Cry

In 1971, Alvin Ailey choreographed the ballet, Cry, as a birthday present for his mother; it went on to become an enduring work of American art. This 16-minute solo, which was first danced by the legendary Judith Jamison, is dedicated to "all black women everywhere - especially our mothers."

The solo is made up of three parts – the first set to Alice Coltrane’s “Something about John Coltrane,” the second to Laura Nyro’s “Been on a Train” and the last has the Voices of East Harlem singing “Right On, Be Free.” The female soloist represents all black women, depicting their African origins, the trials and tribulations they have endured and their joyful triumph over those hardships.  

When Cry premiered at New York City Center in 1971, it was an immediate sensation. It propelled Judith Jamison, who is now the Artistic Director Emerita of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and was Ailey’s muse for Cry, to international stardom in the dance world. In its review of the premiere, The New York Times proclaimed, “…for years it has been obvious that Judith Jamison is no ordinary dancer. Now Alvin Ailey has given his African queen a solo that wonderfully demonstrates what she is and where she is… Rarely have a choreographer and a dancer been in such accord.” Since Jamison’s portrayal of this archetypal figure first popularized the piece, it has become a distinct honor for Ailey dancers to follow in her footsteps by performing Cry in its entirety onstage.

Featured News Releases

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater National Tour January 28 - May 8 Celebrates A Decade Of Robert Battle's Leadership And 50th Anniversary Of Alvin Ailey's Cry

NEW YORK – JANUARY 27, 2022 – Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, America’s beloved cultural ambassador to the world, returns to stages on a coast-to-coast National Tour starting January 28 in Philadelphia, kicking off Black History Month at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. on February 1 , and traveling to cities like Atlanta, Miami, Berkeley, Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles before the finale in Newark on May 8. Marking a decade of leading the Company forward, Artistic Director Robert Battle presents Ailey’s renowned artists in a diverse repertory of premieres, new productions, and Ailey classics. Highlights include a Battle 10th Anniversary program; two world premieres adapted from video to stage, For Four by Robert Battle and Holding Space by Ailey Resident Choreographer Jamar Roberts; the return of hip-hop innovator Rennie Harris’s acclaimed Lazarus; 50 Years of Cry commemorating Ailey’s beloved classic dedicated to “all Black women everywhere—especially our mothers;” and Ailey & Ellington, spotlighting cherished classics from the series of more than a dozen ballets that Alvin Ailey created celebrating the musical genius of the eminent American composer Duke Ellington. Alvin Ailey’s American masterpiece Revelations, which has inspired generations through its powerful storytelling and soul- stirring spirituals since its creation in 1960, will reach all cities on the North American tour.

Ailey All Access Series Of Digital Performance Broadcasts January 31-June 20 Headlines Slate Of Free Ailey Virtual Offerings

New York, NY – January 20, 2022 – The Ailey organization committed to furthering the pioneering vision of its founder Alvin Ailey continues to find ways to build community, inspire, and celebrate the indomitable human spirit through dance with a new slate of digital programing in conjunction with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s national tour marking Artistic Director Robert Battle’s 10th anniversary and 50 years of Cry. Upcoming offerings include: Ailey All Access, a returning online initiative featuring a series of performance broadcasts January 31 – June 20; a virtual educational performance experience will introduce young audiences to the magic of Ailey; Ailey Extension's dance and fitness classes program invites fans around the world to join in the dance with new workshops; and viewers are encouraged to explore the life and work of a brilliant and enigmatic genius through feature-length documentary portrait, AILEY.

Ailey Artistry Reaches Across America To Bring Dance To The People In Person, Online, And Through A National Television Network Broadcast

NEW YORK – JANUARY 5, 2022 — From January 11 through May 8, audiences across the country will have the opportunity to experience the extraordinary artistry of Ailey with a cornucopia of performances and programs, including two national tours—by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Ailey II—as well as the nationwide broadcast of the acclaimed documentary film AILEY, with its immersive portrait of dance pioneer Alvin Ailey, and the continuation of Ailey All Access, the organization’s digital programming for all audiences.

Featured Press Coverage

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Dance Magazine - "Why I Dance" Ailey's Jacqueline Green On Representation In Dance

As a Black girl from the inner city of Baltimore, I hadn’t known anything about the codified world of dance growing up. Ballet was something I had only seen on TV—and who I saw in it never looked like me. I never thought that would be my future. My first introduction to dance was at my audition for the Baltimore School for the Arts, and from there a love bloomed.