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Press Release

Samantha Reichstein or Karen Watassek
713-632-8105 or


Presented by Society for the Performing Arts,
Ailey Arts in Education and Community Programs’
Acclaimed Revelations Residency
Inspired Houston-Area Middle-School Students
HOUSTON— (July 7, 2015) Society for the Performing Arts (SPA), Houston’s leading
performing arts presenter, recently presented the Ailey Arts in Education and Community
Programs’ Acclaimed Revelations: An Interdisciplinary Approach Residency at Episcopal High
In partnership with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, as well as Ad Deum Dance Company,
the week-long residency combined performance with education, allowing 180 Houston-area
middle school students, most without dance experience, to learn choreography in a way that was
intertwined with core subjects taught in the classroom.
The Revelations curriculum incorporates elements of history, dance and literacy by asking
students to journal and reflect on their own journeys throughout the program. Performing dances
to “I Been Buked,” “Wade in the Water” and the triumphant finale “Rocka My Soul in the
Bosom of Abraham,” Ailey’s Revelations tells the story of African-American faith and tenacity
from slavery to freedom. This cultural treasure brought the Company international acclaim in
1960, and continues to not only appeal to universal emotions, but also inspire those on and off
stage throughout each performance.
Each night, students completed homework assignments ranging from reading Alvin Ailey’s
biography to writing poems about different dance elements. They then used this information in
class to explore cross-curriculum ideas, such as creating a historical timeline, or describing
different scientific elements while creating water movements. Combining language arts, social
studies and dance, all students actively engaged in a process of thinking, reflecting and
discussing, within an environment of performance, creation and assessment.

Former Ailey dancer Nasha Thomas, Master Teacher & Spokesperson for Ailey Arts in
Education, lead the residency, teaching three classes a day throughout the five-day period. “I
know something special is going to happen when I visit Houston annually with the Revelations
Residency — I am constantly inspired by all the students’ commitment and excitement to
embrace Mr. Ailey’s legacy,” said Thomas. “Over the years, I’ve been so impressed by how the
participants engage with the program and emerge more motivated, confident and aware of their
potential. I look forward to seeing the inspiration continue through this collaboration hosted by
The residency included students from multiple schools and organizations, such as Ensemble
Theater, Episcopal High School, Kinder Emergency Shelter, Marshall Middle Academy of Fine
Arts, Poe Elementary, West Briar Middle School and many others. Partnering with Ad Deum
Dance Company as well, students in the residency are given the opportunity to continue
cultivating skills learned throughout the week with future rehearsals to work on choreography
regularly. This ongoing connection enables them to perform in several other public performances
throughout the year, including the Bayou City Arts Festival and the Theater District Open House
this fall.
SPA’s presentation of Alvin Ailey’s American Dance Theater will be April 23-24, 2016, and will
feature a Performance Prelude by all students who were involved in the Revelations Residency.