Alvin Ailey


“I am trying to express something that I feel about people, life, the human spirit, the beauty of things…" -Alvin Ailey

Dance was his medium of choice.

Alvin Ailey once expressed in an interview, “Like most of my generation, I grew up feeling like an outsider, like someone who didn't matter." But, he did matter. He mattered to an entire generation as he reinvented modern dance. Ailey used music and the human body the way a painter uses pigment and canvas. Every movement he directed a dancer was a brushstroke, and every stage design he inspired, the frame.

Born in rural Texas in 1931, Ailey and his mother moved to Los Angeles when he was a child. There he found the opportunity to study dance with the Lester Horton Dance Company.  When Horton suddenly died the company needed an Artistic Director.  Soon Alvin stepped into the position. His love of the craft spurred an interest in choreography, and that’s when Ailey came into his own.

Alvin Ailey truly rose to success founding The American Dance Theater in 1959. This troupe has toured the world over ever since, bringing modern dance into the lives of millions. They were even the first American modern dance company to be invited to the Soviet Union since the1920’s. His most famous choreographed work may be ‘Cry’, Ailey’s tribute to, "all black women everywhere, especially our mothers… .” The Alvin Ailey Dance Theater became a household word in the United States, solely founded on Ailey’s talent in the Performing Arts world.

Tags: Alvin Ailey, dance, choreography, Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, American dance theater, Cry, performing arts, fine arts

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