City Paper is not for tourists
Artistic Director Robert Battle has had five seasons to leave his mark on the performers of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Although previous productions leaned traditional and slightly slow, the new works Battle’s company takes on this year meld physical experimentation with contemporary themes. Choreographer Ronald K. Brown puts Cuba in focus with “Open Door,” blending the traditions of the recently un-embargoed island with the music of Cuban-Mexican jazz composer Arturo O’Farrill. Battle pays homage to composers lost during the Nazi occupation of Europe, including Erwin Schulhoff, with “No Longer Silent,” setting a grand collective performance to Schulhoff’s “Olgelala.” In Rennie Harris’ “Exodus,” the choreographer expresses discontent with contemporary politics and taps into the “Black Lives Matter” movement by combining house and gospel music with spoken word sections. When the troupe arrives at the Kennedy Center Opera House, Battle will show it at its best. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performs Feb. 2 to Feb. 7 at the Kennedy Center Opera House, 2700 F St. NW. $49–$199. (202) 467-4600. kennedy-center.org.