DC area native Alicia Graf Mack dances with Alvin Ailey at the Kennedy Center.
The illustrious Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returned to the Kennedy Center for its 14th annual opening night gala benefit and performance on February 5. The celebrated company grew from a historic 1958 engagement during which Ailey and a group of young, African-American modern dancers performed in New York City. Now helmed by artistic director Robert Battle, it has performed for millions of people around the world (including notables and enthusiasts in our area) and continues to celebrate the traditions of African-American dance.
At the opening show, inspiring dancers performed various selections including Ohad Naharin’s inventive piece Minus 16—which showcases the performers’ improvisational skills with music from mambo to techno—and Revelations, the signature Ailey masterpiece that tells a story of faith from slavery to freedom.
Company dancers from our area include renowned District native Renee Robinson, who gave her farewell performance on February 6 after 30 years of dancing professionally, and Columbia, Maryland native Alicia Graf Mack.
“The Kennedy Center definitely holds a special place in my heart,” explains Mack, who has performed with the company for five years. “It’s the place where I was exposed to concert dance as a kid, so to be able to go as an adult and perform there is sort of like a magical experience.” Tickets ($30-$120) are very limited. Call the box office at 202-467-4600 for availability. 2700 F St. NW