“President Obama’s recognition of Alvin Ailey is truly a testament to his powerful impact on our culture,” stated Artistic Director Robert Battle. “Mr. Ailey had a profound effect on the world through entertaining, educating and uniting audiences.  We look forward to sharing the powerful artistry and legacy of our founder with Atlanta audiences, especially the timely tribute to another important icon – ODETTA.”

In ODETTA, one of the most influential singers of the 20th century is rediscovered as renowned Ailey dancer Matthew Rushing marries soul-stirring movement to songs by the artist anointed “the queen of American folk  music” by Martin Luther King, Jr. Rushing’s premiere for Ailey, created with the support of commissioning  funds from New York City Center, pays tribute to Odetta Holmes’ life as a singer, songwriter, actress, activist and her musical repertoire encompassing American folk music, blues, jazz, and spirituals. African-American musician and activist, Holmes was celebrated as “the voice of the Civil Rights Movement,” notably sang at the historic 1963 March on Washington and participated in the Selma march.