides dance performances, training, and community programs for all.

From 1974-2012, Ailey II flourished into one of the most popular dance companies in the country under the leadership of Sylvia Waters, combining a rigorous touring schedule with extensive community outreach programs. With Artistic Director Francesca Harper at the helm as Artistic Director, Ailey II continues to thrive as she brings a fresh dimension to this beloved company.

Harper – an internationally renowned performer, choreographer, director, and multi-disciplinary artist – is nurturing new creative voices and propelling the Company forward during her inaugural season. Harper brings fresh perspectives to Mr. Ailey’s legacy.

“Ailey II’s mission lies in generating space for human narratives expressed through the strength, grace, and versatility of the next generation of gifted young dancers. As exemplified in this year’s diverse repertory, I am looking forward to bringing in new choreographic voices and programming works that further an ongoing cultural dialogue and contribute to social transformation,” Harper explained.

In Telluride, Ailey II will be performing five separate pieces: “Psūkhe” (2019), “Searchlight” (2021), “Takademe” (1999), “Enemy in the Figure” (1989) and “Freedom Series” (2021).

A group of dancers support a central woman, guiding her on a spiritual quest to find light in Robert Battle’s new work, “Searchlight,” inspired by the relationship of Ailey II Artistic Director Francesca Harper and her late mother, Denise Jefferson. With his signature musical sophistication, Battle juxtaposes the tension of Steve Reich’s “It’s Gonna Rain, Part II” with the healing quality of Renée Fleming and Christoph Eschenbach’s “Nacht Und Träume, D.827,” finding equilibrium between the extremes just as the dancers find perfect balance in motion.

“Enemy in the Figure” (excerpt) is the intensely 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 and rhythmically driving electronic score was the source of the work’s choreographic invention and influenced 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.

Inspired by her Ailey homecoming, 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.


The Ailey II dance company is considered one of the finest troupe of young dancers in the world. The company will perform at Henderson’s Preston Arts Center on Saturday, Nov. 10.


Come see why The New York Times hailed the 12 young dancers of Ailey II as “spectacular beings” who deliver “sparkling performances.”

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