For years, young dancers fresh out of high school who wanted to continue their training were faced with a choice: Join a trainee program or enroll as a dance major at a four-year university. Nowadays, the options are vast, ranging from one-year postgraduate training programs and second company positions to unique partnerships between lauded dance academies and colleges. As attitudes around dancers going to college have shifted, aspiring professionals now have a host of paths to choose from.
Ailey/Fordham BFA Program
ELLE.com - The Ailey School's Tribute To Judy Chicago's 'The Dinner Party' Will Move You Into The Weekend
When Judy Chicago debuted her now-iconic feminist art installation The Dinner Party 40 years ago, everyone had thoughts—it was striking and powerful piece to some, and controversial to others. Featuring a large triangular table with 39 dinner plate settings, the piece served as a tribute to women Chicago believed deserved a seat at the table and quickly became her most recognized and praised body of work. In honor of International Women's Day and the 40th anniversary of The Dinner Party, Chicago joined forces with The Ailey School to honor the 39 pioneering figures through another art form: dance.
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.
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.
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.
After all the work that goes into applying to college BFA programs, it can seem like getting that long-awaited acceptance letter is the be-all and end-all. But talk to most seniors, and they'll tell you that acceptance is just the beginning of a whirlwind experience. We asked five senior dance majors from some of the nation's top programs to look back on their college journeys and offer advice to their freshman selves. From The Ailey/Fordham BFA program, we spoke to Meagan King.
Running five blocks in five minutes, studying flashcards at the ballet barre or learning the Horton fortifications might sound all too familiar for students in the Fordham/Ailey B.F.A. program. The graduating class of 2019 spent eight semesters in a unique program that blends both academic rigor and artistic development as a dancer.
Miami-raised and Fordham-educated, Ally Love is the in-area host of the Brooklyn Nets, an Adidas global ambassador, a Peloton instructor, an Alvin Ailey-trained dancer, a certified health coach and the founder of Love Squad, a company that empowers young women through panel discussions and group workouts.
When Christopher Wilson, FCLC ’17, found out that he had made the company of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, he immediately called his mother, who screamed and dropped the phone. “It took, like, a good two minutes for her to come back to me, so I just sort of sat there, just listening to her, and I was also crying at the same time,” he said.
One way students can explore dance's past is by learning historical repertory. Ailey/Fordham BFA students take Black Traditions in American Dance and World Dance History, which are often coordinated with repertory classes. "The movement shows you a different side of what you're learning in the classroom," says Marie Paspe, a recent graduate of the program, who learned Blues Suite and Revelations from Ailey II artistic director emerita Sylvia Waters.