The 2017 Ailey Spirit Gala Benefit Raises Record-Breaking $1.4 Million

The 2017 Ailey Spirit Gala Benefit Raises Record-Breaking $1.4 MillionThe Ailey Spirit Gala broke records last night as the centerpiece of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's 2017 Lincoln Center engagement, led by Artistic Director Robert Battle. With a record-breaking $1.4 million raised, the one-night-only benefit performance and party featured Honorary Chair André Holland, critically-acclaimed actor of the 2017 Oscar Best Picture Moonlight. The evening honored Ailey Board Vice Chairman Stephen Meringoff for his longtime support of Ailey, and his instrumental role in strengthening and sustaining AileyCamp. Gala Co-Chairs were Lynne & Anthony M. Carvette, Almaz & Marc S. Strachan, and Daria L. & Eric J. Wallach; and Vice Chairs were Michele & Timothy Barakett, Dr. N. Anthony & Robyn Coles, Jaishri & Vikas Kapoor, Ricki Lander, Leslie & Tom Maheras, and Pamela D. Zilly & John H. Schaefer. The funds raised support Ailey's extensive educational programs for young people, including AileyCamp and scholarships to The Ailey School.

The Ailey Spirit Gala featured performances by all parts of the Ailey organization, including a one-time-only live performance of Moonlight x Ailey, a stage adaptation of the dance film short choreographed by Artistic Director Robert Battle as an homage to the Oscar-winning film. The evening also included performances by the world-renowned Ailey dancers in an excerpt of Hope Boykin's r-Evolution, Dream. and Robert Battle's Ella. The rising stars of Ailey II performed an excerpt of Bridget L. Moore's Sketches of Flames, talented students from The Ailey School (ages 6-23) showcased their skills in a work entitled Inspired, and young dancers from AileyCamp performed Guardian Angels Modupue. An expanded cast of present and future stars of Ailey performed a memorable finale of Alvin Ailey's masterpiece Revelations.

Prominent figures in the worlds of entertainment, business, philanthropy, and politics attended the Gala, including The New York Times columnist Charles Blow, This American Life host Ira Glass, legendary dancer Carmen De Lavallade, former Essence magazine editor-in-chief Susan L. Taylor, and NBC News correspondent Anne Thompson. After the performance, Ailey's Board of Trustees, including Joan H. Weill, and more than 900 guests joined in soirée on the promenade with musical stylings from deejay to the stars, DJ M.O.S.

Ailey's Lincoln Center engagement continues through Father's Day (Sunday, June 18) with five performances remaining, and features Robert Battle's Mass performed with six live percussionists on Saturday, June 17. Renowned dancer Clifton Brown returns to the Ailey stage to perform signature roles in Alvin Ailey's Revelations, which culminates three stirring programs. For the comprehensive season press release, with details on the programs and repertory, click here.

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