For 50 years, the Ailey School on the west side of Manhattan has provided world class training to dancers of all ages and backgrounds from New York City and around the globe. From Madonna to Jasmine Guy, alumni have gone on to be trailblazers in the industry. Launched by Alvin Ailey in 1969, the school started out with just 125 students and aimed to provide access to arts and dance to under-resourced communities. Ailey’s message of inclusivity is one that resonates to this day with the school’s co-directors, Tracy Inman and Melanie Person.
Camille A. Brown has had a marquee year. The choreographer and dancer earned her first Tony nomination for best choreography for “Choir Boy,” making her the first black woman to be nominated for the category in over two decades (Marlies Yearby was nominated for “Rent” in 1996). And this fall, she has two major revivals on the horizon: the Met Opera’s season-opening “Porgy and Bess,” which marks Brown’s debut at the major arts institution, and Ntozake Shange’s influential “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf” at the Public Theater. She’s also choreographing a piece for Alvin Ailey’s upcoming season at City Center and working with director George C. Wolfe on the film adaptation of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” There are two tours on the horizon, too: for “Once on This Island” and her namesake company, Camille A. Brown and Dancers, for which she continues to dance.
After all the work that goes into applying to college BFA programs, it can seem like getting that long-awaited acceptance letter is the be-all and end-all. But talk to most seniors, and they'll tell you that acceptance is just the beginning of a whirlwind experience. We asked five senior dance majors from some of the nation's top programs to look back on their college journeys and offer advice to their freshman selves. From The Ailey/Fordham BFA program, we spoke to Meagan King.
With effortless extensions, sky-high leaps, and equal parts elegance and strength, Ailey II company member Caroline Theodora Dartey is impossible to miss onstage. Born in Geneva, Switzerland, Dartey actually started out training in rhythmic gymnastics, where she earned both national and international titles. She later took up dance, training at the Conservatoire Popular de Musique, Danse et Theatre of Geneva before deciding to move to NYC to pursue her dream career. She joined The Ailey School as a scholarship student in 2016, and is now embarking on her second season with Ailey II. Catch Dartey on tour with Ailey II all over the world this fall, and read on for The Dirt.
When it comes to modern dance, Alvin Ailey was one of the most influential innovators. He created one of the nation’s most respected dance schools, The Ailey School. Teen Kids News talks to Melanie Person, Co-Director of The Ailey School and teacher Shay Bland, who teaches Horton, one of the core techniques in the curriculum.
The shadow of Alvin Ailey has always stood over the company he founded in 1958, as an inspiration and a guide. It does so literally here, in the first of three programmes the New York-based troupe is bringing to Sadler’s Wells.
The Telegraph - Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Programe A, Sadler's Wells, Review: A Stirring And Skin-Pricklingly Exciting Evening
Alvin Ailey was born in rural Texas in 1931. Like so many other African Americans then and since, he experienced frightful racism, but astonishing talent and tenacity allowed him to claw his way up to become one of America's best-loved dancer-choreographers. He founded his own, contemporary troupe - Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater - in 1958 as a vehicle and haven for black Americans who wanted to dance for a living. And, although Ailey himself died in 1989, his company lives on loud and proud, under the sterling directorship of Robert Battle.
In 1958 Alvin Ailey, aware that there were few opportunities for African-American dancers and choreographers, founded a company to tell the stories of black people through movement. Since then the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has become one of the most popular modern ensembles in the world. The company's artistic director, Robert Battle, talks to Kirsty Lang about its history, ambition and that constant difficulty - to get boys to dance.
The dance world doesn't always escape the land of television without a bruise or two. The camera loves nothing more than a bloody toenail. And then there's "Pose," on FX. This look at the ballroom scene in New York City is equal parts grit and glamour. Its horrifying moments don't have anything to do with perpetuating stereotypes about a dancer's pain, but with the brutality of AIDS, which devastated the dance community.
When Robert Battle goes to visit Dessie Williams, the cousin who raised him, she loves to brag that she always knew he was special. "You didn't have to encourage him to do anything; he did them. He was self-motivated," she said.