Dance brought Constance Stamatiou to life. Her journey began as a 5-year-old at Pat Hall's Dance Unlimited off Independence Boulevard, where she took everything from ballet to tap to jazz to gymnastics. Stamatiou returns next week with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at Belk Theater on Feb. 25-26 - 7:30p.m. curtain.
When Lucy wanted to find a place in her Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood to send her two young and very active boys, she didn’t have to look very far. Her family lives next to Alvin Ailey, the famous dance school. At the time, she had no idea what a big impact weekly dance lessons would make on her sons’ lives, or how the culture and discipline of dance would shape them as teens who are now in high school. Here’s Lucy’s story.
Dahsir Hausif began dancing the way a lot of young boys do: "My mom jut dragged me to an audition one day," he says, "and I was like, O.K., I guess I'm doing this now." He was 6. At the time, he says, surfing was his main love. But that audition at the Ailey School in New York, from which the most talented of students go on to join the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and other famous dance companies, changes his life. What immediately pulled him in was its dedicated boys' program.
For 50 years, the Ailey School on the west side of Manhattan has provided world class training to dancers of all ages and backgrounds from New York City and around the globe. From Madonna to Jasmine Guy, alumni have gone on to be trailblazers in the industry. Launched by Alvin Ailey in 1969, the school started out with just 125 students and aimed to provide access to arts and dance to under-resourced communities. Ailey’s message of inclusivity is one that resonates to this day with the school’s co-directors, Tracy Inman and Melanie Person.
Young students often jump from creative movement - the perfect introduction to any modern technique - straight into ballet, bypassing modern until high school or even college. Yet teaching modern to children shapes future well-rounded, adventure-seeking dancers - students who are not afraid to really run, slide on the floor or create movement.
Students from The Ailey School appear on an episode of Sesame Street.
Jacqulyn Buglisi has a flair for drama. To encourage the students in her intermediate and advanced Graham classes at The Ailey School to open their sternums in a high release, she tells them to stretch "like a flower came out of your heart."
When Brenda Didier moved her studio, Lincolnshire Academy of Dance, to its new location in Vernon Hills, Illinois, she made sure the new setting could accommodate all the necessary elements: barres, mirrors, dance floors - and space for accompanists to play for the school's classes.
Step at a Time: Matilda Mackey from Ohio City, Ohio, practices jumps and poses on the main plaza at Lincoln Center as temperatures were in the high 80s on Tuesday.
It takes many years of study to acquire a professional level of dance technique, so aspiring dancers must begin training at a very young age. Even those who start performing professionally as youngsters must continue training through their adolescent years.