Sylvia Waters

Sylvia Waters
Please Credit Photo: Sylvia Waters. Photo by Eduardo Patino

Sylvia Waters was personally selected by Alvin Ailey in 1974 as Artistic Director of Ailey II and led the company for 38 years.  A graduate of The Juilliard School, Ms. Waters earned a B.S. in Dance prior to moving to Paris, where she appeared regularly on television.  She has also performed in Brussels and at the Summer Olympics in Mexico City.  In 1968, Ms. Waters joined Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and toured with the Company until assuming leadership of Ailey II.  In 1997, she received an honorary doctorate from the State University of New York at Oswego, and she has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts.  Ms. Waters is a recipient of the Legacy Award as part of the 20th Annual IABD Festival, Syracuse University’s Women of Distinction Award, a Dance Magazine Award, and a “Bessie” Award.  Currently, Ms. Waters leads The Ailey Legacy Residency, a lecture, technique and repertory program for college-level students that looks definitively into the history and creative heritage of Alvin Ailey.

Featured News Releases

Ailey II 2012 New York Season At The Ailey Citigroup Theater - Farewell Season Of Esteemed Artistic Director Sylvia Waters

Ailey II, the youthful and gifted second company of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, will return to its home, The Ailey Citigroup Theater, from April 18-29 for a highly anticipated two-week season – the last led by 38-year Artistic Director Sylvia Waters. The 14 exciting performances experienced through two dynamic programs come on the heels of a successful North American tour to over 35 cities and an array of critically-acclaimed performances in Bermuda, Germany and Greece.

Featured Press Coverage

Dance Magazine - Passing The Torch

At the opening night of Ailey II's New York season in April, the last under Sylvia Waters' direction, the house was full of tears, cheers, and - before any dancing had even occured - a standing ovation.

The New York Times - The Guide And Spirit Of Ailey II Steps Down

Somewhere near the top of the modern-dance family tree, where the foliage is plentiful, you'll find Sylvia Waters. This season after 38 years on the job, Ms. Waters will step down as artistic director of Ailey II, the second company of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, where her main triumph has been to cultivate dancers and nurture their inner stars.