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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Winter Season Features New and Classic Performances

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There is still time to see Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater before it wraps up its winter season at City Center. For many, it is a holiday favorite and for others, they may be discovering the dance company for the first time this year. NY1's Stephanie Simon filed this report.

There are countless reasons to love Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. But the two biggest are the classics and the new stuff. During their winter residency at City Center, you can take your pick. New this season is a tribute to late American folk singer Odetta. It is choreographed by Matthew Rushing.

"Originally, I didn't know much about who she was. I had maybe heard a piece of music here and there and it wasn’t until I took the time to start to research who she was, her music, what she stood for, that I actually fell in love with her," says Rushing.

His longtime friend and colleague, dancer Hope Boykin, stars in the new work.

"We've been friends for over 20 years, and he knows me inside and out. So it's really a gift to be able to portray Odetta in this work. And I'm really excited. It's really a blessing," says Boykin.

Adding to the excitement this season, Alvin Ailey was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The dancer, choreographer and company founder was a trailblazer and champion of African American arts and culture.

"It's an honor knowing that we are a part of a environment, a part of a company, and a part of an institution that is celebrated and acknowledged," says Boykin.

For many people, even Boykin’s mom, the season is all about Ailey's classic and revered work “Revelations.”

"’Revelations’ was choreographed in 1960 and so many people believe a performance ending without it is not really an Ailey performance. Even my mother would say 'I don't want to see anything else,' but she has to," says Boykin.

The season runs through January 4, and many of the performances do end with “Revelations.” Tickets start at just $25 dollars. For more information, visit . ClientIP:,, UserAgent: msnbot-NewsBlogs/2.0b (+ Profile: TWCSAMLSP