The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater celebrated the 50th anniversary of The Ailey School with a gala on June 13 at Lincoln Center.
NYC Dance Week is in full swing, and Ailey Extension is celebrating by offering dozens of free classes for new students. Instructor Karen Arceneaux says potential students shouldn't be intimidated by the name Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. "We have real classes for real people, so if you're a beginner, if you've never taken a class before, you can come in. It's a welcoming environment. It's inclusive, and at the end of class, you feel like a dancer,' Arceneaux said.
Alvin Ailey is a name synonymous with both world-class ballet and the black American experience. Ailey founded his dance company in 1958 to showcase the best black talent, and, in 1969, a school of dance. And last night, the company celebrated its school’s 50th anniversary, at Lincoln Center.
Get an up-close view as Jacquelin Harris, Jermaine Terry, Jeroboam Bozeman and Solomon Dumas from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater perform an excerpt from Artistic Director Robert Battle's "Juba."
In 1979, a young New York City boy met Alvin Ailey at his public elementary school during a dance workshop; unbeknownst to him it was an audition. Then nine-year-old Troy Powell had no idea who Mr. Ailey was and no formal dance training, although he came from a large African American family where dance was interwoven into their everyday home life. "I was handpicked to join the first children's program at The Ailey School, and the experience made a huge impact and changed my life," says Powell, who continued to climb the ranks through the School's professional division, Ailey II, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. He succeeded Sylvia Waters in 2012 as Ailey II's Artistic Director.
On Thursday, June 13, the centerpiece of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Lincoln Center engagement will be The Ailey Spirit gala, which launches the 50th anniversary celebration of The Ailey School. The evening’s honorary chair isaward-winningactressLorraine Toussaint, star in NBC’s “The Village,” Netflix’s “She-Ra and the Princesses of Power,” AMC’s “Into the Badlands,” and the recently released supernatural thriller “Fast Color” and also the proud parent of a student at The Ailey School.
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.