Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's 65th Anniversary Season Kicks off New York City Center Engagement Next Week

The opening night gala features a one-night only performance with pièce d’occasion choreographed by Hope Boykin featuring honorary chair Cynthia Erivo.

By: Nov. 22, 2023
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's 65th Anniversary Season Kicks off New York City Center Engagement Next Week

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s 65th anniversary season kicks off New York City Center engagement celebrating legendary artistic director emerita Judith Jamison on Wednesday, November 29.

The opening night gala features a one-night only performance with pièce d’occasion choreographed by Hope Boykin featuring honorary chair Cynthia Erivo.

Learn more below!


Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater kicks off its 65th anniversary season with a star-studded one-night only gala benefit on Wednesday, November 29, 2023 at 7pm with Honorary Chairs Tony®, Emmy®, and GRAMMY® Award-winning and Oscar-nominated actress, singer, author, and producer Cynthia Erivo and 3x Emmy® Award-winning co-host of ABC’s “The View” and?2x New York Times?best-selling author Sunny Hostin. Complete with an exceptional performance at New York City Center followed by a dinner-party at the Ziegfeld Ballroom, this year’s gala honors beloved trailblazer and iconic Artistic Director Emerita Judith Jamison in her 80th year. A special program for the evening features a pièce d’occasion entitled A Tribute and Celebration, for Judith Jamison; choreographed by former Ailey dancer Hope Boykin in collaboration with vocal powerhouse Cynthia Erivo. The performance includes music by a live orchestra, featuring acclaimed musicians Damien Sneed and Edward W. Hardy, who were also showcased in Ailey’s DC Gala earlier this year, and culminates with the inspiring finale of Alvin Ailey’s signature masterpiece Revelations with an unforgettable score of spirituals sung live by a soul-stirring choir.

Following the performance, prominent figures in the worlds of entertainment, business, philanthropy, and politics will gather for an evening of dinner and dancing at the Ziegfeld Ballroom. Expected guests include June Ambrose, Tremaine Emory, André Holland, LaChanze, Damaris Lewis, Olga Merediz, Leslie Odom, Jr., Karen Pittman, Bevy Smith,Lorraine Toussaint, Lena Waithe, and Susan Kelechi Watson. Proceeds from the Gala support the creation of new works, scholarships for talented students at The Ailey School, and Ailey’s educational programs for children. The event’s co-chairs are Emily & Len Blavatnik, Raina & Jack Pitts, Dr. Danielle Robinson & Reverend Dwayne McClary, Daria L. & Eric J. Wallach, Joan & Sandy Weill, Elaine Wynn and Pamela D. Zilly & John H. Schaefer; vice chairs are Jill & Gunther Bright, Anthony S. Kendall, Anthony A. Lewis, and Leslie & Tom Maheras. Click here for the full Opening Night Gala Benefit press release.


On Friday, December 1 at 8pm Ailey reveals a new production of Ronald K. Brown’s Dancing Spirit - a tribute to Judith Jamison’s profound influence with a moving work that echoes the title of Jamison’s autobiography. Set to music by Duke Ellington, Wynton Marsalis, and War, Brown’s evocative choreography uses movement from Cuba, Brazil, and the United States to conjure dancing spirits who embody Jamison’s elegance, dignity, and generosity.

Performance Dates: Dec. 1 eve, Dec. 3 mat, Dec. 6 eve, Dec. 13 eve, Dec. 21 eve, Dec. 23 eve, Dec. 27 eve, Dec. 29 eve


On Friday, December 1 at 8pm witness a new production of Ode from former Ailey dancer Jamar Roberts. Ode offers a meditation on the beauty and fragility of life in a time of growing gun violence. Set on six dancers, this tender, engrossing work will be staged with an all-female cast and features a jazz score—Don Pullen’s “Suite (Sweet) Malcolm (Part 1 Memories and Gunshots)”—and Roberts’s own costume designs.

Performance Dates: Dec. 1 eve, Dec. 3 mat, Dec. 16 eve, Dec. 20 eve, Dec 22 eve, Dec 26 eve, Dec. 29 eve


Throughout opening weekend, experience Alvin Ailey’s masterpiece Revelations with live music. More than just a popular dance work, Revelations has become a cultural treasure, beloved by generations of fans and acclaimed as a must-see for all. Using African American spirituals, the work fervently explores the places of deepest grief and holiest joy in the soul. 

Performance Dates: Nov. 29 eve, Dec. 1 eve, Dec. 2 mat, Dec 2 eve, Dec. 3 mat



Each Saturday afternoon in December, bring the whole family to enjoy the performance and stay for a Q & A with Ailey dancers in the theater following the inspiring finale of Revelations, acclaimed as a must-see for all ages. On Saturday, December 2 the American Express® Family Matinee Series kicks off with an invitation to commemorate the memorable moment with friends and family at a photo booth starting at 1pm, as well as a post-performance Q&A with Ailey dancers moderated by pioneer of Broadway social media, Felicia Fitzpatrick and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Rehearsal Director Ronni Favors. Photos provided on a first come, first serve basis. Not everyone who wishes to have a photo may have the opportunity.

Performance Dates: Dec. 2 mat, Dec. 9 mat, Dec. 16 mat, Dec. 23 mat, Dec. 30 mat


This special two-act Ailey Classics program is comprised of excerpts from some of Alvin Ailey’s beloved  ballets including MemoriaNight CreaturePas de DukeMasekela LangageOpus McShannLove SongsRefelections in D, andFor 'Bird' – With Love.  In Act 1 Memoria honors the life of a cherished friend and Night Creature fuses Ailey’s buoyant choreography with Duke Ellington’s sparkling music. Act II features the strong yet serene solo Reflections in D along withhighlights from the spirited duet Pas de Duke, the commanding choreography in Masekela Langage, the comical meandering of Opus McShann, the lyrical solo from Love Songs, and the magical Charlie Parker tribute For ‘Bird’ – with Love. 

Performance Dates: Dec. 2 mat, Dec. 5 eve, Dec. 10 eve, Dec. 23 mat, Dec. 27 mat


Ailey fans around the world are invited to join Director of Ailey Extension and former Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Company Member Lisa Johnson-Willingham for a free online Revelations Around the World Workshop on Saturday, December 2 at 3:30pm. Dancers across the globe will come together virtually to learn excerpts of choreography from Ailey’s signature masterpiece Revelations. Since its premiere in 1960, Alvin Ailey’s Revelations has consistently enraptured audiences all over the world with its perfect blend of reverent grace and spiritual elation. Using African American spirituals, song-sermons, gospel songs, and holy blues, Ailey’s timeless masterpiece fervently explores the places of deepest grief and holiest joy in the soul. This enduring classic is a tribute to that tradition, born out of the choreographer’s “blood memories” of his childhood in rural Texas and the Baptist Church. Revelations has been performed continuously around the globe, transcending barriers of faith and nationality, and appealing to universal emotions, making it one of the most recognized ballets in the world.

Photo credit: Paul Kolnik