Multicultural dancers bring heritage to Wichita

Ailey II, a performing group of dancers, choreographers and directors, is visiting the Orpheum Theatre tomorrow as part of its worldwide tour.

Featuring audience favorite performances such as “Alchemies,” “The Eternal Knot,” “Revelations” and “Streams,” the dance company will also be performing two new ballets that are fresh to the tour.

A part of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the troupe has been performing around the world since 1974 and has had two artistic directors, including former member of the organization, Troy Powell.

The theater, named after Alvin Ailey, has been performing since 1958, when Ailey and a group of young, black dancers performed at New York’s 92nd street YM-YWHA.

Since then, the theater has provided multicultural performances to audiences of all backgrounds — and has provided a home for young, emerging dancers to showcase their talent.

“I always aim to commission ballets that challenge the dancers and help them develop as artists,” artistic director Powell said in a press release. “I’m so proud that 40 years after its inception, Ailey II continues to offer incomparable opportunities to young professional dance artists and rising choreographers.”

In a partnership between the Orpheum and the Wichita State School of Fine Arts, students are encouraged to attend the show because of the rare opportunity and the cultural significance of the show.

“It was Alvin Ailey’s intention to have a dance company to represent the culture of African-Americans, and [Ailey II] does it beautifully,” said Wendy Hanes, assistant dean of the College of Fine Arts. “The kind of work that they perform is so important and it is their mission as a company to preserve that heritage.”

WSU students can receive $10 off of a ticket at the Orpheum box office in person or online by using code “WSUDANCE.”

Tickets to see Ailey II range between $30 and $40. They can be purchased at the Orpheum Theater, Intrust Bank Arena box office, select Dillons stores, Plant Employee Clubs, by phone at (855) 755-7328 or at