When Judith Jamison joined the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1965, there were 10 dancers in the company. Today, six decades after Ailey and a small group of black dancers gave their inaugural performance at the 92nd Street Y in New York City, his legacy now includes more than 250 original ballets, 30 dancers, a robust educational and training program, and sold-out performances all across the globe.
Troy Powell remembers the late Alvin Ailey fondly. The legendary choreographer saw something in Powell at nine years old and recruited him for a children’s program after leading a masterclass at his elementary school. Perhaps that’s why, when asked about Ailey’s legacy, Powell says simply, “It's magical.”
Running five blocks in five minutes, studying flashcards at the ballet barre or learning the Horton fortifications might sound all too familiar for students in the Fordham/Ailey B.F.A. program. The graduating class of 2019 spent eight semesters in a unique program that blends both academic rigor and artistic development as a dancer.
Samantha Figgins is as deliberate and graceful as the dancers by her side. But until recently her experience has been different from theirs. Last fall, she was fitted for the first time with hearing aids.
CBS Baltimore - Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, Ravens Tackle Brandon Williams Inspire Students Through Dance
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Ravens tackle Brandon Williams stepped off the football field and onto the stage to show off his dance moves this week with Alvin Ailey's Courtney Celeste Spears at Henderson-Hopkins Elementary School.
The Baltimore Sun - Ravens Defensive Tackle And Alvin Ailey Dancer Swap Moves To Launch New School Program
Few fans of football and modern dance will ever get to see the two worlds collide on stage. Tuesday afternoon at Henderson-Hopkins Partnership School, about 55 students from Henderson-Hopkins Partnership School and Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women witnessed just that as Ravens defensive tackle Brandon Williams cut the rug with Courtney Celeste Spears, a Baltimore native and a dancer with the acclaimed Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
To inspire a group of young locals through dance and football, Alvin Ailey dancer Courtney Celeste Spears and Baltimore Raven’s player Brandon Williams will join forces for a panel discussion today sponsored by M&T Bank and Wilmington Trust.
Samantha Figgins is currently in her fifth season with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (and was a Dance Spirit cover girl back in 2013!). But what many people don't know is that the gorgeous dancer suffers from single-sided deafness. As a baby, Figgins contracted spinal meningitis, which caused her to lose all hearing in her right ear. She never gave up on her dance dreams, though, and fought her way through uncomfortable situations, never missing an opportunity to learn and grow. Now, after getting her first pair of hearing aids, she opens up about her path to success. —(As told to Courtney Celeste Spears)
As the director of Alvin Ailey’s public dance and fitness center, Ailey Extension, Lisa Johnson-Willingham is literally on the move, constantly. On any given day she could be teaching a master class to students, taking a dance class herself, meeting with clients about potential partnerships, or all of the above. Add to that two teenage children, and Johnson- Willingham has a packed schedule that takes her from parent-teacher conferences to red-carpet appearances. To ensure she’s always appropriately dressed, her desk doesn’t just house extra shoes, but also workout clothes and the occasional camisole for after-hours events.
By Zadie Smith. When I was about 12, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater came to town and my mother took me to see them. It was a trip for just us two, and I was a little reluctant, suspecting some species of racial uplift, which I felt I could receive far more easily by staying in my room, listening to Movie Love and watching Cameo's "Word Up" video on repeat. I was suspicious of racial uplift in general. The way it always seemed to point in the same direction, toward the supposed "higher" arts: the theater but not the television, opera singers but not beatboxers, ballet dancers but not body-poppers. No Jamaican mother ever ran into a kid's bedroom, waving a cassette, crying: "Have you heard 'Push It'? It's by some brilliant young ladies from New York!" Yet I couldn't imagine anything on the legitimate stage meaning as much to me as Salt-N-Pepa's bump and grind.