Fagan Fulfills a Pledge to Alvin Ailey

While sitting on the porch of his Rochester home one evening in 1983, listening to a Dvorak Nocturne with fellow choreographer Alvin Ailey, Garth Fagan promised to create a dance for Mr. Ailey's company. Tonight, with the world premiere of ``Jukebox for Alvin'' at City Center, Mr. Fagan will at last fulfill his pledge.

``Jukebox for Alvin'' is one of two new works featured in the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's 35th season, which opened Wednesday. Fagan says that in composing the piece he sought to reveal ``a middle ground, a meeting place between my style and Alvin's.''

The other Ailey company premiere, called ``Hymn,'' is also an homage to Ailey, who died in December 1989. It was choreographed by Judith Jamison, who succeeded Ailey as the company's artistic director, and features a monologue by actress Anna Deavere Smith.

Ms. Jamison says Fagan's choreography tested members of her company who were not versed in his technique. ``It's been quite a challenge for the dancers to understand some of Garth's so-called nonmovement,'' she says. ``But the absolute beauty of his work is just that - his use of stillness.''

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