Ailey II Set to Perform at Pepperdine

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

Dance company Ailey II will perform at Pepperdine University’s Smothers Theatre on Tuesday, February 26, at 8 p.m.

Ailey II is renowned for “celebrating the American modern dance heritage and preserving the uniqueness of the African American cultural experience,” Pepperdine shared in a press release.

The Pepperdine performance will feature three pieces: “Tracks,” “Where There Are Tongues” and “Breaking Point.”

The first piece, “Tracks,” was a collaboration between the dancers of Ailey II and Uri Sands, and braids together ballet, modern and urban dance techniques.

“Where There Are Tongues,” crafted in 2018, was designed by South American-born choreographer Bradley Shelver. It is “inspired by the idea that we are all in this world together, succeeding or failing as a collective,” the release stated.

The third piece, “Breaking Point,” is an intense depiction of the fight for our heart’s desire, created by Jamaican-born choreographer Renee I. McDonald in 2017.

The company, which was started in 1974 as the Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble, combines a rigorous touring schedule with community outreach programs. 

“Ailey II embodies Alvin Ailey’s pioneering mission to establish an extended cultural community that provides dance performances, training and community programs for all people,” Pepperdine shared. “Ailey personally selected the veteran dancer Sylvia Waters to lead this junior company, and as its artistic director for 38 years, she developed Ailey II into one of America’s most popular dance companies.”

Ailey II has featured works by dance masters, including Ailey, Talley Beatty, Lar Lubovitch and Donald Byrd.

“The dancers in Ailey II are spectacular beings,” The New York Times published.

“The performers’ technique and performance quality continues to be some of the best in the country,” according to The Examiner.

Tickets to the show start at $20 for adults and $10 for Peppderine students. For more information, call 310-506-4522 or visit arts.pepperdine.edu.