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

Ailey All Access Premieres Juneteenth Program Sponsored By Amazon On June 16

New York, NY – June 11, 2021 – The Ailey organization continues to inspire and enlighten millions across the globe with free broadcasts of performances, conversations, Ailey Extension dance and fitness classes, and more. In observance of Juneteenth, Ailey All Access will present a program of conversation and dance, speaking to the enduring power of the human spirit and extending Alvin Ailey’s legacy of artistic activism.

Fit And Fabulous Fun During National Physical Fitness Month With Virtual Classes and Special Workshops At Ailey Extension

New York, NY – May 5, 2021 – Ailey Extension has kicked off National Physical Fitness Month with an invitation for people around the world to have fun being fit and fabulous during in an array of virtual classes and special workshops. During the month of May, students are encouraged to keep dancing and experience the physical and mental benefits of dance, including improved strength and flexibility, coordination, endurance, and decreased stress. All are welcome to celebrate by moving and grooving with popular instructors during a Hip-Hop Workshop on Thursday, May 6, a special Mother’s Day weekend BellydanceBURN workshop on Saturday, May 8; a Kids & Teens West African Workshop on Saturday, May 15, and a NY Style Mambo Workshop on Saturday, May 22. Two new weekly Beginner Horton and Morning Jumpstart classes give dancers even more opportunities to get their fitness fix on a consistent basis.

Ailey All Access Premieres Special Cry Film Adaptation on Mother's Day In Conjunction With The 50th Anniversary Of The Beloved Work

New York, NY – April 30, 2021 – The Ailey organization is furthering the pioneering vision of its founder by “bringing dance back to the people” and lifting spirits through Ailey All Access, a series of online offerings including streaming of free performance broadcasts, Ailey Extension dance and fitness classes, and more. In a joyful nod to the 50th anniversary of Alvin Ailey’s beloved work, Cry, viewers will be treated to a new film adaptation of Jacqueline Green interpreting the extraordinary solo premiering on a Mother’s Day Matinee, on Sunday, May 9 at 3pm EDT. Created as a birthday present for Alvin Ailey’s mother Mrs. Lula Cooper, Cry debuted May 4, 1971 and is dedicated to “all Black women everywhere – especially our mothers.”

Featured Press Coverage

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San Francisco Chronicle - Review: Power Of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Virtual Return To Berkeley Rivals A Live Performance

Eavesdrop pre-curtain at Bay Area dance shows and you’ll hear audience members sharing their top dance memories. High on almost everyone’s list? Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at UC Berkeley. The company first visited the campus in 1960, two years after its founding, and has come back every year since. And neither Artistic Director Robert Battle nor Cal Performances’ leader Jeremy Geffen were about to let that Bay Area bond lapse in a pandemic, so the dancers have returned virtually in a streaming program that does an astonishing job of relaying their in-person power. The performance premieres Thursday, June 10, with a digital “watch party,” and will be available for streaming through Sept. 8.

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The New York Times - Perfect Timing For Their Next Move

Glenn Allen Sims and Linda Celeste Sims did something many couples do: They had a baby. But they're no ordinary couple. As two treasured veterans of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater — Glenn for 23 years, and Linda for 24 — they have long persisted in jobs that have pushed them to their physical limits. With the birth of their son, Ellington James Sims, in April 2019, they faced a new challenge.