Gary native still dancing with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

2013-03-08T00:00:00Z 2014-02-26T17:29:14Z Gary native still dancing with Alvin Ailey American Dance TheaterEloise Marie Valadez Eloise.Valadez@nwi.com, (219) 933-3365 nwitimes.com

Renaldo Gardner has recently marked his first full year dancing with  Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

Gardner, a Gary native, will once again shine on stage when the acclaimed troupe brings its latest production to Chicago. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will perform today through March 17 at The Auditorium Theatre in Chicago.

The region native was formerly a member of the troupe's junior company, Ailey II.

"It's like a breath of fresh air to come home to perform," said Gardner, who's honored to be in the stellar group. "It's such a good feeling for me."

Gardner, 22, said his family and friends are expected to be in the audience for many of the shows. "I haven't seen them in such a long time," he said. His mom Ruby Lee will attend several shows.

The dancer said the troupe's offerings this season will include Robert Battle's "Strange Humors," as well as the signature closing work "Revelations," which is always an audience favorite.

Other works on the program will be "Another Night," "From Before,"Home," and "Minus 16."

Gardner said the roles he's been given this year are a lot more physical and challenging. "But, it's a really good thing for me."

Being a part of the Ailey company, Gardner said "has been my dream." He added it's challenged him to grow in many ways.

"You have to uphold a level of maturity. It's helped me to continue to grow inside of the company and as a human being."

In addition to performing at the Auditorium with the troupe, Gardner will lead a master class from 5:30 to 7 p.m. March 11 at South Shore Dance Alliance Studios in Griffith. Call for prices and information. FYI: (219) 513-9368. Gardner said South Shore Dance Alliance's Larry Brewer was a mentor to him as he was growing up and studying dance in Gary.

Alvin Ailey Dance Theater will perform March 8 to 17 at The Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Parkway, Chicago. Tickets are $32 to $92. FYI: ticketmaster.com/auditorium or call (800) 982-ARTS.

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