Ailey Executive Director Sharon Gersten Luckman Announces Plans to Step Down in 2013

Under her leadership, the Ailey organization has experienced 16 years of dramatic growth and fiscal stability, with more than a three-fold increase in its operating budget and fundraising, as well as growth of net assets from $300,000 to $134 million.

Ms. Luckman was also instrumental in establishing a unique BFA degree program with Fordham University, which gives serious dance students the opportunity to study full time at both The Ailey School and Fordham University, offering them a world-class artistic and academic education. She has also overseen the growth of AileyCamps for at-risk children, from two to ten sites nationwide, and negotiated groundbreaking international appearances by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in South Africa, Russia and China. Most recently she led the Ailey organization's successful Artistic Director transition and negotiated a long-term arrangement naming Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater as the principal dance company of New York City Center.

In 2005, the Ailey organization opened a new facility, The Joan Weill Center for Dance – the largest facility devoted exclusively to dance in the Northeast. Ms. Luckman orchestrated the project from its planning in 1997 through completion, and launched a successful capital campaign to raise $75 million in funds for the building and to establish an endowment for the organization. In conjunction with the opening of the new building, she inaugurated The Ailey Extension, a program of dance and fitness classes experienced by more than 48,000 members of the general public.

For Ailey's 50th Anniversary, Ms. Luckman directed the planning and implementation of a series of special performances, projects and free events that heightened the organization's profile and set an incomparable standard for marketing, public relations and corporate sponsorships. She instigated key branding initiatives that brought world-wide recognition to the Ailey name through merchandise such as CDs, DVDs, Hallmark greeting cards, an Ailey Barbie doll by Mattel and two new books.

Sharon Luckman: A Brief Biography

A native of Long Beach, NY, Sharon Luckman began her career as a dance teacher and went on to direct New York's 92nd Street YM/WHA Dance Center from 1978-1986. She later became Development Director and then Executive Director of Twyla Tharp Dance Foundation and for three years was Executive Director of Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. Additionally, she has taught Arts Administration courses at New York University's School of Continuing Education. Formerly Chairman of the Board of the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement, she has also served on the Board of Trustees of Dance/USA. Ms. Luckman has received the Arts & Business Council's Encore Award for Arts Management Excellence, the Arts Management Award for Career Service, the Signature Award for Community Leadership from the National Association of Women Business Owners and The Alumni Achievement Award from the University of Wisconsin, which recognizes a career of extraordinary accomplishment and is the highest honor bestowed by the School of Education. She holds a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a Certificate from Columbia University's Institute for Not-for-Profit Management.

About Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Seen by an estimated 23,000,000 fans in 48 states and 71 countries on six continents, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has been recognized by U.S. Congressional resolution as a vital American "Cultural Ambassador to the World" and as a trailblazing leader in concert dance. The Company and the Ailey organization received National Medal of Arts awards in 2002.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater debuted its 2011-12 season-Robert Battle's first as the company's new Artistic Director-at the newly restored and renovated New York City Center where Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater was named Principal Dance Company in November 2011. From February through May, the company will be performing on a 27-city North American tour, including stops over the next month in Washington, DC, Atlanta, GA, and Miami, FL, the hometown of new Artistic Director Robert Battle.

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