I Wanna Be Ready: A 60th Anniversary Tribute to Alvin Ailey

Posted March 30, 2018

On March 30, 1958, the dancer and choreographer Alvin Ailey (1931-1989) launched his company, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, at a performance in New York City that forever changed the face of American dance. He was 27 years old.

In honor of the Company’s 60th anniversary, Matthew Rushing – a 25-year veteran of the Ailey company— performed the iconic solo “I Wanna Be Ready” from Mr. Ailey’s classic work, Revelations. Filmed in Rogers, Texas, where Mr. Ailey was born and lived as a young child, Mr. Rushing’s performance features live accompaniment by five local singers.

Mr. Ailey said that one of America’s richest treasures was the African-American cultural heritage, “sometimes sorrowful, sometimes jubilant, but always hopeful.” Revelations is a tribute to that tradition, born out of the choreographer’s “blood memories” from his early childhood.

As Jennifer Dunning wrote in her biography Alvin Ailey: A Life in Dance, “Sunday mornings were spent in fervent song and prayer at the tiny Mount Olive Baptist Church on a dusty, unpaved road across from the railroad tracks. The one-room, white-frame building is one of the few landmarks of Alvin’s childhood still standing in Rogers.”

Like Mr. Ailey’s enduring masterpiece Revelations, the company he started six decades ago is more than just popular; it has become a cultural treasure, beloved by generations of fans.

Learn more at AlvinAiley.org

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