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Release date:
Jan. 25, 2002
Contact: Sally Corbett: 404-727-6678,

Alvin Ailey Dance Expert, Thomas F. DeFrantz, to Give Free Lecture at Emory During Black History Month

Alvin Ailey, one of the most beloved and renowned figures in dance history, will be the subject of a free public lecture at Emory University as part of the Emory Friends of Dance Biannual Lecture Series. Ailey is especially well known for his contributions to black modern dance in America. Thomas DeFrantz from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will give the free public lecture, "Alvin Ailey’s ‘Revelations’: of Time and Transformations." The program will be 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2002 in the Reception Hall of the Michael C. Carlos Museum, 571 Kilgo Circle. For more information, call 404-727-7266.

Alvin Ailey (1931-1989) created a body of dance works that shaped African-American participation in American modern dance during the 30-year period before his death. DeFrantz will focus on Ailey’s 1960 masterwork "Revelations." A success since its first performance, the dance has endured a host of revisions and alterations in its 40-year history. "‘Revelations’ stands as the preeminent example of black modern dance," says DeFranz. "Ailey’s goal and achievement were to make black bodies visible, if not dominant, in the discourse of modernist American dance. This accomplishment carried mixed fortunes, as audiences and critics consistently expected black dancers to reproduce ‘Revelations’-styled modern dance."

DeFrantz’s lecture will explore the legacy of Ailey’s dance by looking at the signs of black modernism contained by "Revelations" and the ways that audience expectations for black dancers have changed since the work was first presented.

DeFrantz is associate professor of theater arts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he holds the Class of 1948 Career Development Professorship. He also organizes the dance history program at the Alvin Ailey School in New York. He is editor of the anthology "Dancing Many Drums: Excavations of African American Dance" (University of Wisconsin Press, 2001), and author of the forthcoming "Revelations: Alvin Ailey’s Embodiment of African American Culture" (Oxford University Press, 2002). An active director and choreographer, his recent choreography includes "Monk’s Mood: A Performance Meditation on the Life and Music of Thelonious Monk" and the original play "Queer Theory: A Musical Travesty, "that will be produced by the Theatre Offensive of Boston.

The lecture is sponsored by the Emory Friends of Dance, the Walter Candler Endowment for the Humanities, the Emory Dance Program and the Black History Month Fund at Emory. Organized by Sally Radell, director of the Emory Dance Program, Emory’s Friends of Dance presents Atlanta’s only ongoing dance lecture series comprising two public lectures each year.



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