When Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre goes on tour, it ends almost every performance the same way: with "Revelations," the work that made Ailey and his company an international sensation.
Audiences never tire of it. Members of his company have told me they don't, either.
If you like to commemorate anniversaries, here's your chance. Ailey's company will arrive at Knight Theater on Feb. 9, mere days after "Revelations" reaches the 50th anniversary of its premiere. No matter how many times you've seen Ailey's celebration of the spirit since Jan. 31, 1960, this is the time to experience it again.
Besides paying homage to the red-letter day, you can take advantage of an opportunity you may not get for another 50 years: seeing "Revelations" in a 1,200-seat theater. Companies like Ailey's usually perform in theaters two or three times the size.
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But here, when the dancers hold a quivering white cloth and evoke a baptismal service in a river, you may feel close enough to jump in alongside them and be purified. In the finale, you might get the urge to grab a parasol and join the parade.
The Knight should give the same intimacy to Charlotte groups - especially N.C. Dance Theatre. Except for the annual "Nutcracker," which will remain in the larger Belk Theater, NCDT will generally do all its performances here.
"It's the perfect size for us," says Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, the company's artistic director. "People are interested in being really close to the dancers. Sometimes in the Belk, you don't get that feeling."
Yet the Knight's stage is nearly as large as the Belk's. That will enable NCDT to perform story ballets with sizable sets - such as the upcoming "Cinderella," which boasts a ballroom that's as glamorous as anything in "Nutcracker."
The Charlotte Symphony and other groups hope to take advantage of the Knight's coziness, too. For some, that will depend on when there's the money to buy an acoustical shell - the enclosure used in concerts to help the sound project toward the audience.
For musical purposes, of course, the other crucial factor will be the Knight's acoustics. We won't really be able to judge that until the shell is someday in place.
There's one positive sign: The same acoustics firm worked on Halton Theater at Central Piedmont Community College. That one turned out well, so cross your fingers.