Shelter: Dance as a Metaphorical Shelter
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Shelter: Dance as a Metaphorical Shelter

‘Shelter’ is a work by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar. For me, ‘Shelter’ is, really, it speaks to our common humanity and that’s why I wanted to bring it back into the rep. When I look at the state of the world and our country, this notion of shelter goes far beyond homelessness or houselessness. The notion of shelter, I think, is deep. I think that we as a Company, when we perform we provide a certain sense of shelter. When I think of ‘Revelations’ it provides a certain sense of shelter and that, to me, is a safe place where we can re-affirm the fact that I am a human being and nothing human can be alien to me. That is the role, I think, of the arts. That is what we can do as artists when we look at a country and a world in such discord, that we can bring those notes together in a wonderful and beautiful harmonious way. ‘Shelter’ for me reminds us of that. So I thought it was important now for people to see that work. Because we don’t want you to just marvel and delight in the beauty of the dancers. We want you to do that, but I think this Company has always been about sort of revealing those things that are not always so beautiful, those things that we have to say as artists, there are times in which we must reflect. That’s what Alvin Ailey was doing when he started the company on the brink of the Civil Rights Movement in 1958. This work, I think, represents his mission as an artist and our mission as a Company. And so ‘Shelter’ for me, I’ve thought a lot about that. In times where we feel afraid, in times where we feel our rights as human beings are threatened, at times when we feel that we’re going backwards, that I think most people understand that kind of fear ‘Shelter’ to me the very term is a metaphor for what we can provide one another and certainly what this company has provided for thousands and millions of people for almost 60 years

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