To mark the seventieth anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps Auschwitz and Buchenwald, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will present “No Longer Silent,” as part of its season at New York City Center in December.
Robert Battle, who has been the Ailey artistic director since July, 2011, created “No Longer Silent” in 2007 for The Juilliard School (his alma mater) as part of a concert of scores by composers whose work the Nazis had banned. Battle’s choreography is set to the percussive score “Ogelala” by Erwin Schulhoff.
Schulhoff was born in 1894 in Prague, and by the age of 10 had already begun his conservatory training with the likes of Claude Debussy. A classical composer, he early on embraced jazz and the avant-garde.The Nazis declared his music “degenerate,” and after they invaded Czechoslovakia, Schulhoff was arrested and sent to the Wülzburg concentration camp, where he died in 1942 from tuberculosis.
“I didn’t try to make a dance about the Holocaust; I didn’t feel I could do that,” says Battle. Yet, he adds, “there was something about his spirit and the way he died that struck a chord with me in a personal way.”
The Ailey season at City Center will also feature “Awakening,” the first world premiere of a work by Robert Battle since he became the third artistic director of the company.
Details of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater season at City Center, December 2, 2015 to January 3, 2016