When traveling domestically, the company counts 31 dancers, 15 production staff, ten tons of equipment -- extensive for dance -- and three semi-trucks. The total lighting package approximates 400 fixtures, most of which are ETC Source Four.

"Every ellipsoidal and individual par used on the eight electrics, eight boom towers, and dozens of rover units are ETC Dimmer Doubled. This allows us to power all of our electrics with just two ETC Sensor 96 racks. On top of that, we are still capable of controlling the front-of-house units provided by the venue whenever DMX control is not available. By only needing two 96 racks we save vital truck space, while at the same time keeping our power needs low."

Ailey does a different program in every city. In its 44 years, the repertory has created more than 150 works and on any one tour will travel with 15-20 ballets. They perform an ever-changing combination of three or four ballets a night. "Revelations" is the company's signature piece, choreographed in 1960 by founder Alvin Ailey. When people think of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, they often recall the last section of "Revelations," which features a brilliant yellow sun ascending on the backdrop. "When that one image appears -- projected by a 36 degree Source Four spotlight -- there's instant applause."

Chenault Spence, a pioneer in dance lighting and designer of more than 60 ballets in the repertory, has seen lighting tools develop since he began working with Ailey in 1970. "ETC controls have allowed me to design what I can imagine, not merely what is already possible," remarks Spence. Ailey employs an ETC Obsession II console (handling their extensive moving lights as well) and an Obsession II dual-processor system -- among their ETC lighting-control repertoire.

During their annual home season in New York City, the company performs at City Center at 55th St. between 6th and 7th. "They have a very large inventory of ETC products there as well," adds Crawford.

For the 2002-2003 Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performance schedule, background information, and stunning dance video clips, visit www.alvinailey.org.