By Dave Carlin

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Alvin Ailey’s “Revelations,” hailed by critics as the single greatest hit of modern dance, is 50 years old — now bolder, bigger and louder.

CBS 2 got rare access to rehearsals for the anniversary performances with an expanded cast of 50 people.

Joining the experienced dancers who have performed the famous work hundreds of times are young people making their City Center debuts.

Rising star and Queens native Samantha Barriento, 18, saw “Revelations” for the first time 10 years ago and said she was inspired.

“From that moment on, I said ‘mom, I want to dance — this is it, this is it for me,'” Barriento told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin.

Barriento made dance her life and beat out thousands of others for a spot in “Revelations.”

“It’s such a spiritual experience,” Barriento said. “The doors open and you’re dancing with the Ailey company.

“I came from a small dance studio and I just started training at the Ailey School.”

Having won the Ailey company’s prestigious Donna Wood Fellowship, Barriento is now in “Revelations,” an experience she called surreal.

“In my heart, I will always be that 8-year-old kid sitting in the audience, saying ‘oh my gosh,'” Barriento said.

The world premiere of “Revelations” was on Jan. 31, 1960, and a half a century later, the story of tenacity and keeping faith alive has been passed along to Barriento and a new generation of performers.

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