Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater to salute folk legend Odetta in Newark

Members of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

Members of Ailvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

In the liner notes to Odetta’s 2002 album The Tradition Masters, journalist Jim Bessman wrote that “If Woody Guthrie is the father of folk music as we know it, Odetta must surely be the mother.”

Well, Odetta — who died in 2008, at the age of 77 — will be saluted by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater on Mother’s Day (Sunday) at Prudential Hall of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. “Odetta,” choreographed by Ailey dancer Matthew Rushing and featuring her music, along with projections by artist Stephen Alcorn, will be presented, in its New Jersey premiere, on that day, as well as on Friday.

For a preview, see the video below.

“She was my heroine,” Joan Baez told Rolling Stone after Odetta died. “Her voice has so much power in it. You wouldn’t say she had a beautiful voice, you’d say she had a massive voice, totally grounded and rooted in things to do with the earth.”

Odetta on the cover of her 2005 album, "Gonna Let It Shine: A Concert for the Holidays."

Odetta on the cover of her 2005 album, “Gonna Let It Shine: A Concert for the Holidays.”

The Ailey troupe will be at NJPAC from Friday to Sunday, but only the Friday and Sunday shows will include “Odetta” (along with “Bad Blood,” “After the Rain Pas de Deux” and “Revelations”). The program for Saturday is “Uprising,” “Suspended Women,” “Caught” and “Revelations.”

For ticket information, visit, and for more information on “Odetta” itself, visit is giving away a pair of tickets to the May 8 show via a contest. For information on how to enter, visit


Since launching in September 2014,, a 501(c)(3) organization, has become one of the most important media outlets for the Garden State arts scene. And it has always offered its content without a subscription fee, or a paywall. Its continued existence depends on support from members of that scene, and the state’s arts lovers. Please consider making a contribution of any amount to via PayPal, or by sending a check made out to to 11 Skytop Terrace, Montclair, NJ 07043.


Custom Amount

Personal Info

Donation Total: $20.00

Leave a Comment

Sign up for our Newsletter