In March 1958, Alvin Ailey and a group of young African-American modern dancers began the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. Today, the dance theater has performed for more than 21 million people on six continents, earning a reputation as the most acclaimed international ambassador of American culture.
Fifty years later, the Company continues the legacy of founder Alvin Ailey under the remarkable vision of Artistic Director Judith Jamison. In celebration of their 50th anniversary, the dance theater has announced an 18-month commemoration that includes events, promotions, collaborations and special performances.
In addition, Executive Director Sharon Gersten Luckman announced significant contributions that have helped the company surpass its initial goal of raising the endowment to $50 million for its 50th anniversary. Among those who donated significant gifts were Kathryn and Kenneth Chenault, The Ford Foundation, Simin and Herb Allison and a $6 million dollar pledge from Los Angeles-based dance enthusiast Glorya Kaufman that pushed the endowment to $55 million, over its initial goal.
Special Commemoration Events:
Ailey Archive Exhibit Opens May 8, 2008 - March 2009: The Library of Congress (LC), which houses "The Ailey Archives," will produce an Ailey archive exhibit. The exhibit will be on display at the LC in Washington, DC for the first five months and then at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles starting October 4, 2008 for an additional six months.
Free Dance Classes and Performances throughout NYC August 5 - 12, 2008: Ailey will host a series of free performances and dance classes in all five boroughs of NYC, sponsored by Bloomberg.
Target 1958 Night December 2008: In honor of Ailey's first performance, Target will sponsor a one-night-only performance during the New York City Center season, featuring specially priced tickets to help encourage access and participation.
Hallmark greeting cards on Sale March 2008: A series of six cards featuring photographs of Ailey dancers by Andrew Eccles
Alvin Ailey Barbie(R) Doll on Sale November 2008: Designed by Judith Jamison, the doll represents a dancer from Alvin Ailey's Revelations
For more information on Ailey, the Company's 50th anniversary and commemorative activities and merchandise, please visit http://www.alvinailey.org.
Source: PRN/Photo: Public domain