Modern dance impresario Alvin Ailey once asked photographer Jack Mitchell to shoot publicity images of his dancers for their next performance without even knowing the title of their new work. Seeing “choreography” in the images Mitchell produced, Ailey leapt into an ongoing professional relationship with Mitchell. “I think that speaks to the trust that they had in one another,” says Rhea Combs, a curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Ailey “knew it would work out somehow, some way.” This partnership, which began in the 1960s, led to the production of more than 10,000 memorable images, and the museum has now made those photos available online.
Dance Magazine - You Can Now View More Than 10,000 Photos From Jack Mitchell's Alvin Ailey Collection Online
From 1961 to 1994, legendary photographer Jack Mitchell captured thousands of moments with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Now, this treasure trove of dance history is available to the public for viewing via the online archives of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture.
National Museum Of African American History & Culture - Alvin Ailey Photography Collection Is Now Available To The Public
On World AIDS Day and the 30th anniversary of Alvin Ailey’s death (Dec. 1), the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture is making available the collection of more than 10,000 photographs chronicling the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater from 1961 to 1994. The Jack Mitchell Photography of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Collection includes 8,288 black-and- white negatives, 2,106 color slides and transparencies, and 339 black-and-white prints depicting private photo sessions, repertory by Alvin Ailey and a wide range of choreographers and iconic solo performers.
In 1960, America was in the midst of a social transformation. The Supreme Court had ruled "separate but equal" unconstitutional six years prior, but the country's response was slow and turbulent as desegregation incited violent responses. Surrounded by powerful civil rights momentum, a 29-year-old Alvin Ailey created an ode to the resilience of the human spirit: Revelations.
A crowd filled the little steps of City Hall Wednesday morning for the historic marker dedication for legendary hometown dancer and choreographer Alvin Ailey. Rogers Mayor Tammy Cockrum, who emceed the event, said she was not only impressed by the town's response with more than 50 residents and almost 150 students in attendance, but also from people who traveled to Rogers from across Central Texas and even as far as Houston.
Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient - Robert Battle on Behalf of Alvin Ailey
Ailey was a choreographer, dancer, and the founder of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, which is renowned for its inspiring performances in 71 countries on 6 continents since 1958. Ailey’s work was groundbreaking in its exploration of the African American experience and the enrichment of the modern dance tradition, including his beloved American masterpiece Revelations.
Alvin Ailey was not just a dancer; many would call him a revolutionary. The creation of his company 56 years ago marked the start of a new era in dance, dedicated to the African-American experience.
Alvin Ailey, the revelatory dancer and choreographer who began life in Rogers, Texas, and died in Manhattan in 1989 at the age of 58, has been posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, by President Barack Obama.