Israeli-style gaga, a 20th-century classic by choreographer Paul Taylor, and Philadelphia hip-hop. Which is more surprising: That one dance company would perform all three? Or that the troupe in question is Alvin Ailey Dance Theater? The predominately African-American company comes to the Kennedy Center each year, but this 2012 visit is the troupe’s first under new artistic director Robert Battle. The 39-year-old seems eager to make his presence as a young upstart known. The company will perform three different programs during its six-day stand. All will end with “Revelations,” Ailey’s seminal suite set to Negro spirituals, but it’s the other three works on each program that should entice curious dance fans, some of whom may have grown bored with Ailey in recent years. Tonight’s program opens with “Arden Court,” Paul Taylor’s athletic 1981 classic. If the English baroque music doesn’t get the audience in the mood, the movement for six shirtless Ailey men certainly will. The program also includes “Home,” a new Rennie Harris piece that honors World AIDS Day with hip-hop; and “Takademe,” an Indian-inspired work Battle created when he was just 27. The alternating programs include dances by Ailey, Battle, and Ulysses Dove, plus Ohad Naharin’s raucous “Minus 16.” How well will the company perform such varied repertory? That will be the real revelation.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performs at 7 p.m. tonight and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. 1:30 p.m. matinees Saturday and Sunday. $30-$99. kennedy-center.org. (202) 467-4600.