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Dance Spotlight: Alicia Graf Mack on keeping Alvin Ailey legacy alive

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will combine contemporary pieces with the landmark 'Revelations' at the Music Center.

March 08, 2013
  • Alicia Graf Mack in Alvin Ailey's "Memoria."
Alicia Graf Mack in Alvin Ailey's "Memoria." (Dance at the Music Center )

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returns to the Music Center in April with three programs of mixed repertory, combining contemporary works with such Ailey classics as 1960's "Revelations."

Alicia Graf Mack, who rejoined the company in 2011 after she was sidelined with an injury for three years, will be front and center in many of the performances. The dancer for the 55-year-old company talked about the engagement while on tour in Gainesville, Fla.

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What will you be dancing?

The one I am really excited about is the Ailey classics program. It allows us to keep Mr. Ailey's legacy alive. The first two acts are excerpts of his really great work, and the last one is his signature work, "Revelations."

Who are your artistic models or heroes?

I think actually one of my artistic heroes is Alvin Ailey. Even though I never knew him, I feel like I get to know him a little bit through performing his movement. I see that he was a genius not only of his time, but his works are still relevant today.

Which artist today excites you?

I have to bring it back to home. We have now a guest artist named Matthew Rushing. He was with the company for many years and has transitioned to our rehearsal director, but he performs sometimes with us as a guest artist. I love to watch him perform because you see spirit when you see him perform.

What is the last performance you went to that took your breath away?

One of the last performance that I had seen was not a formal show, it was the Ailey school performance. I got to see all the different classes perform ... and to see these young people tackling such difficult work. There was so much integrity there you almost forgot they were students.

--Susan King


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