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–RockaYourSoul: LA’s Celebration of Gospel, Dance and Ailey Lets Angelenos Express Themselves in Dance, Song and Visual Arts–

‘Wade in the Water,’ Dancing Right in Grand Park’s Fountain (screenshot courtesy of www.grandparkla.org)

‘Wade in the Water,’ Dancing Right in Grand Park’s Fountain (screenshot courtesy of www.grandparkla.org)

LOS ANGELES (April 6, 2013) – Visitors to Grand Park today celebrated the rich heritage and traditions of African American culture at RockaYourSoul:  LA’s Celebration of Gospel, Dance and Ailey, presented by The Music Center.  This first-of-its-kind multi-dimensional festival treated park visitors of all ages to free workshops in dance, music and the arts, taught by master teaching artists from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and The Music Center.

As a powerful conclusion to the event, more than 2,000 park visitors joined together in a colorful grand participatory public recreation of Alvin Ailey’s seminal work, Revelations, on the park’s Performance Lawn.  Guests also enjoyed musical performances by some of Los Angeles’ renown choirs, including The Spirit Chorale of Los Angeles, the L.A. Inner City Mass Choir, the Colburn Children’s Choir and the Colburn Young Men’s Chorus.

“With RockaYourSoul, Angelenos expressed their own creativity in multiple ways, with Ailey’s timeless classic Revelations as the centerpiece,” said Ming Ng, director of programming for The Music Center.  “Grand Park became the place to rock your soul by dancing, singing and creating art, celebrating hope and honoring the human spirit.”

“It is very meaningful that this special festival in Grand Park offered such a unique and engaging connection to the music, choreography and spirit of Alvin Ailey’s Revelations, a must-see dance, created by a former Angeleno, that has been connecting to hearts and minds around the world for more than five decades,” said Robert Battle, Alvin Ailey® American Dance Theater artistic director.  “This American masterpiece first opened my eyes as 12-year old in Miami at about the same age Alvin Ailey discovered the power of dance as a student in Los Angeles.”   Currently on a 21-city North American tour, Alvin Ailey® American Dance Theater will inspire with performances of Revelations as the finale to three memorable programs during an engagement at The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, from April 17-21, 2013.

RockaYourSoul featured many accomplished performers and teaching artists, including Renee Robinson, a member of the Ailey Company for more than 30 years, and Nasha Thomas-Schmitt, master teacher and former Ailey principal dancer, who has led Ailey educational activities around the globe, from The White House to London.  Robinson and Thomas-Schmitt taught guests the distinctive movements of three of the most well-known pieces from Revelations, including “RockaMySoul,” “Wade in the Water” and “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel.”  In another Grand Park and Alvin Ailey first, park visitors learned the choreography to “Wade in the Water” right in the park’s historic Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain.
Gospel fans had a double treat, with live performances in the park by the choirs as well as the opportunity to raise their voices with gospel singing lessons led by Spirit Chorale Founder and Director Byron J. Smith and members of the choir.  In a salute to the African American storytelling tradition, storyteller Victoria Burnett wove together story and music in a special presentation.  Do-it-yourself art-making lovers participated in strip quilting and fan making workshops taught by Music Center Master Teaching Artists Alvaro Asturias and Joan Marie Harrison.

About The Music Center

A leader at the cultural heart of Los Angeles County, The Music Center brings to life one of the world’s premier arts destinations by creating opportunities for arts participation, enabling compelling programming and providing first-class venues and services. The Music Center is one of the largest and most highly regarded performing arts centers in the country, creating a cultural hub that is central to L.A.’s status as “the creative capital” of the world. Celebrated for its illustrious dance programming Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center and home to four world class resident companies – Center Theatre Group, LA Opera, LA Phil and Los Angeles Master Chorale – The Music Center is the place to experience the most innovative and critically-acclaimed performing arts in the nation.  In its effort to extend the reach and accessibility of the performing arts, The Music Center is a national model for experiences in which people participate directly through Active Arts® at The Music Center.  As well, The Music Center presents special productions, events and festivals for children and families, including World City™ at The Music Center.  Each year, more than one million audience members delight in the excitement of live performances on The Music Center’s stages and enjoy free community arts events all year long across its outdoor campus.  The Music Center is also on the forefront of arts education in Los Angeles, providing arts resources to students and teachers in schools and community centers throughout the region.  For more information, visithttp://www.musiccenter.org and follow The Music Center on Facebook and Twitter (@MusicCenterLA).

About Alvin Ailey® American Dance Theater

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, recognized by U.S. Congressional resolution as a vital American “Cultural Ambassador to the World,” grew from a now-fabled March 1958 performance in New York that changed forever the perception of American dance.  Founded by Alvin Ailey, and guided by Judith Jamison beginning in 1989, the Company is now led by Robert Battle, whom Judith Jamison chose to succeed her on July 1, 2011. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has performed for an estimated 23 million people in 71 countries on 6 continents, promoting the uniqueness of the African-American cultural experience and the preservation and enrichment of the American modern dance tradition.  In addition to being the Principal Dance Company of New York City Center, where its performances have become a year-end tradition, the Ailey company performs annually at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County in Miami, The Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley, CA and at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark  where it is the Principal Resident Affiliate), and appears frequently in other major theaters throughout the United States and the world during extensive yearly tours.  The Ailey organization also includes Ailey II (1974), a second performing company of emerging young dancers and innovative choreographers; The Ailey School (1969), one of the most extensive dance training programs in the world; Ailey Arts in Education & Community Programs, which brings dance into the classrooms, communities and lives of people of all ages; and The Ailey Extension (2005), a program offering dance and fitness classes to the general public, which began with the opening of Ailey’s permanent home—the largest building dedicated to dance in New York City, the dance capital of the world —named The Joan Weill Center for Dance, at 55th Street at 9th Avenue in New York City.  For more information, visit http://www.alvinailey.org

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