The powerhouse Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will be giving its customers a special treat this time around at Wolf Trap. The company's run extends only three evenings, starting tomorrow, but there'll be a different program each night and each one will include a work never before performed by the troupe.
Monday's program features the world premiere of "How to Walk an Elephant," a collaboration for 12 dancers by choreographers Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane. The musical score is by American composer Conlon Nancarrow. Jones and Zane, current hotshots of postmodern dance, just won a $25,000 first prize for choreography in a competition sponsored by Montreal's Festival of Contemporary Dance, from a field with entries from the United States, Canada, England and Sweden.
Also on the program will be "Revelations," the Ailey work based on spirituals that is the troupe's signature piece, as well as Ailey's "Night Creature," to music by Duke Ellington, and Elisa Monte's "Treading."
On Tuesday night, the troupe will present a newly choreographed production of Louis Johnson's "Lament" -- the first ballet (in 1953) by the choreographer of the movie "The Wiz," as well as many other works for stage and screen. The program also includes "How to Walk an Elephant" and Talley Beatty's vivid portrait of city streets, "The Stack-Up."
Jennifer Muller's high-energy "Speeds," created for her own troupe in 1974, will be the Ailey premiere Wednesday night, on a program that also includes "Lament" and "Revelations."