Skip to main content

Ailey's Opening Night Virtual Benefit

Posted December 1, 2020

While we truly wish we could host our traditional in-person Opening Night Gala, we’re thrilled that going virtual means even more of our Ailey family can join us on this very special night.

This year’s first-ever Opening Night Virtual Benefit is celebrating the 60th anniversary of Alvin Ailey’s masterpiece Revelations. To commemorate this momentous occasion former dancers and friends of Mr. Ailey including Judith Jamison, Masazumi Chaya, Matthew Rushing, Sylvia Waters and more, will share their memories of learning and dancing in the work. The celebration will also include a dance film titled “Revelations Reimagined” performed by members of the Ailey company at the Wave Hill Public Gardens and Cultural Center in Bronx, NY and at the Ailey Citigroup Theater. The Benefit’s festivities also include numerous celebrity guests including Sterling K. Brown, Jasmine Guy, Jillian Hervey of Lion Babe, Nigel Lythgoe, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Phylicia Rashad, Shonda Rhimes, Lynn Whitfield, Vanessa Williams, Jeffrey Wright, and more. 

The cultural impact of Revelations is immeasurable and its legacy of uplifting the beauty of the Black experience is indisputable. The Ailey company was founded in 1958, during the civil rights movement in the United States, and while the dancers may not have been protesting out on the streets, Judith Jamison explains, “we weren’t out there with signs, our signs were our bodies. Our protest was the performance.” At the Company’s inception, setting foot on stage was taking a stand against racism.

Now, standing up against racism is a matter of making your stance known and taking tangible action against racism, which is why we’ve chosen Dove as the Benefit’s honoree. Dove has made a commitment to ending systemic racism and one very specific way they are doing this is by advocating for the U.S. Senate to pass legislation such as the CROWN Act, which outlaws race-based hair discrimination—Creating a Respectful & Open World for Natural Hair. Ailey’s commitment to anti-racism remains strong and we will continue to uphold our mission of sharing the beauty of the African-American experience as a way to bring people of all races and backgrounds together.

The Opening Night Virtual Benefit is free for all to stream on our website, Facebook page, and YouTube channel. Plus, join us for a post-benefit dance party. It will surely be a night to remember—a night of celebration, dance, and a true labor of love for our mainstay and newly minted international fans.

Our commitment remains to raising the vital funds Ailey needs to sustain its important programs for young people, especially during this challenging time when other sources of funding, such as from the live theater performances, aren’t possible. You can make a donation here or text REV to 888-AILEY60.

Opening Night Virtual Benefit Sponsors