Sarita Allen

Sarita Allen has had the career most performers only dream about. The classically-trained Seattle native auditioned for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center (now known as The Ailey School) on a lark and received a scholarship. Handpicked by Alvin Ailey, she became an original member of the Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble (now called Ailey II), and a year later joined Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. In her first season, Mr. Ailey created lead roles for Allen in two Ellington premieres: The Mooche (opposite Ailey veterans Judith Jamison, Estelle Spurlock, and Sara Yarborough) and Night Creature. These ballets set the tone for her Ailey tenure with leading roles, and outstanding performances including: galas at The Paris Opera, the Acropolis, the Great Pyramids of Giza, The Kennedy Center, and at the White House for two Presidents.

Allen was an original member of Complexions Contemporary Ballet, and is currently an Artistic Advisor to that company. Her career extends beyond the concert dance genre. She performed in the motion pictures Angel Heart and The Cotton Club, and The Jacksons’ music video of their song “Torture." She also choreographed Elton John's Aida for Big League Production tours.

An Ailey Extension faculty member since its inception, Allen began teaching the Revelations master class in 2010 and developed her “labor of love”- the Ailey Barre technique. A teacher, dance legend, choreographer, and Ailey ambassador, she shares the Ailey experience nationwide. As a consultant and member of the HBO Wellness Team, Allen designed and implemented the HBO Pilates program. Allen’s wellness/fitness work has been acknowledged in fitness publications including Self Magazine, Fit Life, and Very Well, the number one online fitness reference.

Featured News Releases

Ailey Extension Celebrates National Dance Day On September 18 By Reopening Studios For Public To Enjoy Weekend Hybrid And In-Studio Only Classes For First Time Since March 2020

New York, NY – September 2, 2021 – Ailey Extension will celebrate National Dance Day by welcoming New York City area dancers back to the studios to experience the vibrant energy of its “real classes for real people” in person starting Saturday, September 18. For the first time since March 2020, New Yorkers of all experience levels and backgrounds are invited to join in the dance at the Joan Weill Center for Dance – NYC’s largest building dedicated to dance – with their favorite instructors, inspiring guest artists and esteemed musicians. An updated schedule of classes allows fully vaccinated New Yorkers ages 12+ to gather in small groups on Saturdays and Sundays. Virtual class options remain available seven days a week for those 16+ who cannot join in-studio and for children ages 5-11 under the Kids & Teens Sunday Dance Series.

Fit And Fabulous Fun During National Physical Fitness Month With Virtual Classes and Special Workshops At Ailey Extension

New York, NY – May 5, 2021 – Ailey Extension has kicked off National Physical Fitness Month with an invitation for people around the world to have fun being fit and fabulous during in an array of virtual classes and special workshops. During the month of May, students are encouraged to keep dancing and experience the physical and mental benefits of dance, including improved strength and flexibility, coordination, endurance, and decreased stress. All are welcome to celebrate by moving and grooving with popular instructors during a Hip-Hop Workshop on Thursday, May 6, a special Mother’s Day weekend BellydanceBURN workshop on Saturday, May 8; a Kids & Teens West African Workshop on Saturday, May 15, and a NY Style Mambo Workshop on Saturday, May 22. Two new weekly Beginner Horton and Morning Jumpstart classes give dancers even more opportunities to get their fitness fix on a consistent basis.

Ailey All Access Premieres Special Cry Film Adaptation on Mother's Day In Conjunction With The 50th Anniversary Of The Beloved Work

New York, NY – April 30, 2021 – The Ailey organization is furthering the pioneering vision of its founder by “bringing dance back to the people” and lifting spirits through Ailey All Access, a series of online offerings including streaming of free performance broadcasts, Ailey Extension dance and fitness classes, and more. In a joyful nod to the 50th anniversary of Alvin Ailey’s beloved work, Cry, viewers will be treated to a new film adaptation of Jacqueline Green interpreting the extraordinary solo premiering on a Mother’s Day Matinee, on Sunday, May 9 at 3pm EDT. Created as a birthday present for Alvin Ailey’s mother Mrs. Lula Cooper, Cry debuted May 4, 1971 and is dedicated to “all Black women everywhere – especially our mothers.”

Featured Press Coverage