Cry

In 1971, Alvin Ailey choreographed the ballet, Cry, as a birthday present for his mother; it went on to become an enduring work of American art. This 16-minute solo, which was first danced by the legendary Judith Jamison, is dedicated to "all black women everywhere - especially our mothers."

The solo is made up of three parts – the first set to Alice Coltrane’s “Something about John Coltrane,” the second to Laura Nyro’s “Been on a Train” and the last has the Voices of East Harlem singing “Right On, Be Free.” The female soloist represents all black women, depicting their African origins, the trials and tribulations they have endured and their joyful triumph over those hardships.  

When Cry premiered at New York City Center in 1971, it was an immediate sensation. It propelled Judith Jamison, who is now the Artistic Director Emerita of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and was Ailey’s muse for Cry, to international stardom in the dance world. In its review of the premiere, The New York Times proclaimed, “…for years it has been obvious that Judith Jamison is no ordinary dancer. Now Alvin Ailey has given his African queen a solo that wonderfully demonstrates what she is and where she is… Rarely have a choreographer and a dancer been in such accord.” Since Jamison’s portrayal of this archetypal figure first popularized the piece, it has become a distinct honor for Ailey dancers to follow in her footsteps by performing Cry in its entirety onstage.

Featured News Releases

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's "AILEY REVEALED" 2020 United States Tour Kicks Off During Black History Month And Reaches 21 Cities From February 4 - May 10

New York, NY – January 30, 2020 – Following five-weeks of exceptional performances in New York City, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will continue its “Ailey Revealed” season during a 21-city North American tour which kicks off during Black History Month. The 2020 engagement opens on February 4th at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. with a gala to benefit Ailey's D.C. programs, including the creation of new works, Arts-In-Education activities, and scholarships to talented young area dancers to attend The Ailey School in New York. Other major cities throughout the tour include Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Berkeley, Seattle, Houston, and Boston, culminating with a Mother’s Day performance in Newark on May 10th.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Returns To Atlanta's Fabulous Fox Theatre From February 20-23 With "AILEY REVEALED" Season Performances As Part Of 2020 United States Tour To 21 Cities

ATLANTA – UPDATED February 18, 2020 – Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, beloved as one of the world’s most popular dance companies, returns to the Fabulous Fox Theatre from February 20 – 23 for six dynamic performances featuring three separate programs that bring the “Ailey Revealed” 2020 season to Atlanta and 21 cities across the United States. Led by Artistic Director Robert Battle, Ailey’s 32 extraordinary dancers will bring to life two topical world premieres that shine a spotlight on social issues – celebrated choreographer Donald Byrd’s Greenwood and Ailey Dancer and Resident Choreographer Jamar Roberts’ Ode. Company premieres and new productions will be presented by preeminent choreographers Aszure Barton, Camille A. Brown, Judith Jamison and Darrell Moultrie. Alvin Ailey’s must-see American masterpiece Revelations will culminate each program.

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

NEW YORK – UPDATED October 24, 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.

Featured Press Coverage

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The New York Times - 'Just Speaking From My Body'

Every so often a great dancer transcends her own brilliance, somehow expanding its outer limit. Last week at City Center, Linda Celeste Sims, a member of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for 24 years, did just that in a rapturous performance of Ailey's 1971 "Cry," a 16-minute solo dedicated "to all black women everywhere - especially our mothers." This season Ms. Sims, 43, danced the work for the first time as a mother - she gave birth to her first child, Ellington, in May - and something shifted.