New York dance troupe stopping in Clovis

By Jesse Wolfersberger: Freedom Newspapers

A group of dancers from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will bring a little New York City flair Sunday to Clovis Community College.
Ailey II will perform at 4 p.m. at Clovis’ Marshall Auditorium as part of the Cultural Arts Series presented by Clovis Community College and Plains Regional Medical Center.

Ailey II is a group of 12 young dancers from the Alvin Ailey Theater who travel the country performing at universities and theaters.

“These are some of the most promising students from the school,” Associate Artistic Director Troy Powell said. “Each performance they surprise me. At every performance someone will do something that’s ‘wow.’ These dancers are hungry and they enjoy what they do.”
Christy Mendoza, cultural arts director at Clovis Community College, is looking forward to the performance.

“I can’t hardly sit still on my seat I’m so excited,” she said.
Mendoza said she was thrilled to book Ailey II and that Clovis will be the only New Mexico stop on the group’s 40-city tour.

“They are probably one of the top 10 dance companies in America,” Mendoza said about the Ailey Theater. “And we got the younger group, Ailey II. These dancers go on to all the best dance companies in the world.”

Mendoza got a chance to see the group perform in New York.
“They are American dance,” Mendoza said. “The dancing is very modern, but the dancers are classically trained.”

Alvin Ailey started the all-black dance company in 1974. It is currently under the direction of Judith Jamison, who took over when Ailey died in 1989.

Powell said the performance is perfect for first-time dance patrons or dance devotees.

“Although it’s dance,” Powell said, “Mr. Ailey was into theater and you can tell in our performance.”

Powell said this will be the first time these dancers have been to eastern New Mexico.

“We never know what to expect,” Powell said. “We know that anyone can relate to at least one or two of our dances. No matter where we perform, by the end the audience is on their feet.”

Powell said the dancers are on the road for five months every year. They have been on the move since Jan. 5 and have been to North Carolina, Las Vegas, Maine, and New Jersey. They have about two weeks left on the current trek.

Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Clovis Community College Cashier windows (769-4132), at the door the afternoon of the performance, or at the IT office at Cannon Air Force Base.