Ailey II dancers make Chicago-area debut

November 5, 2010 (CHICAGO)

"Ailey II is universally renowned for merging the spirit and energy of the country's best young dance talent with the passion and creative vision of today's most outstanding emerging choreographers," said Sylvia Waters, Ailey II's artistic director.

Alvin Ailey personally appointed the former Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater member to the post in 1974. Under her direction, Ailey II has flourished into one of the most popular dance companies in the country. The 12 members of Ailey II handpicked by Waters include Sarah Daley of South Elgin, Solomon Dumas of Chicago and Renaldo Gardner of Gary.

For their debut engagement at The Center for Performing Arts at Governors State University, Ailey II will perform an exciting, expressive program that includes Shards, The Corner and Ailey's masterpiece Revelations.

Donald Byrd's Shards is a skillfully crafted ballet combining passion and formality, which showcases his eclectic and complex choreography and is set to music by Mio Morales.

The Corner is an ensemble work that blends contemporary hip hop movement and vernacular with post-modern movement sensibility and several nods to classical ballet idiom, in an effort to reference an urban social interaction that recreates life on 'the corner.'

Revelations is Alvin Ailey's most significant cultural masterpiece. Ailey's inspiration for creating Revelations came from a variety of sources: memories of attending Baptist services in Texas as a child, interest in Brueghel's paintings, and his acquaintances with James Baldwin and Langston Hughes. Using African American traditional spirituals, this suite fervently explores the places of deepest grief and holiest joy in the soul. Since its premiere in 1960, more people around the world have seen this modern dance classic than any other work.

Ailey II performs at 8 p.m. Saturday at The Center for Performing Arts at Governors State University in University Park. Parking is free.

Tickets are $38 to $53; $29 for students. They are available by calling (708) 235-2222 or at "Web special" tickets for $15 are available online only at

People may also choose a catered pre-show, on-site Soup and Salad Cafe beginning at 6 p.m., featuring chili, soups, salads, homemade breads, coffee, tea and dessert, priced at $19 and held in the Hall of Governors Annex. Advance reservations for the Soup and Salad Café are required by calling (708) 235-2222.

A special GSU alumni celebration package is also available for this performance: $58 includes access to the on-site Soup & Salad Café plus a ticket to Ailey II Dance Company. Celebration tickets are available by calling GSU Alumni Relations Office at (708) 534-4128. For all other ticket inquiries, call (708) 235-2222 or visit

About the Dancers
Sylvia Waters joined Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1968, touring as a principal dancer with the Company throughout the United States, South America, Europe, North Africa and the Soviet Union until becoming the Artistic Director of Ailey II. In 1997, she received an honorary doctorate from the State University of New York at Oswego. She has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts. In the fall of 2003, Dance Theater Workshop presented Ms. Waters with a New York Dance and Performance ("Bessie") Award for Sustained Achievement in recognition of her outstanding commitment to young and emerging artists. In 2008, Ms. Waters received the Legacy Award as part of the 20th Annual International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD) Festival, and the prestigious Dance Magazine Award.

Ailey II Dancer Sarah Daley (South Elgin) began training at the Faubourg School of Ballet in Illinois under the direction of Watmora Casey and Tatyana Mazur. She is a recent graduate of the Ailey/Fordham B.F.A. program in dance. Daley has participated in various summer intensives including Ballet Camp Illinois, The Kirov Academy, National Ballet School of Canada, The San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, and Ballet Adriatico in Italy. She has received awards from the Youth American Grand Prix and the ARTS Foundation.

Ailey II Dancer Solomon Dumas (Chicago) began his formal dance training under the direction of Randy Duncan, Sandra Kaufman, and Anna Paskevska at the Chicago Academy for the Arts where he studied ballet, jazz, and Graham. Mr. Dumas appeared as a guest artist with companies including Momenta Dance Company, The Willingham Project, and Luna Negra Dance Theater. He performed in an off-Broadway production of Black Nativity, under the direction of the late Michael Malone and in 2006 danced backup for Donald Lawrence during the Gospel Stellar Awards.

Ailey II Dancer Renaldo Gardner (Gary, IN) began his dance training at age five with Tony Simpson. Mr. Gardner is a graduate of Talent Unlimited High School. After being accepted into the Emerson School for Visual and Performing Arts, he studied with Larry Brewer and Michael Davis. He has trained on scholarship at Ballet Chicago, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, had an internship at the Martha Graham School, and is currently a fellowship student at The Ailey School.

See Alvin Ailey II
Saturday at 8 p.m.
Governors State University
University Park, IL 60449
(708) 235-2222

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