Modern dance is waning in popularity, and young people don't seem to feel as connected with the work anymore. So what's a 60-year-old ballet company like Alvin Ailey to do to seem limber again?
Alvin Ailey's groundbreaking dance company is celebrating its 60th anniversary with a season at New York City Center. Take a step back through their sensational past productions.
There aren't many people left on earth who can speak to the spirit of Alvin Ailey - not in terms of his dances or the institution he created, but the man. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater celebrates its 60th anniversary this season and along with that, the work of another choreographer who mercifully is on earth right now: Ronald K. Brown. Through his dances, he speaks to the spirit of Ailey, and for nearly 20 years now he has enriched Ailey's company with unaffected, soulful choreography that gives its dancers dimension and depth.
On March 30, 1958, at the 92nd Street Y in NYC, dancer Alvin Ailey and a group of African-American dancers performed onstage together for the first time. Since Then, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the company Ailey formed, has become legendary in the dance world. To commemorate its 60th anniversary, AAADT has dubbed its annual City Center season "Ailey 60." From Nov. 28-Dec. 30 choreographers including Ronald K. Brown, Jessica Lang, and Rennie Harris will present premieres, alongside the works of current artistic director Robert Battle, Judith Jamison, and over two dozen pieces by Alvin Ailey himself. We asked a few of the company members to share what the anniversary means to them.
"My mind goes into imagination land," the dancer Jacqueline Green (left) said about performing a luminous solo from Alvin Ailey's "The Lark Ascending." "At the
The choreographer Ronald K. Brown stepped into a big studio at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and greeted the dancers with warm hugs. Then, almost without a word, he began to move, his feet and shoulders swaying to the beat, his upper body undulating slightly. "The Love," a Malian song with a slow, hypnotizing groove, was playing on the sound system. The dancers gathered in a semicircle around him, moving to the rhythm. Just like that, they were drawn into the spirit of the dance.
The dance legend who inspired some of Alvin Ailey's most iconic choreography is guiding a rising star to follow her actual footsteps. Judith Jamison met Ailey in a stairwell after bombing an audition in 1965, when she was 22. But that first misstep leg to a 50-year career after Ailey invited her to join his new Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, which was showcasing black modern dancers just as the civil rights movement was also hitting its stride.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Performances and Speeches at 2018 BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Watch Judith Jamison speak on the purpose of dance, Judith Jamison's acceptance speech and her own take on black girl magic, and Jacqueline Green perform Judith Jamison's iconic solo "Cry" featuring vocals by Yolanda Adams.
Rachael McLaren, Yannick Lebrun and Jacqueline Green performed the “Wade in the Water” section of Revelations to promote the national tour.
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