When Alvin Ailey and a small group of African American dancers took the stage on March at New York City’s 92nd Street Y, the engagement was for one night only, but it turned out to be the start of a new era in the arts. Mr. Ailey envisioned a company dedicated to enriching the American modern dance heritage and preserving the uniqueness of the African American cultural experience. He became one of the trailblazers of modern dance, and the work of his company grew to encompass education, community outreach, and cultural diplomacy. To date, the company has gone on to perform for an estimated 25 million people at theaters in 48 states and 71 countries on six continents as well as millions more through television, film, and online. More than 270 works by over 100 choreographers have been part of the Ailey repertory. In 2008 a U. S. congressional resolution designated the company as “a vital American cultural ambassador to the world.” Before his untimely death in 1989, Mr. Ailey named Judith Jamison as his successor, and over the next 21 years, she brought the company to unprecedented success. Ms. Jamison, in turn, personally selected Robert Battle to succeed her in 2011, and the New York Times declared he “has injected the company with new life.”
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater gratefully acknowledges the Joan & Sandy Weill Global Ambassador Fund, which provides vital support for Ailey’s national and international tours.