Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York City is celebrating 50 years of training students to become professional dancers. Graduates of the renowned dance company have gone on to become successful Broadway performers and entertain people all over the world.
When it comes to modern dance, Alvin Ailey was one of the most influential innovators. He created one of the nation’s most respected dance schools, The Ailey School. Teen Kids News talks to Melanie Person, Co-Director of The Ailey School and teacher Shay Bland, who teaches Horton, one of the core techniques in the curriculum.
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.
When a school is a training ground for a company, its performances offer an interesting opportunity to see the way technique and performance styles are forged. On Wednesday night the Alvin AIley School presented its Spring Celebration Concert at the Ailey Citigroup Theater, and the senior students who too pride of place were remarkable for the ardent sincerity of their demeanor as well as the excellence of their dancing.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has announced the appointment of two new co-directors for the Ailey School, its training academy.