Troy Powell


On July 1, 2012, Troy Powell became only the second person to lead Ailey II since its inception in 1974. A native New Yorker, Mr. Powell began his dance training at the age of nine as a scholarship student at The Ailey School. Following his graduation from The High School of Performing Arts, he became a member of Ailey II and then joined Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1991. He toured throughout the United States, South America, Europe, and South Africa for ten years with the Company before becoming a master teacher at The Ailey School and resident choreographer of Ailey II. Mr. Powell has choreographed ballets for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ailey II, The Ailey School, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, National Dance Company of the Bahamas, and Alaska Dance Theater, as well as three episodes of “Sesame Street.” His guest artist credits include performing with companies including Batsheva, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, and Complexions. Mr. Powell has been featured in an American Express commercial with the Ailey company and has also appeared on television in George C. Wolfe’s The Colored Museum, the PBS Great Performances: Dance in America special “A Hymn for Alvin Ailey,” choreographed by Judith Jamison, “America’s Next Top Model,” and most recently the Polish version of “So You Think You Can Dance.”

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"I feel like I'm leaving my child!" calls out Dwana Smalwood, as the studio door clicks shut behind her. She feigns a weeping expression - wide eyes glancing backward, lithe arms gesturing loningly - then lets out a self-effacing laugh, knowing she'll be back right after lunch.
Troy Powell has become only the second person in almost 40 years to lead the renowned second company of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ailey II. Powell has had a unique rise to his current position as Artistic Director. His journey began at age 9 when Alvin Ailey selected him to receive a scholarship to The Ailey School.
Our dance community and dance history are incredibly rich; those who have achieved the highest levels of success in this often difficult disipline deserve considerable attention. This series, "Dance: Legends and Legacies," is presented with our dance icons and their legacies in mind.