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Alvin Ailey Dance celebrates its opening with South Coast Plaza party

Alvin Ailey Dance celebrates its opening with South Coast Plaza party
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater artistic director Robert Battle with Jacqueline Green, one of the featured dancers in "Wade in the Water" from Alvin Ailey's "Revelations." (Doug Gifford)

The event: Following Thursday's official opening night for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, the cast took the opportunity to unwind at a party in their honor at the nearby South Coast Plaza.

The scene:

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Surrounded by upscale jewelers and boutiques near the shopping center’s Jewel Court, Quattro Caffé served up salmon-topped salads, three-cheese ravioli and raspberry cocktails and desserts at stations, while servers passed hors d’oeuvres.

The crowd: Segerstrom Center President Terrence Dwyer, executive vice president Judy O'Dea Morr and arts supporters Tracy and Roger Kirwan, Elizabeth Tierney, Susan Strader, Shigeru Chino, Kay Fukunaga, Mary Harward and others mixed with artistic director Robert Battle and the company of dancers.

Quotes of note:

Since taking over in 2011, Battle has been busy invigorating the groundbreaking company by, among other things, adding new dances to the repertoire that may surprise some theater-goers. “I think anything is possible,” he said.

"I try to find things that have a kind of tenacity about them, that connect with the audience but push the envelope a little bit."

He pointed to “Chroma” on that night’s program, choreographed by Wayne McGregor in 2006 for Britain's Royal Ballet. Prior to performing the piece in New York in December, no modern troupe had ever tackled the ballet. Yet audiences responded so well that the company took the dance on the road, even though Battle called traveling with the huge set “an undertaking,” adding, “The juice is worth the squeeze.”

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