Friday, December 2, 2011

John Legend & Iman Join Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at Opening Night Gala Benefit

John Legend, Judith Jamison, Artistic Director Emerita; Robert Battle, Artistic Director; Paul Taylor, dance master; and honoree Kimberly B. Davis, President of The JPMorgan Chase Foundation attend the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's opening night gala benefit for its New York season on November 30, 2011.

Ailey’s Opening Night Gala Celebrates Robert Battle’s Inaugural Season

NEW YORK, NY - Ailey’s inaugural New York City Center season led by Artistic Director Robert Battle kicked off on Wednesday night with an opening night gala benefit hosted by Honorary Chair Iman. The night honored Kimberly B. Davis, President of The JPMorgan Chase Foundation and helped raise $2.5 million for Ailey’s programs for children and young people, including AileyCamp and scholarships to The Ailey School.

Robert Battle expressed sincere gratitude to Kimberly B. Davis for her exceptional philanthropic leadership in the broader community and JP Morgan Chase Foundation’s longstanding support of the Ailey organization. Robert Battle welcomed the audience and shared a statement from First Lady Michelle Obama that saluted Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the company’s role in educating and inspiring the next generation. Nine-time Grammy award-winner John Legend and Ailey’s Alicia Graf Mack staged a mesmerizing performance of “If It’s Magic,” choreographed by Artistic Director Emerita Judith Jamison to the timeless music of Stevie Wonder. The Company debuted Arden Court by Paul Taylor, the first work by the modern dance master ever performed by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. The sold-out crowd of over 2,000 also enjoyed a one-night-only performance of Lar Lubovitch’s duet Prelude to a Kiss and an inspiring finale performance of Alvin Ailey’s masterwork, Revelations with live music and a cast of 50.

The celebration continued with the gala party in the Hilton New York’s grand ballroom with 1,000 guests, including Debra L. Lee, Katie Couric, Joan & Sandy Weill, Henry McGee, Pauletta Washington, Misty Copeland, Cicely Tyson, Jacque Reid, Susan Taylor and Judith Byrd, who joined in dinner and dancing with the stars of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

Joan Weill, Board Chair, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; Robert Battle, Eileen and Michael Chiarello and Jessica Bibliowicz.  Joan Weill, a longtime patron of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, was recently featured in the NY Times article, "Dance Devotee Stays in Motion."    

Robert Battle and Debra Lee, President and CEO of BET

Honorary Chair Iman; Actress Pauletta Washington

Singer/musician John Legend performs with Ailey’s Alicia Graf Mack in a performance of “If It’s Magic.”

Robert Battle with gala sponsors Linda and Sandy Lindenbaum

Guest Artist Clifton Brown and Linda Celeste Sims in Lar Lubovitch's Prelude to a Kiss

Gala sponsors included Simin & Herb Allison; American Express; BNY Mellon; Linda & Sandy Lindenbaum; Prudential Financial, Inc.; and Joan & Sandy Weill and The Weill Family Foundation. Prudential Financial, Inc. and Wells Fargo served as co-sponsors and Diageo provided the spirits for the Gala dinner-dance following the performance.  Visit for the 2011 schedule.

Source: Press release/Photos: Christopher Duggan and Wireimage

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