Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater History
First Performance of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
On March 30, Alvin Ailey and a group of young, black modern dancers perform for the first time as members of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at New York’s 92nd Street YM-YWHA.
The Company travels on what Alvin Ailey calls “the station wagon tours” in a vehicle driven by a longtime friend of the Company, Mickey Bord.
Alvin Ailey Alvin Ailey, founder of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Photo by Eric N. Hong
Alvin Ailey's Masterpiece Revelations Is Born
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater becomes a resident company of the 51st Street YWCA’s Clark Center for the Performing Arts—the Company’s first official residence.
Alvin Ailey choreographs his classic masterpiece Revelations, which brings the Company international acclaim.
Revelations Alvin Ailey, Lucinda Ransom and Loretta Abbott in Revelations. Photo courtesy of The Ailey Archives.
Joined the Ailey repertory in 1960
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Goes On International Tour
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is chosen to go on an extensive tour to the Far East, Southeast Asia and Australia as part of President John F. Kennedy’s progressive “President’s Special International Program for Cultural Presentations.”
Tour poster from Saigon, Vietnam, 1962.
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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Collaborates With Duke Ellington
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performs in a Chicago program entitled “My People: First Negro Centennial,” a collaboration between Duke Ellington and Talley Beatty.
Judith Jamison sees Alvin Ailey perform with the Company for the first time in Philadelphia.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performs at the Rio de Janeiro International Arts Festival.
Judith Jamison Judith Jamison, Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, first saw the Company perform in 1963. Photo by Andrew Eccles.
Judith Jamison's First Performance With Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
On October 30, Judith Jamison dances with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for the first time. She will be one of the most recognized and lauded members of the Ailey company throughout her 15 year tenure as a dancer.
Tour poster from Florence, Italy, 1965.
Joined the Ailey repertory in 1965
Ailey Performs in Inaugural Arts Festival in Senegal
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater participates in the first Negro Arts Festival in Dakar, Senegal.
Alvin Ailey choreographs Antony and Cleopatra for Leontyne Price at Lincoln Center.
Leontyne Price in Antony and Cleopatra. Photo courtesy of The Ailey Archives.
Ailey Embarks On Ten-Country African Tour
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater appears in a television dance special directed by Lars Egler called Riedaglia. The piece features Ailey’s choreography set to music by George Reidel. Ailey wins the Grand Prix Italia, a prestigious television production award.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater embarks on a two-and-a-half month, 10 country tour of Africa for the State Department.
Tour poster from Madagascar, 1967.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Performs At The White House
Alvin Ailey sets Revelations on Ballet Folklorico for the opening ceremonies of the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. This becomes the only performance of Revelations by a company other than Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater or Ailey II.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater receives its first grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performs at the White House for President Johnson.
Alvin Ailey set his masterpiece Revelations on Ballet Folklorico for the opening ceremonies of the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Photo of Olympics logo.
Ailey Begins its Inaugural Season in Manhattan
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater moves to Brooklyn Academy of Music. Alvin Ailey establishes a school.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's first season in Manhattan at the Billy Rose Theater.
Masekela Langage The Company in Masekela Langage, choreographed in 1969. Photo courtesy of The Ailey Archives.
Ailey Goes On Landmark USSR Tour
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the school relocate to 229 East 59th Street in Manhattan to share a renovated church building with Pearl Lang. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Pearl Lang Dance Company share rehearsal space while Alvin Ailey and Pearl Lang co-direct their joint school, the American Dance Center, in the three available studios.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s second State Department-sponsored tour of North Africa and Europe.
Affected by a financial crisis common to all dance companies in America, Alvin Ailey issues a statement that the Company may be dissolved because of insufficient funds to keep its dancers employed for “a reasonable amount of time each year.”
Dance Theater Foundation, Inc., a non-profit, tax-exempt organization, is created to help seek sustaining funds for the Company.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater goes on a six-week tour of the USSR—the first for an American modern dance company since the days of Isadora Duncan. The Washington Post reports that the Company was kept onstage for 20 minutes of curtain calls after a sold-out opening night performance at Moscow’s Variety Theater.
Alvin Ailey choreographs The River for American Ballet Theatre.
Alvin Ailey is awarded the Gold Star for Best Modern Dance Company and Best Modern Dance Choreographer at the 1970 International Dance Festival.
Tour poster from London, England, 1970.
Joined the Ailey repertory in 1970
Alvin Ailey Choreographs Cry
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater appears for the first time at New York’s City Center. The Company is such a smashing success that it is invited to perform there again three months later.
Alvin Ailey choreographs Cry for Judith Jamison as a birthday present to his mother. Cry becomes an instant hit, bringing even more popularity to Alvin Ailey as a brilliant choreographer and Judith Jamison as an extraordinary dancer.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater participates in the inaugural gala performance of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.
Historical photograph of New York City Center.
Joined the Ailey repertory in 1971
Judith Jamison Receives Dance Magazine Award
Alvin Ailey is awarded an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts degree from Princeton University.
Masazumi Chaya joins Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater as a dancer.
Judith Jamison receives the distinguished Dance Magazine Award.
Judith Jamison becomes a presidential appointee to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
Alvin Ailey choreographs Carmen for the Metropolitan Opera.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater becomes City Center’s first resident modern dance company.
Masazumi Chaya A young Masazumi Chaya performing with the Company. Photo courtesy of The Ailey Archives.
Joined the Ailey repertory in 1972
Ailey Leaps From the Stage to the Screen
Memories and Visions, a television special produced by Ellis Haizlip, is broadcast on PBS on May 6.
Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble—a professional dance company with a full touring schedule—is created in order to help the most talented students from Alvin Ailey American Dance Center make the leap from studio to stage.
CBS airs Ailey Celebrates Ellington, Alvin Ailey’s dance tribute to the American jazz legend.
Tour poster from Paris, France, 1974.
Joined the Ailey repertory in 1974
Ailey Performs at the Duke Ellington Festival
Alvin Ailey receives the Dance Magazine Award.
The Company performs at the Duke Ellington Festival at Lincoln Center with the Ellington Orchestra.
Board of New York Friends of Alvin Ailey is formed.
Tour poster from Paris, France, 1975.
Alvin Ailey Creates Pas de Duke
Alvin Ailey choreographs Pas de Duke for Judith Jamison and Mikhail Baryshnikov and they receive keys to New York City.
The NAACP awards Alvin Ailey the prestigious Spingarn Award.
Poster from "Ailey Celebrates Ellington" performance at Lincoln Center, 1976.
Joined the Ailey repertory in 1976
Ailey Performs For President Carter and at Opening of Studio 54
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performs at President Jimmy Carter’s inaugural gala at the White House.
On April 26, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performs at the opening night of Studio 54.
Tour poster from Tokyo, Japan, 1977.
Joined the Ailey repertory in 1977
Ailey Celebrates its 20th Anniversary
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater celebrates its 20th Anniversary.
On November 15, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater gives a special performance for President Jimmy Carter at the White House.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater gives its fabled “midnight performance” for the Crown Prince of Morocco. Yielding to the Crown Prince’s insistence that the Company celebrate the new year with him, the dancers do not actually perform until 3am, following a full Moroccan New Year feast!
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 20th Anniversary Playbill Cover. Photo courtesy of The Ailey Archives.
Ulysses Dove Creates Inside for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Alvin Ailey receives the Capezio Dance Award for his contributions to dance.
The Company moves into its new home at 1515 Broadway.
Ulysses Dove creates his first ballet, Inside, for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Judith Jamison.
Inside Ulysses Dove and Judith Jamison rehearse Dove's Inside. Photo courtesy of The Ailey Archives.
Ailey Moves to New Custom-Built Studios
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble and Alvin Ailey American Dance Center relocate to four new studios built to their specifications in a building on Broadway.
Tour poster from Tokyo, Japan, 1980.
Judith Jamison and Alexander Godunov Perform Spell
Alexander Godunov and Judith Jamison perform Spell as guest performers at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s opening night gala.
Tour poster from Copenhagen, Denmark, 1981.
Joined the Ailey repertory in 1981
Alvin Ailey American Dance Center Receives Accreditation
Alvin Ailey receives the United Nations Peace Medal.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Center is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance and is now authorized to enroll non-immigrant alien students.
The Ailey School Logo for The Ailey School, formerly Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. Photo courtesy of The Ailey Archives.
Alvin Ailey Choreographs Precipice
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater celebrates its 25th Anniversary.
Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey is founded.
Alvin Ailey choreographs Precipice for the Paris Opera Ballet.
Bishop Desmond Tutu and Alvin Ailey backstage after a performance. Photo courtesy of The Ailey Archives.
Joined the Ailey repertory in 1983
Judith Jamison's Divining Premieres
Judith Jamison premieres her first ballet, Divining, for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, with music by Kimati Dinizulu and Monti Ellison.
Alvin Ailey’s For ‘Bird’–With Love is created and performed to honor Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s relationship with Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey.
Tour poster from Japan, 1984.
Ailey Commences Groundbreaking Tour of China
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is the first modern dance company to go on a U.S. government-sponsored tour of the People’s Republic of China since the normalization of Sino-American relations.
Tour poster from New York City Center, 1985.
Alvin Ailey Awarded The Kennedy Center Honor for Lifetime Contribution to American Culture
On December 4, Alvin Ailey receives The Kennedy Center Honor for lifetime contribution to American culture through the performing arts—the nation’s highest official distinction for creative artists.
Alvin Ailey receives New York City’s highest cultural honor—the Handel Medallion.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater celebrates its 30th Anniversary.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's 30th Anniversary. Photo by Babette Fisch.
Judith Jamison Becomes Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
The entire Ailey organization—Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble and Alvin Ailey American Dance Center—moves to 211 West 61st Street on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
Judith Jamison becomes Artistic Associate for the U.S. tour.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performs with Jessye Norman at the Grand Palais Theatre for the Paris Centennial.
NBC airs Bill Cosby’s special tribute to Alvin Ailey entitled Cosby Salutes Ailey.
Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey launches the first AileyCamp program.
On December 1, Alvin Ailey dies at the age of 58.
Honoring Mr. Ailey’s wish, Judith Jamison becomes the Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater after his death.
Tour poster from Munich, Germany, 1989.
Judith Jamison's Forgotten Time Enters the Ailey Repertory
The Company makes a triumphant return to Russia.
Masazumi Chaya stages Alvin Ailey’s Flowers for the State Ballet of Missouri.
Forgotten Time, a ballet originally choreographed by Judith Jamison for The Jamison Project, is brought into the Ailey repertory.
Tour poster from Taiwan, 1990.
Dance In America Features For 'Bird'-With Love in "Alvin Ailey: Steps Ahead"
Masazumi Chaya accepts the position of Associate Artistic Director at the request of Judith Jamison.
Dance in America features Ulysses Dove’s Episodes and Alvin Ailey’s For ‘Bird’–With Love in “Alvin Ailey: Steps Ahead.”
Judith Jamison choreographs Rift, set to music by Nona Hendryx, for the Company.
Tour poster from Lausanne, Switzerland, 1991.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Performs Shelter
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performs Jawole Willa Jo Zollar’s Shelter.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performs at the televised inaugural gala for President Bill Clinton.
Dance Magazine calls the Ailey company “recession-proof” because of its strong financial status and continually sold-out performances worldwide.
The Company performs for the first time at the Paris Opera.
Tour poster from Paris, France, 1992.
NYC's West 61st Street Gets a New Name
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater celebrates its 35th Anniversary.
Judith Jamison’s autobiography, Dancing Spirit, edited by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, is published by Doubleday.
Historic Annie Liebovitz photo shoot produces poster image that becomes a classic.
New York City’s West 61st Street is renamed Alvin Ailey Place.
Judith Jamison choreographs Hymn, her powerful tribute to Alvin Ailey, in collaboration with the Tony Award-nominated actress and playwright Anna Deavere Smith.
Masazumi Chaya stages Alvin Ailey’s The River for the Royal Swedish Ballet.
Ailey in the Park attracts 30,000 spectators, who congregate in New York City’s Central Park to see the live performance.
Hymn The Company in Hymn. Photo by Annie Leibovitz.
Judith Jamison Choreographs Riverside
Judith Jamison choreographs Riverside, set to music composed by Kimati Dinizulu, for the Company.
Two more studios are added to expand the capacity of Alvin Ailey American Dance Center and provide more rehearsal space.
Judith Jamison and the Company are featured in a very successful American Express ad campaign. Advertising Age calls it “the campaign of the decade.”
Masazumi Chaya stages Alvin Ailey’s The River for Ballet Florida and the National Ballet of Prague.
Tour poster from Antwerp, Belgium, 1995.
Ailey Performs at the Atlanta Olympic Games
Jennifer Dunning’s loving, biographical tribute, Alvin Ailey: A Life in Dance, is published by Addison Wesley.
Masazumi Chaya stages Alvin Ailey’s The River for the Pennsylvania Ballet.
Sweet Release, choreographed by Judith Jamison to an original score by Wynton Marsalis, premieres at the Lincoln Center Festival, accompanied by the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performs at the Atlanta Olympic Games.
Jennifer Dunning's autobiography of Alvin Ailey.
Ailey Embarks On Historic Residency in South Africa
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater embarks on a historic residency in South Africa, following the lifting of the international cultural boycott. The event is covered by Time Magazine and The New York Times.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater becomes the Principal Resident Affiliate of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and dances at its opening night gala.
Tour poster from Japan, 1997.
Ailey Performs at Time Magazine's 75th Anniversary Gala
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater celebrates its 40th Anniversary.
The Ailey organization pioneers its new B.F.A. program—a joint venture between Ailey and Fordham University, which offers students a unique opportunity to receive both superb dance training and a superior liberal arts education.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is the only dance company to perform at Time Magazine’s 75th Anniversary gala.
Judith Jamison is the youngest person ever to receive the Dance USA Award during the Spoleto Festival USA.
Masazumi Chaya stages Alvin Ailey’s The River for the Colorado Ballet.
Judith Jamison receives the New York State Governor’s Arts Award.
Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation begins ground-breaking dance medicine program with HealthSouth.
Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble travels to Cuba.
A two CD box-set, containing the music of Revelations and other Ailey favorites, is released through V2 Records.
Judith Jamison’s newest ballet, Echo: Far From Home, premieres in conjunction with 40th Anniversary celebrations.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater makes a triumphant return to South Africa.
Ailey II Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble (now Ailey II) in Cuba. Photo courtesy of The Ailey Archives.
Judith Jamison Wins Prime Time Emmy Award for "A Hymn for Alvin Ailey"
Orlando Bagwell’s documentary “A Hymn for Alvin Ailey,” inspired by Judith Jamison’s work Hymn, is broadcast nationally on PBS’ Great Performances.
Judith Jamison wins her first Prime Time Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Choreography for her work on the hour-long PBS Great Performances documentary, “A Hymn for Alvin Ailey.”
Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble and Alvin Ailey American Dance Center are re-named Ailey II and The Ailey School, respectively.
AileyCamps are successfully launched in Chicago, IL and Bridgeport, CT.
Ailey II enters its 25th Anniversary season. Sylvia Waters celebrates her 25th year as Artistic Director.
Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey celebrates its 15th Anniversary and the 10th Anniversary of AileyCamp.
Divining, created in 1984 by Artistic Director Judith Jamison, is revived in a new production.
Judith Jamison receives The Kennedy Center Honor for lifetime contribution to American culture through the performing arts—the nation’s highest official distinction for creative artists.
Sylvia Waters Sylvia Waters, Artistic Director of Ailey II. Photo by Eduardo Patino.
Ailey Performs Alonzo King's Following the Subtle Current Upstream
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returns to the Lincoln Center Festival and premieres Judith Jamison’s new ballet, Double Exposure.
Judith Jamison receives an American Choreography Award for her work on the PBS Great Performances documentary, “A Hymn for Alvin Ailey.”
Masazumi Chaya stages Alvin Ailey’s Night Creature for the Rome Opera House and The River for La Scala in Milan.
AileyCamp Boston opens and is honored by Boston Magazine in its annual “The Best of Boston” guide as a program of outstanding merit.
AileyCamp AileyCamp Boston. Photo by Brian Snyder courtesy of the Celebrity Series of Boston.
Joined the Ailey repertory in 2000
Judith Jamison Creates Commissioned Ballet for 2002 Olympic Arts Festival
Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation announces plans for the construction of a permanent home. This state-of-the-art building will be the largest facility dedicated exclusively to dance in the United States.
Judith Jamison is commissioned by the Salt Lake Organizing Committee to create a new ballet for the 2002 Olympic Arts Festival.
Members of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and young students from The Ailey School perform on Sesame Street dancing alongside Big Bird and Elmo.
During Ailey’s engagement in Paris, France, Deputy Mayor Pierre Schapira presents Judith Jamison with the Vermeille Medal, the City of Paris’ highest award.
The Joan Weill Center for Dance Building rendering of The Joan Weill Center for Dance, the new home of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation Breaks Ground on Its New Home
Judith Jamison carries the Olympic torch in Salt Lake City, UT prior to the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performs Jamison’s HERE…NOW. at the Olympic Arts Festival.
President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush award the distinguished National Medal of Arts to both Judith Jamison and Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation.
Masazumi Chaya celebrates his 30th Anniversary with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation breaks ground on its new building in Manhattan. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg joins in the festivities and The New York Times covers the event with a front page photo.
Ailey II is the first company to perform in the reconstructed Winter Garden at the World Financial Center in lower Manhattan.
Judith Jamison is honored by the National Theatre of Ghana and The National Dance Company of Ghana. In recognition of her great achievement in the arts, she is named Naa (Queen Mother) Akuyea Shika.
The Ailey/Fordham B.F.A. in Dance program graduates its first class.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performs Revelations at the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree-lighting ceremony, broadcast on NBC television.
Judith Jamison and members of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater are invited to open the NASDAQ stock market.
Tour poster from Barcelona, Spain, 2002.
Ailey Celebrates Its 45th Anniversary
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater celebrates its 45th Anniversary.
Members of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater perform at a White House State Dinner honoring the President of Kenya, Mwai Kibaki.
Judith Jamison receives the Making a Difference Award presented by the NAACP ACT-SO.
The Capezio Ballet Makers Dance Foundation presents the 52nd annual Capezio Dance Award to Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performs for the first time in Cyprus, where American Embassy officials praise the Company as “superb ambassadors for the USA and for the artistic spirit that brightens our lives and erases the shadows.”
Alvin Ailey Dance Moves!, an innovative approach to exercise and fitness, is published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang.
Sylvia Waters is honored with a New York Dance and Performance (“Bessie”) Award for Sustained Achievement.
Ailey II performs for an audience of 4,500 as part of the Lincoln Center Out of Doors festival.
Denise Jefferson is named president of The National Association of Schools of Dance.
On October 1, Ms. Jamison is recognized by Essence Magazine as one of 50 women who are shaping our world.
As part of its annual ranking of the 100 Best Charities in the country, Worth magazine recognizes Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation as one of the top arts organizations in the United States.
Alvin Ailey Dance Moves! Cover of Alvin Ailey Dance Moves!
U.S. Postal Service Issues Postage Stamp Honoring Alvin Ailey
The United States Postal Service issues a first class postage stamp honoring Alvin Ailey. The American Choreographers series commemorates four visionary 20th century choreographers—Alvin Ailey, George Balanchine, Agnes DeMille and Martha Graham—who left a profound mark on the language of dance.
Denise Jefferson celebrates her 30th anniversary at The Ailey School and marks 20 years as School Director.
Executive Director Sharon Gersten Luckman receives the Encore Award for excellence in arts management from the Arts & Business Council of New York.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater embarks on its first tour of China and Singapore in 19 years. Under the sponsorship of Citigroup, the Company offers performances, outreach activities and master classes in Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Ailey Spirit: The Journey of an American Dance Company is published.
On December 1, Judith Jamison receives the Paul Robeson award from the Actors’ Equity Association.
Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation opens The Joan Weill Center for Dance, the Company’s first permanent home, in Manhattan.
Tour poster from Beijing, China, 2004.
Ailey Celebrates the Opening of The Joan Weill Center for Dance
Ailey II celebrates its 30th anniversary season with engagements in more than 40 cities, performing and conducting outreach activities for more than 65,000 people. The Company also presents its New York season at the world-famous Apollo Theater.
For four days in March, the Ailey organization celebrates the official opening and public dedication of The Joan Weill Center for Dance.
In April, the Ailey organization launches The Ailey Extension, an exciting new dance and fitness program for the general public.
On May 8, the legendary dancer Dudley Williams gives his final performance with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater after 41 years. Mr. Williams helped define the artistry of an Ailey dancer and originated leading roles in numerous ballets.
The National Black Sports & Entertainment Hall of Fame (NBS&EHF) inducts Alvin Ailey. Judith Jamison accepts the award on behalf of Mr. Ailey and the Ailey organization.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returns to Russia after an absence of 15 years as the only American company to perform in the Stars of the White Nights Festival. The engagement marks the first time a modern dance company is presented at the legendary Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg.
Judith Jamison is elected to the 225th Class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, which celebrates the achievements of leaders in the fields of scholarship, business, the arts and public affairs.
The Arts & Business Council of New York awards Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Morgan Stanley the Arts and Business Partnership Award.
The Ailey Extension Logo for The Ailey Extension, Ailey's program of dance and fitness classes offered to the general public.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Archives Donated to the Library of Congress
On February 8, a ceremony in Washington, DC commemorates the donation of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Archives to the Library of Congress.
Renee Robinson celebrates her 25th anniversary with the Company, making her the first woman to achieve such a milestone.
On June 21, “Beyond the Steps: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater” premieres as a Dance in America special on Thirteen/WNET New York’s Great Performances on PBS.
On July 3, the Company embarks on a three-week run at the Le Etés de la danse de Paris. In response to overwhelming demand, the Company’s engagement is extended for three additional performances.
In July, Ailey II performs at the 97th NAACP Convention in Washington, DC.
Renee Robinson Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Renee Robinson, who has been with the Company for over 25 years. Photo by Andrew Eccles.
Ailey is Featured on the Ellen DeGeneres Show
Masazumi Chaya celebrates his 35th Anniversary.
In April, Ailey II premieres at The Ailey Citigroup Theater. The two-week, sold out engagement marks the company’s first New York season in its own home.
On May 10, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater dancer Dwana Adiaha Smallwood performs an excerpt of Alvin Ailey’s Cry with young students from The Ailey School on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
AileyCamp Staten Island is launched as the second camp in New York City, and a two-week pilot program in Atlanta, GA begins.
On September 4, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is featured on the season opening of the Ellen DeGeneres Show.
On September 17, Artistic Director Judith Jamison is awarded a 2007 Bessie award for her lifetime commitment to the preservation and development of dance and the arts. Company member Clifton Brown is also presented with a Bessie Award for performance.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's 2007 Asia Tour. Photo courtesy of The Ailey Archives.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's 50th Anniversary
On March 27, Ailey launches its 50th anniversary celebration with festivities at The Joan Weill Center for Dance that garner widespread media attention.
In March, Hallmark introduces a series of six Ailey greeting cards created through its Mahogany line.
On April 1, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater becomes the first concert dance company to perform on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.
On May 8, The Library of Congress opens the archival exhibit “Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: 50 Years as Cultural Ambassador to the World.”
After 38 years, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returns to the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in June for a week-long, sold-out engagement.
In August, in celebration of the 50th anniversary and Ailey’s mission to “deliver dance back to the people,” Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Ailey II offer free performances and dance classes in all five boroughs of New York City.
On July 10, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater appears on FOX TV’s So You Think You Can Dance.
Sylvia Waters, Artistic Director of Ailey II, celebrates her 40th anniversary with the Ailey organization.
In November, Mattel presents the first ever Barbie® doll inspired by a dance company – Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Barbie® doll designed by Artistic Director Judith Jamison.
Highlights of the 50th Anniversary New York season include Hope Boykin’s Go in Grace with an original score sung live onstage by the Grammy Award-winning vocal group Sweet Honey In The Rock; and a week of live performances by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.
Judith Jamison, Joan Weill and Honorary Chair Oprah Winfrey at the 50th anniversary opening night gala. Photo by Colin Williams.
Judith Jamison Receives BET Honors Award
On January 17, Artistic Director Judith Jamison receives the BET Honors award in Washington, DC. The BET Honors pay tribute to the lives and achievements of leading African American luminaries.
On their first night out after moving into the White House, President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughters enjoy Ailey’s sold-out performance at the Kennedy Center.
The Film Society of Lincoln Center celebrates the Company’s 50th year with Alvin Ailey Film Day, an all-day event offering four programs of rare archival material and television documentaries. Additionally, The Film Society’s Frieda and Roy Furman gallery hosts “Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: The First 50 Years,” an exhibit of international performance posters, throughout the month of February.
A Young Dancer: The Life of an Ailey Student, by arts writer Valerie Gladstone with photos by José Ivey, is published.
The Arts & Business Council of New York honors Ailey and its corporate sponsor Diageo with a 2009 Encore Award, celebrating excellence in arts/business partnerships.
Thousands of dance enthusiasts fill New York’s Bryant Park for a free performance by Ailey II as part of the Bryant Park Festival.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater begins a year-long celebration of Judith Jamison’s 20th anniversary as Artistic Director.
Best of 20 Years Judith Jamison with AAADT members in “Best of 20 Years” program costumes. Photo by Paul Kolnik.
Joined the Ailey repertory in 2009
Judith Jamison and Ailey Honored at Reception Hosted by Vice President Biden
On February 1, Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden host a reception at their home in honor of Judith Jamison and the Company. Guests included members of the Cabinet and Congress, as well as students from DC’s Duke Ellington School for the Arts.
On February 4, The Smithsonian‘s National Museum of American History announces the donation of Judith Jamison’s costume from Alvin Ailey’s The Mooche to the Museum’s permanent collection.
Dance Teacher magazine names The Ailey School’s Horton Pedagogy Demonstration DVD the Video of the Year on DanceMedia.com.
Executive Director Sharon Gersten Luckman is the 2010 recipient of the University of Wisconsin Alumni Achievement Award, the highest honor bestowed by UW’s School of Education.
The Ailey Extension celebrates its 5th birthday. Since its inception in April 2005, over 35,000 “real people” have taken classes at the Extension, which offers over 75 classes each week in 25 techniques.
Judith Jamison is the 2010 recipient of The Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award.
On April 28, choreographer Robert Battle is named Artistic Director Designate, to succeed Judith Jamison upon her transition to Artistic Director Emerita in July 2011.
Robert Battle Robert Battle, Artistic Director Designate of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Photo by Brian Guilliaux.
Joined the Ailey repertory in 2010
Judith Jamison's Becomes Artistic Director Emerita
In July 2011, Judith Jamison became Artistic Director Emerita of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Ms. Jamison continues to dedicate herself to asserting the prominence of the arts in our culture, and she remains committed to promoting the significance of the Ailey legacy – using dance as a medium for honoring the past, celebrating the present and fearlessly reaching into the future.
Robert Battle's First Season
Robert Battle became Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in July 2011 at the personal selection of Judith Jamison, making him only the third person to head the Company since it was founded in 1958. In announcing his appointment as Artistic Director, she stated, “Combining an intimate knowledge of the Ailey company with an independent perspective, Robert Battle is without question the creative force of the future.”
Ailey Returns to Lincoln Center
For the first time in over a decade, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performed at Lincoln Center. Seven performances featured the world premiere of Four Corners by Ronald K. Brown, as well as encores of recent premieres and repertory favorites.
Ailey’s historic return to Lincoln Center after 13 years is the culmination of Artistic Director Robert Battle’s second season. Though it is the first visit under his leadership, the Company made special appearances at Lincoln Center in 1976, 1996 and 2000 at the then New York State Theater, as well as in 1984 at the Metropolitan Opera House.
"The engagement is a momentous occasion for Ailey and so personally meaningful to me. Lincoln Center is where I started my journey in the New York dance world, first experiencing the genius of Garth Fagan and so many others while a student at The Juilliard School.” —Robert Battle
Four Corners The Company in the premiere of Ronald K. Brown's Four Corners at Lincoln Center. Photo by Paul Kolnik.
Joined the Ailey repertory in 2013
Joan H. Weill Retires
After two decades of transformative leadership, Joan H. Weill retires as Chairman of the Board of Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation.