Ailey Icons Host Exclusive Workshops And Panels In Celebration Of 60th Anniversary

In celebration of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's 60th Anniversary, Ailey Extension invites people to experience the life, legacy, and artistry of Alvin Ailey through intimate panels and workshops led by his illustrious former dancers. Sylvia Waters will moderate the Growing Up with Alvin Ailey Legacy Panel on December 10, featuring former Ailey stars Sarita Allen, Elizabeth Roxas-Dobrish, and Desmond Richardson as they share personal stories, individual experiences, and life lessons learned during their tenure dancing for the legendary founder. On January 5, what would have been Alvin Ailey's 88th birthday, Artistic Director Emerita Judith Jamison leads an exclusive Celebrating Alvin Ailey Workshop to share cherished memories of Mr. Ailey and teach some of his most well-known choreography.

Throughout his lifetime, Alvin Ailey changed the perception of modern dance with his ability to enlighten and inspire by celebrating the human spirit through dance. Under his artistic direction, Sarita Allen, Elizabeth Roxas-Dobrish, and Desmond Richardson experienced this artistry and wisdom firsthand, having performed iconic roles from Ailey masterpieces. These Ailey icons will share personal anecdotes and lessons Mr. Ailey bestowed upon them in the Growing Up with Alvin Ailey Legacy Panel on Monday, December 10 at 7pm. Ailey II Artistic Director Emerita Sylvia Waters moderates this panel that will provide insight into the rich history and creative heritage of Alvin Ailey.

Then, on the heels of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's historic 60th Anniversary New York City Center holiday season, Ailey's Artistic Director Emerita Judith Jamison will conduct a Celebrating Alvin Ailey workshop on Saturday, January 5 at 3pm. In this two-hour workshop open to dancers of all levels and backgrounds, the rich history and creative complexities of Alvin Ailey's critically-acclaimed choreography will be explored with live accompaniment. Assisted by Company member Khalia Campbell, Ms. Jamison will break down Ailey's stirring choreography and infuse the movement with her own unique style and clear focus on musicality. One of the most influential American dance figures of the late 20th century, Ms. Jamison fulfills Alvin Ailey's belief that "dance came from the people and must be delivered back to the people," with this deeply personal study of his artistic legacy.

"Dancers must engage with people, communicate with movement rather than words, and bring their life experiences to the stage," said Ms. Jamison. "I would like to share memories of Mr. Ailey's teachings, that dance can be a window to the heart and soul, keeping in mind that dance needed to be given back to the people."

Ms. Jamison joined the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1965 under Alvin Ailey's leadership, quickly becoming his muse. Over the next 15 years, she toured the world with the company and became an international dance star. Mr. Ailey choreographed enduring roles for her, most notably the 16-minute tour-de-force solo Cry. After taking a break to star in the Broadway musical Sophisticated Ladies and to form her own company The Jamison Project, she returned to Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1989 when Mr. Ailey asked her to succeed him as Artistic Director. In the two decades that followed, Ms. Jamison brought the company to unprecedented success.

A recipient of numerous honorary doctorate degrees, Ms. Jamison is a master teacher and the recipient of countless awards, including a prime-time Emmy Award, a National Medal of the Arts, a "Bessie" Award, the Kennedy Center Honor, and listing in "TIME 100: The World's Most Influential People." In 1993, she published her autobiography Dancing Spirit, which was edited by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Ms. Jamison continues to dedicate herself to asserting the significance of the Ailey legacy, using dance as a medium for honoring the past, celebrating the present, and fearlessly reaching into the future.

These exclusive events take place at Ailey's home - The Joan Weill Center for Dance (405 West 55th Street at 9th Avenue). Registration fees for Growing Up with Alvin Ailey Legacy Panel are $20; Celebrating Alvin Ailey with Judith Jamison Workshop fees are $30. Both events are open to the general public. To register or learn more about Ailey Extension, visit www.aileyextension.com.

Since its inception in 2005, Ailey Extension has fulfilled Mr. Ailey's life-long commitment of bringing dance to everyone by offering "real classes for real people." Ailey Extension offers over 25 different dance and fitness techniques such as Horton, Ballet, Masala Bhangra, West African, Samba, Jazz, Zumba, House and Hip-Hop. Over 135,000 people have taken classes at Ailey's home, New York's largest building dedicated to dance, where dancers of all levels and walks of life can learn and be inspired - body, mind, and spirit! For additional press materials, including photos, videos, and class descriptions, visit pressroom.alvinailey.org.

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