Local dancers to perform Ailey’s ‘Night Creatures’

Been there, done that — and doing it again.

When Bernard Gaddis, founder and artistic director of Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theater, danced with the renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, he performed in Ailey’s “Night Creatures.”

And now, Gaddis’ LVCDT dancers will perform “Night Creatures” — featuring music by late jazz great Duke Ellington — Nov. 13 at The Smith Center’s Reynolds Hall.

They’re the first dancers, other than Ailey’s, to perform the piece, according to Gaddis.

“It’s a big to-do that another company like ours is getting the opportunity to do ‘Night Creature,’ ” Gaddis says, in part because “Ellington made that score for Alvin” Ailey, who created it for the 1974 TV special “Ailey Celebrates Ellington.”

The ballet remains in the Ailey company’s repertory; they’ll perform it next month at New York’s City Center. (Ailey himself died in 1989, four decades after founding his dance company.)

Gaddis describes “Night Creature” as “a very fun piece; it’s a sexy piece,” quoting Ellington as saying that ” ‘night creatures, unlike stars, do not come out at night — they come on.’ “

Based on his own experience dancing “Night Creature” with the Ailey company, Gaddis taught the ballet to his LVCDT dancers; Masazumi Chaya, the Ailey’s associate artistic director, visited Las Vegas over the summer to rehearse the LVCDT dancers.

In addition to “Night Creature,” LVCDT’s Nov. 13 performance features the premiere of Gaddis’ “Ballet #37” and a reprise of his “Simply Ella,” with Clint Holmes and Reva Rice singing Ella Fitzgerald tunes — and interacting with the dancers.

For tickets and more information, call The Smith Center box office at 702-749-2000 or visit www.thesmithcenter.com or lvdance.org.


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