The covid-19 pandemic changed the creative strategies of many artists, particularly choreographers. How do you move dancers around a rehearsal studio when everyone has to stay six feet apart? The answer defines the two premieres presented by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater on the company’s opening night at the Kennedy Center on Tuesday.
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.
Artistic Director Emerita, Judith Jamison sits with Tamron Hall to discuss the AILEY Documentary, the 50th anniversary of Alvin Ailey’s beloved Cry, and the highly anticipated 2022 US Tour, kicking off Philadelphia.
The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is back on stage performing in front of a live audience for the first time in a year and a half. The legendary dance company held a gala Wednesday to celebrate the first performance since COVID shut it down in March of last year.
"He’s just as important as Michael Jordan,” said Tremaine Emory. Emory was referring to Alvin Ailey, the Black activist and choreographer who founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1958, when Black stories weren’t being told onstage through modern dance. His name isn’t as familiar as Michael Jordan’s, but his impact is far reaching. Ailey passed more than three decades ago, but his name still lives on through the dance company that he founded and the work he contributed. In 1960 he produced “Revelations,” a piece that tells the story of African American culture from slavery to freedom, and is still being performed by his company today. Emory, the designer behind Denim Tears, wanted to honor that with his newest project, an apparel collection called Cry/Revelations that was produced by Champion. Emory said Champion approached him about a collaboration and he immediately knew he wanted to do something connected to Alvin Ailey.
Eavesdrop pre-curtain at Bay Area dance shows and you’ll hear audience members sharing their top dance memories. High on almost everyone’s list? Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at UC Berkeley. The company first visited the campus in 1960, two years after its founding, and has come back every year since. And neither Artistic Director Robert Battle nor Cal Performances’ leader Jeremy Geffen were about to let that Bay Area bond lapse in a pandemic, so the dancers have returned virtually in a streaming program that does an astonishing job of relaying their in-person power. The performance premieres Thursday, June 10, with a digital “watch party,” and will be available for streaming through Sept. 8.
Glenn Allen Sims and Linda Celeste Sims did something many couples do: They had a baby. But they're no ordinary couple. As two treasured veterans of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater — Glenn for 23 years, and Linda for 24 — they have long persisted in jobs that have pushed them to their physical limits. With the birth of their son, Ellington James Sims, in April 2019, they faced a new challenge.
Since Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater began rolling out its online programming in March, I've been waiting for Ailey's always uplifting "Cry" to make an appearance. It arrived, approximately, just in time for Mother's Day. Ailey created this bracing 16-minute solo in 1971 as a birthday present to his mother, dedicating it to "all black women everywhere - especially our mothers."