Bennett Rink

Executive Director

Bennett Rink became AILEY’s Executive Director in 2013. He first joined the organization as Manager of Special Events in 1994, became Development Director in 1998, and served as Senior Director of Development and External Affairs from 2007 to 2012. In his tenure overseeing AILEY’s development and fundraising efforts, Mr. Rink led a major capital campaign to establish the organization’s first permanent home, The Joan Weill Center for Dance, which opened in 2005 and attracts more than 200,000 visitors each year. Mr. Rink also oversaw the campaign to build the organization’s endowment, which today stands at more than $150 million. When AILEY celebrated Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's 50th anniversary in 2008, Mr. Rink supervised an 18-month celebration, including events, promotions, collaborations, and special performances, bringing public awareness of the organization to new heights.

During his time as Executive Director, the Company has deepened its presence in New York City by establishing an annual spring season to complement its New York City Center winter season, while also extending its role as America’s “Cultural Ambassador to the World” with tours to Africa, Europe, and South America. In order to reach audiences beyond live performances, Mr. Rink has broadened the organization’s commitment to creating film and digital content.

Mr. Rink has also extended the reach and impact of AILEY’s educational offerings, including the creation of new curricula and programs that reach across generations, from elementary school children to older adults. In 2017 the organization unveiled the Elaine Wynn and Family Education Wing, providing much-needed additional studios and classroom space. The building now comprises 87,000 square feet and is the largest destination for dance in New York City. 

In recent years, Mr. Rink has spearheaded a branding initiative to express the totality of AILEY’s offerings, creating greater connectivity between Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ailey II, The Ailey School, Ailey Arts in Education & Community Programs, and Ailey Extension. Currently, he is leading a collaboration with the Whitney Museum on Edges of Ailey, a major exhibition that will be on display in the Museum’s main gallery space from September 2024 to February 2025 and feature on-site performances by the Ailey companies as well as panel discussions, classes, and dance workshops. 

Mr. Rink is a graduate of Syracuse University and holds a BFA in theater.

Featured News Releases

Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation Names Francesca Harper As Artistic Director Of The Ailey II Company

New York – September 1, 2021 – Robert Battle, Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, announced today that internationally renowned performer, choreographer, director, and multi-disciplinary artist Francesca Harper has been appointed Artistic Director of Ailey II, the Ailey organization’s acclaimed company of young dancers. Ms. Harper will assume her duties on September 7, 2021, and will immediately begin preparing for Ailey II’s return to the stage. Ailey II’s 2021-2022 season will kick off in December with participation in Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s annual season at New York City Center, in which Ailey II will perform in Mr. Ailey’s classic Memoria, and will continue with the company’s own 2022 New York City season March 23-April 3 at The Ailey Citigroup Theater, as well as a U.S. tour.

$20 Million Gift From Mackenzie Scott To Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater To Fund The Company's Transformative "Dancing Forward" Initiatives

NEW YORK, NY — June 22, 2021 — Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater today gratefully acknowledged an exceptional gift of $20 million from MacKenzie Scott—one of 286 donations the philanthropist and author made last week to non-profit organizations across the United States—and announced that the company will use the funds to support its “Dancing Forward” initiatives.

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Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation Opens Its New Elaine Wynn & Family Education Wing At The Joan Weill Center For Dance

NEW YORK, NY, October 19, 2017 — At a festive ribbon-cutting, celebrated on the evening of October 18, leaders of the Ailey organization joined with dancers, students, donors, and friends from New York City’s dance community to open The Elaine Wynn & Family Education Wing, a 10,000-square-foot expansion of Ailey’s permanent home, The Joan Weill Center for Dance.

Featured Press Coverage

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The New York Times: Scene City

The Metropolitan Museum of Art honored its new acquisitions, including Ronald S. Lauder’s promised gift, at a black-tie gala on Dec. 7. The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater celebrated Robert Battle’s 10 years as artistic director at its opening night gala on Dec. 1, held at the Ziegfeld Ballroom. And the New York Philharmonic held a concert and benefit dinner at Lincoln Center on Dec. 2.

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Partnership For New York City - Alvin Ailey Dance Theater And Partnership Launch New COVID-19 PSA

The Partnership for New York City and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater this week released a new public service announcement aimed at encouraging New Yorkers to mask up. COVID-19 cases are mounting, with 73% of cases traced to home environments. This is where people will let down their guard during the holidays, so this PSA campaign is intended to remind New Yorkers to push through pandemic fatigue and follow protocols.

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Detroit Public TV - Arts Engines: Bennett Rink

"You can see this tremendous need for people to connect to their sense of creativity... their sense of how to find hope... and I think the arts are crucial to keeping us feeling that we do have hope... at times when we are really in need of that." Bennett Rink, Exec. Dir. of Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation speaks to the role of dance and the arts today.