Alvin Ailey (1931 – 1989) was not content with founding his own company at the height of the civil rights movement in the United States that in 1958 still had racial segregation. Known for its powerful energy and emotional expression, the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater would represent a revolution in the inclusion of African-American culture in the New York dance scene.

But the African-American modern dance activist, creator of eighty works, including the iconic Revelations, about the cotton fields and the slave past, also felt the need to shelter talented young dancers who were not ready to join the main company but to enjoy a platform for experimentation and improvement.

Thus was born in 1974 the Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble, now known as Ailey II, the younger version of the Alvin Ailey that garnered incredible reviews in New York and the entire world, both in its mission to expand audiences and spread the philosophy and technique of the legendary choreographer as well as in his community work.

Over the years it has become one of the most popular modern dance companies. And for three years it has had a new artistic director, choreographer Francesca Harper, who came from the ranks of the Ailey School that her own mother, Denise Jefferson, directed from 1984 to 2010. Harper brings another perspective to Ailey’s legacy, while at the same time encourages new creative voices and recovers historical ones, such as that of William Forsythe, for whose company, the Ballett Frankfurt, she danced and choreographed in the 90s.

Hence it is not surprising that in its new appearance at the Factoria Cultural de Terrassa this weekend, Ailey II opens with an excerpt from Enemy in the Figure, a piece that Forsythe premiered in 1989 about the percussive electronic music of Thom Willems and using radical form lights and shadows.

The program is a journey through the past and future of the company: it will be danced from an excerpt from The Lark Ascending (1972), that sample of lyricism in which Ailey himself fused ballet and modern vocabularies, achieving a characteristic and already legendary lightness of movements, but also Freedom Series, a creation of Harper herself upon her arrival to the artistic direction of the company, in 2021, and which represents a journey to her own memories in the New York company. And there will be no shortage of Baye’s fusion of hip hop, African, modern and contemporary dance