Ailey II is universally renowned for merging the spirit and energy of the country’s best young dance talent with the passion and creative vision of today’s most outstanding emerging choreographers.
Founded in 1974 as the Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble, the company embodies his pioneering mission to establish an extended cultural community that provides dance performances, training, and community programs for all people. Sylvia Waters was selected by Mr. Ailey to be its founding Artistic Director, serving in that role for the Company's first 38 seasons and helping Ailey II to flourish into one of the most popular modern dance companies, combining a rigorous touring schedule with extensive community outreach programs.
In September 2021, Francesca Harper was selected to become Artistic Director of Ailey II by Robert Battle, Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and Bennett Rink, Executive Director of Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation. Ms. Harper – who trained at The Ailey School and who has choreographed for both Ailey companies – brings fresh perspectives to Mr. Ailey’s legacy, while nurturing new creative voices and propelling the Company forward.
Dance Magazine calls Ailey II "second to none," and The New York Times declares, "There's nothing like an evening spent with Ailey II, the younger version of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater."