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Photos: See LaChanze, Ryan Jamaal Swain & More at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Opening Night Gala

The spirited occasion celebrated Honoree Philanthropist Denise Littlefield Sobel, a true patron of the arts and champion for social equity.

Last night, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater kicked off its four-week holiday season with a star-studded Opening Night Gala complete with a performance and party led by Artistic Director Robert Battle with two-time Emmy-winning TV host, journalist, author and producer Tamron Hall as Honorary Chair.

The spirited occasion celebrated Honoree Philanthropist Denise Littlefield Sobel, a true patron of the arts and champion for social equity who is leaving an indelible mark on the dance world. Her dedication and commitment to the Ailey organization has spanned two decades with vital support for essential artistic initiatives like the commissioning of new works and international touring.

The evening's program featured a one-night-only performance of an excerpt from acclaimed Italian choreographer Mauro Bigonzetti's Festa Barocca with Constance Stamatiou and talented students from The Ailey School, Jacquelin Harris and James Gilmer in the "Softly, As I Leave You" romantic duet from Twyla Tharp's Nine Sinatra Songs; highlights from Alvin Ailey's Night Creature, a perennial favorite set to a sparkling score by Duke Ellington; and Robert Battle's tender Unfold danced to Gustave Charpentier's exquisite aria ("Louise, Act III, Depuis Le Jour") sung live by Brandi Sutton. The performance culminated with Alvin Ailey's inspiring must-see masterpiece Revelations.

Afterwards, the celebration continued at the iconic Ziegfeld Ballroom where nearly 500 guests joined Robert Battle for dinner and dancing with live music by the premier band Élan Artists. Special guests in attendance from the worlds of entertainment, business, philanthropy, and politics included Erika Alexander, Sunny Hostin, Harry Lennix, Bevy Smith, Pose's Ryan Jamaal Swain, LaChanze, Danielle Moné Truitt ("Law & Order: Organized Crime"), Brynn Whitfield ("Real Housewives of New York"), Larry Wilmore and many more.

The gala co-chairs were Emily & Len Blavatnik, Howard Bradnock, Daria L & Eric J. Wallach, Joan & Sandy Weill and Pamela D. Zilly & John H. Schaefer; vice chairs are Jill & Gunther Bright, Anthony S. Kendall, Anthony A. Lewis, and Raina & Jack Pitts. Over $2.7 million was raised in support of the creation of new works, scholarships to The Ailey School, and Ailey's educational programs for children.

Throughout the holiday engagement, which ends with two performances on Christmas Eve, Ailey's remarkable artists will unveil four premieres, a new production, special live music programs, and a variety of returning favorites, including Alvin Ailey's must-see masterpiece Revelations. This year all are invited to join in the dance on Saturday, December 3rd at 3pm with Revelations Around the World - a free online global celebration where people from all over the world come together to learn the steps of this beloved American classic.

The Company will continue to inspire audiences from coast to coast on a National Tour to over 20 cities from February - May 2023. For information on how to experience the magic of Ailey, visit www.alvinailey.org.

Photos: See LaChanze, Ryan Jamaal Swain & More at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Opening Night Gala
Lucinda C. Martine

Photos: See LaChanze, Ryan Jamaal Swain & More at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Opening Night Gala
Sela Collins and Robert Battle

Photos: See LaChanze, Ryan Jamaal Swain & More at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Opening Night Gala
Sunny Hostin

Photos: See LaChanze, Ryan Jamaal Swain & More at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Opening Night Gala
Sherine Van Brackle and Anthony S. Kendall

Photos: See LaChanze, Ryan Jamaal Swain & More at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Opening Night Gala
Sheinelle Jones

Photos: See LaChanze, Ryan Jamaal Swain & More at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Opening Night Gala
Ryan Jamaal Swain

Photos: See LaChanze, Ryan Jamaal Swain & More at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Opening Night Gala
Myko Campbell, Harry Lennix

Photos: See LaChanze, Ryan Jamaal Swain & More at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Opening Night Gala
Cara Sabin, Chris Sabin and Bevy Smith

Photos: See LaChanze, Ryan Jamaal Swain & More at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Opening Night Gala
Robert Battle, Linda Wilson and Bennett Rink

Photos: See LaChanze, Ryan Jamaal Swain & More at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Opening Night Gala
Robert Battle, Denise Littlefield Sobel and Gregory Stuart

Photos: See LaChanze, Ryan Jamaal Swain & More at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Opening Night Gala
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Alvin Ailey's Revelations 2022 Opening Night Gala performance

Photos: See LaChanze, Ryan Jamaal Swain & More at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Opening Night Gala
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Alvin Ailey's Revelations 2022 Opening Night Gala performance

Photos: See LaChanze, Ryan Jamaal Swain & More at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Opening Night Gala
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Alvin Ailey's Night Creature 2022 Opening Night Gala performance

Photos: See LaChanze, Ryan Jamaal Swain & More at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Opening Night Gala
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Alvin Ailey's Night Creature 2022 Opening Night Gala performance

Photos: See LaChanze, Ryan Jamaal Swain & More at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Opening Night Gala
Robert Battle

Photos: See LaChanze, Ryan Jamaal Swain & More at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Opening Night Gala
LaChanzze

Photos: See LaChanze, Ryan Jamaal Swain & More at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Opening Night Gala
Denise Littlefield Sobel

Photos: See LaChanze, Ryan Jamaal Swain & More at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Opening Night Gala
Tamron Hall

Photos: See LaChanze, Ryan Jamaal Swain & More at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Opening Night Gala
Tamron Hall


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