The tradition, and the movement, he said, have been passed physically, from person to person, from place to place, in a company that now includes two Marylanders, Alicia Graf Mack from Columbia and Jacqueline Green from Baltimore.
“Here I am in a basement in Russia, talking to journalists and picking up the baton,” Battle said with an easy smile. “I’m both grateful and inspired.”
That evening’s performance — similar to a February program in Washington — began with “Anointed,” a ballet by Christopher Huggins describing Ailey turning the company over to Jamison, and now Jamison conveying it to Battle.
It concluded with “Revelations,” said to be the most-performed work of modern dance ever.
During an intermission before she danced in “Revelations,” Mack, who just rejoined the company, said the Russian audiences had been present and responsive.
“I tap into my deepest spiritual self on the stage,” she said. “For me to be part of a company that celebrates humanity in such a beautiful way helps me be my best self.”
On the stage, Mack said, she fully and deeply lived her life.
Soon, she and the others were soaring body and soul to the gospel music that has captivated so many audiences — “Wade in the Water,” “Sinner Man” and “Rocka My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham.”
The performance was powerful, the dancers beautiful, elegant and intelligent, and the Russian audience felt it, clapping and clapping and clapping again.