This theater, for this city. New York City Center Theater celebrated its 75th anniversary on Tuesday night. That milestone neatly coincides with the annual five-week Christmas season of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the theater’s first resident modern dance company, itself celebrating an anniversary this year: its 60th.
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?
When Alvin Ailey and a small group of African-American modern dancers first took the stage at the 92nd Street Y in 1958, it was groundbreaking and revolutionary. Revelations captured the agony and triumphs of the African American experiences. Now six decades later, his multi-cultural dance company is still charting a new course in its 60th season at City Center.
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.
Although it's exciting when a young new dancer catches your eye for the first time, it's even more thrilling to watch that performer mature artistically over the years. These days, many leading New York companies are enriched by veteran members who've been dancing for decades, such as American Ballet Theatre's Stella Abrera and Gillian Murphy, Paul Taylor Dance Company's Michael Trusnovec, New York City Ballet's Maria Kowroski and Mark Morris Dance Group's Lauren Grant, who's reprising her role as the heroine of The Hard Nut at BAM this month.
We celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, a jewel in Manhattan’s artistic crown.
Newsweek - Alvin Ailey 60th Year Celebration: Judith Jamison, Robert Battle And More Honor The Legacy Of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
When Alvin Ailey set out to start his own dance company in New York City in 1958, he likely had no idea his passion and call to dance would result in a nearly 85,000-square-foot performance center bearing his name and thousands of students entering its doors day after day, while company dancers traveled to perform his choreography on stages around the globe. He certainly couldn't have known his effort to create a safe and esteemed place for dancers from all walks of life would extend well past his 1989 death, some 30 years.
When Christopher Wilson, FCLC ’17, found out that he had made the company of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, he immediately called his mother, who screamed and dropped the phone. “It took, like, a good two minutes for her to come back to me, so I just sort of sat there, just listening to her, and I was also crying at the same time,” he said.
In Lazarus — the stunning finale to Rennie Harris’s dark trilogy for the Ailey company — a cluster of dancers sways on their toes, heads cocked as if their necks had been broken by hanging. Others roll forward like corpses carried away on the tide. In a recurring motif that evokes the Pietà, one person gently drags another, collapsed in his arms, across the stage. This is the “strange fruit” of African-American history. When the dancers pray, they shake their clasped hands like gamblers desperate for a lucky roll.