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Photo Flash: Tyson Beckford, Taye Diggs, Tituss Burgess and More Attend 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala

Led by Artistic Director Robert Battle, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's 2015 Lincoln Center engagement kicked off with a star-studded Ailey Spirit Gala on Wednesday, June 10th. The one-night-only benefit performance and party honoring the Ford Foundation and sponsored by FedEx featured supermodel and actor Tyson Beckford as Honorary Chair. Gala Co-Chairs were Gina F. Adams, Ricki Lander, Almaz & Marc S. Strachan, Pamela Zilly & John Schaefer and Daria L. & Eric J. Wallach, and the Vice Chairs were Michele & Timothy Barakett, Dr. N. Anthony & Robyn Coles, and Leslie & Tom Maheras. The evening helped raise over $1 million for Ailey's extensive educational programs for young people, including AileyCamp and scholarships to The Ailey School. Scroll down for photos from the event!

The Ailey Spirit Gala featured performances by all divisions of the Ailey organization, including the world-renowned Ailey dancers in excerpts of Matthew Rushing's ODETTA and in Robert Battle's Takademe. The rising stars of Ailey II performed an excerpt of Manuel Vignoulle's Breakthrough, gifted young dancers from The Ailey School (ages 6 to 23) showcased their talents and the breadth of the program's training in a work called Synergy, and talented students from AileyCamp performed a work inspired by Christopher Huggins' Anointed. An expanded cast of the present and future stars of Ailey came together for a memorable finale of Alvin Ailey's timeless Revelations.

After the performance, the celebration continued at the party on the promenade. Ailey's Board of Trustees, including Chair Daria L. Wallach and President Debra L. Lee, Artistic Director Emerita Judith Jamison, and more than 650 guests, including TODAY Show anchor Tamron Hall, Power star Naturi Naughton, Saturday Night Live star Jay Pharoah, writer and MSNBC host Janet Mock, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt actor Tituss Burgess, Orange is the New Black's Lorraine Toussaint, Black-ish actress Jenifer Lewis, film star and lead in the forthcoming production of Broadway's Hedwig and the Angry Inch Taye Diggs, and many more joined in dinner and dancing with the Company to the musical stylings of deejay to the stars, DJ M.O.S.

One of the night's exciting moments was the announcement of Simon & Schuster's upcoming children's book based on the life of Robert Battle, which will be released on October 27, 2015. The book is called My Story, My Dance: Robert Battle's Journey to Alvin Ailey. It is the unique story of a young boy whose life is filled with music, church, and movement - first martial arts, and then, after seeing Alvin Ailey's Revelations, dance. The book is sure to inspire young people around the world, and is created for ages 5 - 10. For more information, click here.

Ailey's Lincoln Center season continues through June 21st. Highlights include the June 17th Company premiere of Mr. Battle's No Longer Silent, FREE Ailey Extension classes during NYC Dance Week (June 18 - 27), and farewell performances from celebrated Ailey dancers Antonio Douthit-Boyd, Kirven Douthit-Boyd, and Alicia Graf Mack.

Photo Credit: Christopher Duggan (unless otherwise noted)

high res photos

Photo Flash: Tyson Beckford, Taye Diggs, Tituss Burgess and More Attend 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala
Students from The Ailey School in Synergy by Carlos Dos Santos at the 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala.

Photo Flash: Tyson Beckford, Taye Diggs, Tituss Burgess and More Attend 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala
AileyCampers in choreography inspired by Christopher Huggins's Anointed at the 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala.

Photo Flash: Tyson Beckford, Taye Diggs, Tituss Burgess and More Attend 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala
Students from The Ailey School in Synergy by Carlos Dos Santos at the 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala.

Photo Flash: Tyson Beckford, Taye Diggs, Tituss Burgess and More Attend 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala
AileyCampers in choreography inspired by Christopher Huggins's Anointed at the 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala.

Photo Flash: Tyson Beckford, Taye Diggs, Tituss Burgess and More Attend 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala
AileyCampers in choreography inspired by Christopher Huggins's Anointed at the 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala.

Photo Flash: Tyson Beckford, Taye Diggs, Tituss Burgess and More Attend 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala
Student from The Ailey School in Synergy by Carlos Dos Santos at the 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala.

Photo Flash: Tyson Beckford, Taye Diggs, Tituss Burgess and More Attend 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala
Students from The Ailey School in Synergy by Carlos Dos Santos at the 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala.

Photo Flash: Tyson Beckford, Taye Diggs, Tituss Burgess and More Attend 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala
Gala Honoree Darren Walker and Executive Director Bennett Rink.

Photo Flash: Tyson Beckford, Taye Diggs, Tituss Burgess and More Attend 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala
The 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala.

Photo Flash: Tyson Beckford, Taye Diggs, Tituss Burgess and More Attend 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala
AAADT Artistic Director Robert Battle with Gala Honoree Darren Walker.

Photo Flash: Tyson Beckford, Taye Diggs, Tituss Burgess and More Attend 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala
Artistic Director Emerita Judith Jamison.

Photo Flash: Tyson Beckford, Taye Diggs, Tituss Burgess and More Attend 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala
Ailey II Dancers Diedre Rogan, Gabriel Heyman, Samantha Barriento, and Riccardo Baggatilla.

Photo Flash: Tyson Beckford, Taye Diggs, Tituss Burgess and More Attend 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala
Ailey Spirit Gala Honorary Chair Tyson Beckford.

Photo Flash: Tyson Beckford, Taye Diggs, Tituss Burgess and More Attend 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala
Honorary Chair Tyson Beckford and AAADT Artistic Director Robert Battle with Ailey Spirit Gala Co-Chairs and Vice-Chairs.

Photo Flash: Tyson Beckford, Taye Diggs, Tituss Burgess and More Attend 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala
AAADT Artistic Director Robert Battle with Tonya Lee Lewis at the 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala. Photo by Whitney Browne

Photo Flash: Tyson Beckford, Taye Diggs, Tituss Burgess and More Attend 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala
AAADT's Jeroboam Bozeman Jacquelin Harris Eliza Clark Samantha Figgins and Collin Heyward. Photo by Dario Calmese Jr.

Photo Flash: Tyson Beckford, Taye Diggs, Tituss Burgess and More Attend 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala
AAADT Board President Debra L. Lee at the 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala. Photo by Dario Calmese Jr.

Photo Flash: Tyson Beckford, Taye Diggs, Tituss Burgess and More Attend 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala
TODAY Show Anchor Tamron Hall at the 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala. Photo by Dario Calmese Jr.

Photo Flash: Tyson Beckford, Taye Diggs, Tituss Burgess and More Attend 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala
Actress Naturi Naughton at the 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala. Photo by Dario Calmese Jr.

Photo Flash: Tyson Beckford, Taye Diggs, Tituss Burgess and More Attend 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala
Actor Tituss Burgess at the 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala. Photo by Dario Calmese Jr.

Photo Flash: Tyson Beckford, Taye Diggs, Tituss Burgess and More Attend 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala
Actor Taye Diggs at the 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala. Photo by Dario Calmese Jr.

Photo Flash: Tyson Beckford, Taye Diggs, Tituss Burgess and More Attend 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala
Gala Honorary Chair Tyson Beckford with AAADT Artistic Director Robert Battle.

Photo Flash: Tyson Beckford, Taye Diggs, Tituss Burgess and More Attend 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala
Gala Co-Chairs Eric and Daria Wallach, Gala Honorary Chair Tyson Beckford, Board Member Joan Weill, AAADT Artistic Director Robert Battle and Artistic Director Emerita Judith Jamison.

Photo Flash: Tyson Beckford, Taye Diggs, Tituss Burgess and More Attend 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala
AAADT Executive Director Bennett Rink, Gala Honorary Chair Tyson Beckford, Gala Co-Chair Gina Adams, and AAADT Artistic Director Robert Battle.

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