Alvin Ailey Essay

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Alisha Paire Paire 1 Jazz Dance 9|28|12 Miss. Smart Alvin Ailey Alvin Ailey was born on January 5, 1931 in Roger, Texas. Ailey’s father abandoned the family when he was only a few months old. One of the things Alvin always did in his childhood was attending the True Vine Baptist Church. The church had a lasting affect on him later in life. In 1943, Alvin and his mother moved to Los Angeles, California. He was drawn to the music from big band jazz clubs. ( Alvin took dance classes in the style and method of dancer and choreographer Katherine Dunham, from a student of hers. Later, he was introduced to dance teacher Lester Horton. Horton had a dance school in Hollywood and his style was more straightforward and what Ailey was looking for. When Ailey saw a school performance of fellow Jefferson High School student and Horton protégé, Carmen de Lavallade, he signed on with Horton. Lester Horton welcomed him to his company as part of the chorus. Soon after, Alvin had choreographed his first formal concert dance, Afternoon Blues, set to music from the Broadway show, On The Town. When Lester Horton died, Ailey was twenty-two when he was chosen to fill the shoes of his mentor. Ailey became the director and resident choreographer for the Lester Horton Dance Theater. In one year he choreographed three original dances for Horton’s company: Creation of the World, According to St. Francis, and Mourning Morning. Paire 2 Ailey started his own dance company in 1958, featuring mostly African American dancers. Susan Primsleur, a concert manager, offered to add the Ailey dancers to her roster; she had laid out a plan for tours and concerts and designed a brochure, calling the company the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. A concert was planned for

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