Cal Performances Offers a Chance to Learn a Piece From Revelations

Michael Zwiebach on June 9, 2020
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Alvin Ailey’s Revelations | Credit by Gert Krautbauer

For fully 60 years, sharing Revelations has been part of the mission of Alvin Ailey Dance Company. Performances of this classic are offered in a spirit of faith and hope that must have been hard to come by in black America in 1960 and are even more necessary now. If you’re looking for a positive sign, Ailey’s Revelations is as contemporary as it’s ever been. And now, on June 24, at 2 p.m., you can join a Zoom conference and learn a piece of this iconic classic.

Since 2002, there has been an AileyCamp in Berkeley/Oakland, presented by AADC’s local partner, Cal Performances. That camp, aimed at helping middle school-aged youth with personal development and other life skills learned through participation in dance, would have started in 10 days, but is another victim of the pandemic, just as the Company’s scheduled Berkeley performances were in April.

But Cal Performances has figured out a way to put a little revelation into the local arts ecosystem anyway. For the past four years, Hope Boykin, an Alvin Ailey dancer who retires this year, after 20 seasons with the company, has led an open workshop teaching ordinary people the choreography to parts of Ailey’s masterpiece. In tribute to her contributions, Cal Performances has moved this incredible opportunity online in a class led by Boykin. Who knows if this will be the last time this is offered, but 300 lucky participants will get to learn the “Wade in the Water” section of Revelations from a teacher who has been immersed in Ailey technique and this work in particular for her entire, notable career. And the class is free to join.

In order to join in, you have to register. This signup page will become active on Thursday morning, June 11.