One warm spring day in the late nineties, I walked hand in hand with my father as he led our family— my mom, my three siblings, and me—into Houston’s Jones Hall for an Alvin Ailey performance. At eight years old, I was more excited to be wearing my new theater dress for all of Houston to see than I was for the show itself. But that excitement quickly evolved into wonder. I don’t recall the name of the performance we saw, but I distinctly remember feeling admiration and reverence for what the dancers were doing in front of me. Before that day, I’d never seen such a large group of professional Black dancers on stage. Experiencing this performance in my youth was significant; it told me that my people were everywhere, and capable of doing everything.
“Dance came from the people and should always be delivered back to the people,” Alvin Ailey said. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, a key part (but not all of) his legacy, works by this ethos. “Dance is for everybody,” asserts Cathryn Williams, director of Arts in Education and Community Programs at Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation. Amongst many other programs offering dance across the five boroughs of NYC, her department offers AileyDance for Active Seniors.
CBS New York - All These Years Later, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Continues Spreading Message Of Inclusion
While protests across the country call for racial justice, an organization in New York City has been spreading a message of inclusion for decades. And they’ve been doing it through dance. CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis has more on the work of Alvin Ailey. A powerful video was created in the midst of protests, following the death of George Floyd. It featured poetry, paired with a universal language, which at times, says more than words. “We. Dance.” by Hope Boykin. “This was my form of protest. This was the way that I could say it best to honor the organization that had started doing this more than 60 years ago,” Boykin said.
...At the end of May, in a commission from the Guggenheim’s “Works & Process” series, Jamar Roberts produced an extraordinary five-minute dance titled “Cooped.” He choreographed, designed, directed, performed, and shot (on an iPad) this “fever dream,” alone, in a basement, surrounded by shadows that seem to close in on him—an effect ingeniously created by a floor lamp and a flashlight. The tense music was composed, arranged, and performed (remotely) by David Watson (bagpipes) and Tony Buck (drums).
Tulsa's 1921 massacre involved white mobs killing 300 black residents in their uniquely prosperous community. That painful chapter in American history was the focus of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater this season, before it was sprupt interrupted by covid-19 shutdowns. Now with this renewed attention on the Tulsa massacre, the dance group is streaming its Greenwood story starting this week. Artistic Director Robert Battle discusses Donald Byrd’s Greenwood.
FOX5 New York - How Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's 'Theater Of Disruption' Teaches About Racism
Choreographer Donald Byrd uses what he calls "theater of disruption" in his productions. Creating works of dance or theater that "disrupts the thinking of people around the issue of race," he said. And he is waking people up with his production Greenwood. In observance of Juneteenth, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is streaming the production online through Thursday, June 25. Through dance, Greenwood tells the horrific story of the 1921 race massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Greenwood was a section of Tulsa and one of the most affluent black communities in the country. It was known as Black Wall Street. But white residents, angered by black progress, burned down homes and businesses and killed as many as 300 black residents.
The Fordham Observer - Dancing Queen: Courtney Celeste Spears' Journey From Artists To Businesswoman
Dancer, actress, model, writer, entrepreneur, teacher and now businesswoman: Courtney Celeste Spears, Fordham College at Lincoln Center '16, is a master at turning her dreams into reality and is determined to use her platform to change the world.
Vogue - Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Hosted Its Spirit Gala Online — And You Can Watch It Through June 18
This spring has seen ballet leap into the digital world... Hosted last night on YouTube, the night raised funds for the Ailey company as well as the Equal Justice Initiative (a non-profit organization providing legal representation to the wrongly convicted and the disadvantaged). The night would bring a world premiere, archival footage of one of Mr. Ailey’s first-ever performances, and an expanded reimagining of Revelations. With cameos and kind words delivered by Ailey fans like Cynthia Erivo, Leslie Odom, Jr., Timothy Shriver (whose own daughter was student at The Ailey School), Angela Bassett, and more, it was a celebration of the dance company’s rich history and a moment of much-needed togetherness in honor of Black Lives Matter.
Since 2013, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has appeared annually at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater. This year is the exception, somewhat. As part of its Ailey All Access series of online presentations, begun March 30 in the wake of the pandemic, the troupe has been working on ways to still offer a June season of a sort. Before the theater shutdown, live performances had been scheduled for June 10 to 14. Instead, starting this Thursday at 8 p.m. EDT, viewers at home will be able to stream a four-part mixed bill, performed on the Koch stage, the was filmed in 2015.
When Jamar Roberts, the resident choreographer of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, got a call from Works & Process at the Guggenheim Museum inviting him to contribute a video, he had been sheltering for a few weeks in a friend’s basement outside New York, not dancing or feeling at all inspired to dance. Since the museum closed, Works & Process, a long-running performance series, has been commissioning its alumni to make videos no longer than five minutes. Each Sunday and Monday, another installment is posted on YouTube. The playlist now includes more than a dozen, with dozens more on the way.