Alvin Ailey

1055 Words5 Pages
“Dance is for everybody. I believe that the dance came from the people and that it should always be delivered back to the people”, Alvin Ailey said that. Alvin grew up in a time where segregation, violence and lynching’s against African Americans took place. When Ailey was five years old his mother was raped by a group of white men, leaving him afraid of whites. His early experiences in the Southern Baptist church and jook joints instilled in him a fierce sense of black pride that would later figure prominently in Ailey’s signature works. After moving to Los Angeles he regularly started to go to shows at the Lincoln Theater and the Orpheum Theater. He did not become serious about dance until 1949 where he was then introduce to the Hollywood…show more content…
This piece depicts the struggles of different generations of black American women. It begins with a long white scarf that becomes many things during the course of the dance, a wash rag and ends with the expression of unquestioning belief and happiness danced to the late 1960’s song, “Right on, Be Free.” Ailey made use of any combination of dance techniques that best suited the theatrical movement. Valuing eclecticism, he created more of a dance style than a technique. He said that he wanted from his dancer to be long and to have unbroken leg line and deftly articulated legs and feet combined with a dramatically expressive upper torso. He like the lines and technical range that a classical ballet gives to the body, but he still wanted them to project to the audiences the expressiveness that only modern dance offers especially for the inner kinds of things. His dancers came to his company with training from a variety of other schools, from ballet to modern and jazz and later hip-hop. He was unique in that he did not train his dancer in s specific technique before they performed his…show more content…
In 1992, Ailey was inducted into the National Museum of Dance’s Mr. & Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, NY. The company has survived and flourished since Ailey death in 1989. In 2003 it moved to a $50 million dollar building, the Joan Weill Center for Dance. The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has signed its first multi-year agreement with City Center. The troupe’s executive director Judith Jamison, who was one of the most celebrated of the original Alvin Ailey dancers, introduced a new piece, “Love Stories” at the company’s annual gala by describing it as following the trajectory from “a funky studio with no mirrors” to a future with a brand new building. The popularity that the Ailey Company now enjoys is phenomenal. The city center does better business at the most performances for the five weeks of the Ailey season than for American Ballet Theater or San Francisco Ballet in their two-week seasons or the Kirov in its three-week. No work in Ailey’s repertory seems to occur without warm audience cheers. On December 1, 1989 at the age of 58 died from Aids but told the doctor to tell everyone that he died of terminal blood

More about Alvin Ailey

Open Document