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Cynthia Erivo Announced as Honorary Chair for Ailey Spirit Gala Benefit

The evening features the world-renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Robert Battle’s Unfold, and more.

Cynthia Erivo Announced as Honorary Chair for Ailey Spirit Gala Benefit

The centerpiece of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Lincoln Center engagement is the Ailey Spirit Gala on Thursday, June 16. The one-night-only benefit honors Verizon, one of the nation's leading and largest technology companies, for their generous funding and steadfast support of Ailey's vital community and education programs, including AileyCamp, an innovative, full-scholarship summer day camp that uses dance as a means to help youth stretch their minds, bodies, and spirits. Verizon's Vice President of Public Policy and longstanding member of Ailey's Board of Trustees Anthony A. Lewis will accept the honor during an onstage presentation by Ailey Artistic Director Robert Battle.

The evening's Honorary Chair is Grammy® Emmy® and Tony® Award-winning actress, singer and producer Cynthia Erivo, most recently seen in Apple TV+'s anthology series Roar. Erivo will star in Netflix's forthcoming feature film Luther alongside Idris Elba and Andy Serkis as well as bring to life the iconic Blue Fairy in Disney's live-action retelling of Pinocchio. She will also star in Universal's film adaptation of the hit musical WICKED.

The Ailey Spirit Gala benefit performance at 7pm brings together all parts of the organization performing works by Artistic Director Robert Battle capping the celebration of his decade-long leadership at Ailey. The evening features the world-renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Robert Battle's Unfold, evoking the tenderness and ecstasy in Gustave Charpentier's aria "Depuis Le Jour" sung by the incomparable Leontyne Price; and Love Stories finale, a joyful ballet portraying a luminous future built on the lessons and legacy of the past. The rising stars of Ailey II present a special amplified version of Battle's Takademe, where clear shapes and propulsive jumps mimic the vocalized rhythmic syllables of Sheila Chandra's jazzy score in this percussive, fast-paced work; gifted young dancers from The Ailey School showcase their talents and breadth of the program's training in an excerpt of Awakening, a dance that expertly balances chaos and resolution, dissonance and harmony; and talented students of AileyCamp perform an excerpt of The Hunt, Battle's dynamic work revealing the robust side of human nature and the thrill of the hunt. A memorable finale of Alvin Ailey's masterpiece, Revelations inspire attendees before a soirée on the promenade for dancing to the musical stylings of DJs Angel + Dren.

Proceeds support scholarships to The Ailey School and Ailey's uplifting Arts In Education & Community Programs. Guests witness the power of their charitable giving firsthand as talented students from these programs grace the stage. Gala Co-Chairs are Michele & Timothy Barakett, Anthony A. Lewis, Stephen J. Meringoff, Dr. Danielle Robinson & Reverend Dwayne McClary, Daria L. & Eric J. Wallach and Dennis Williams. For tickets and information, visit or call 212-405-9029.

Ailey's six-performance engagement at Lincoln Center from Wednesday, June 15 to Sunday, June 19 includes the world premiere of In a Sentimental Mood by Ailey Resident Choreographer Jamar Roberts and the Company Premiere of Paul Taylor's DUET, as well as a Saturday Family Matinee Battle 10th Anniversary Program featuring a performance of his works set to the music of Ella Fitzgerald, Wynton Marsalis, Leontyne Price, Nina Simone, and Stevie Wonder followed by a Q&A with Battle. Other highlights of the season include the Friday evening Masterful Movement program Celebrating Jacqueline Green, which pays tribute to the artistry of the acclaimed dancer who lit up the Ailey stage for more than a decade as she bids farewell to the Company. For more information, and to purchase tickets starting at $29, visit

Photo credit: Mark Seliger

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