Masazumi Chaya

Associate Artistic Director

Masazumi Chaya was born in Fukuoka, Japan, where he began his classical ballet training. Upon moving to New York in December 1970, he studied modern dance and performed with the Richard Englund Repertory Company. Mr. Chaya joined Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1972 and performed with the Company for 15 years. In 1988, he became the Company's Rehearsal Director after serving as Assistant Rehearsal Director for two years. A master teacher, both on tour with the Company and in his native Japan, he served as choreographic assistant to Alvin Ailey and John Butler. In 1991, Mr. Chaya was named Associate Artistic Director of the Company.  He continues to provide invaluable creative assistance in all facets of its operations.

In 2002, Mr. Chaya coordinated the Company’s appearance at the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree-lighting ceremony, broadcast on NBC. Mr. Chaya has restaged numerous ballets, including Alvin Ailey's Flowers for the State Ballet of Missouri (1990) and The River for the Royal Swedish Ballet (1993), Ballet Florida (1995), National Ballet of Prague (1995), Pennsylvania Ballet (1996), and Colorado Ballet (1998). He has also restaged The MoocheThe Stack-UpEpisodesBad BloodHidden Rites, and Witness for the Company. At the beginning of his tenure as Associate Artistic Director, Mr. Chaya restaged Ailey's For ‘Bird’ - With Love for a “Dance in America” program entitled Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Steps Ahead.  In 2000, he restaged Ailey’s Night Creature for the Rome Opera House andThe River for La Scala Ballet.  In 2003, he restaged The River for North Carolina Dance Theatre and for Julio Bocca’s Ballet Argentina. Most recently, Mr. Chaya restaged Blues SuiteForgotten TimeStreamsUrban Folk Dance, and Vespers for the Company.

As a performer, Mr. Chaya appeared on Japanese television in both dramatic and musical productions. He wishes to recognize the artistic contribution and spirit of his late friend and fellow artist, Michihiko Oka.

Featured News Releases

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Announces Programming For New York City Center Season December 4, 2019 - January 5, 2020

NEW YORK – August 1, 2019 — Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, New York City Center’s Principal Dance Company, returns to the theater’s stage from December 4, 2019 – January 5, 2020. Artistic Director Robert Battle leads Ailey’s 32 extraordinary dancers during this annual five-week engagement, which has become a joyous holiday tradition. The repertory features more than two dozen diverse works by some of the world’s preeminent choreographers, including world premieres by Donald Byrd and Ailey dancer and newly announced Resident Choreographer Jamar Roberts, company premieres by Aszure Barton and Camille A. Brown, and new productions by Judith Jamison and Lar Lubovitch.

Masazumi Chaya, Associate Artistic Director And Beloved Mainstay Of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, To Retire At The End Of Upcoming New York City Center Season

NEW YORK, NY, July 9, 2019 – Robert Battle, Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, announced today that the Company’s beloved mainstay for nearly five decades, Associate Artistic Director Masazumi Chaya, intends to retire on January 5, 2020, following the conclusion of the Company’s New York City Center season. Having joined the Company in 1972 as a dancer, Mr. Chaya performed under Mr. Ailey’s direction for 15 years, subsequently assumed responsibility for rehearsing the Company—a role for which Mr. Ailey had cultivated him—and for more than 28 years, as Associate Artistic Director, has maintained the repertoire, handled innumerable creative decisions, and guided generations of the Company’s dancers.

Featured Press Coverage

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The New York Times - Ailey Selects Resident Choreographer

Alvin Ailey American Dnace Theater announced Thursday that Jamar Roberts will be the company's first resident choreographer. Mr. Roberts, a veteran company member, will begin his tenure with "Ode," an examination of the value of life in an era of pervasive gun violence. The work for six dancers will debut on Dec. 10 as a part of Ailey's five-week season at New York City Center.

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The New York Times - Associate Director To Step Down At Ailey

Masazumi Chaya, the associate artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater since 1991, will retire on Jan. 5 after the company's annual City Center season. But he'll still be involved with the organization: After he steps down, Chaya, 72, will be in charge of a licensing project that will assist in the restaging of Ailey's works. Matthew Rushing, a veteran dancer and the company's rehearsal director, will take over as associate artistic director, while Ronni Favors, a former Ailey member, will become the company's rehearsal director. Clifton Brown, a current dancer, will join Linda Celeste Sims as an assistant to the rehearsal director.

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Wall Street Journal - Ailey Ensemble Honors Its Founder

When the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater company takes to the stage of New York City Center for the opening of its 60th anniversary on Wednesday night, it will have an unexpected guest of sorts. Namely, Alvin Ailey himself.