“The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has a history spanning more than 50 years. It has achieved international success while setting the standard for modern dance excellence and creating a distinct Alvin Ailey aesthetic. The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater first performed in 1958 at New York’s 92nd Street Young Men’s Hebrew Association. The company included Ailey and 13 young African American dancers. In the 1960s the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater toured the world with performances in Asia, Africa and Mexico. “Cry,” a critically acclaimed Alvin Ailey piece choreographed for Judith Jamison, premiered in 1971. By 1978 the troupe had doubled in size and accrued domestic popularity.”
“Alvin Ailey continued to choreograph throughout the 1980s. He was lauded with honors and awards including the Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award in 1987 and the Kennedy Center Honor for lifetime contribution to American culture in 1988. Judith Jamison first performed with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1965. At 6 feet tall she becomes Ailey’s premier dancer and inspiration. Jamison left the company in 1980 but returned in 1989 to take over as artistic director.
“Robert Battle, a revered choreographer, and modern dancer, took over as artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in July 2011. Battle has had experience working with the troupe and was an artist in residence at the Ailey School in Manhattan.”
It has been a humbling experience working here in New York with Ailey II, but none of his success would have been achieved without hard work and patience. He discovered really soon that dance in the real world is different than what we see on television.
In his opinion, the media has created and modeled a new way to move that he personally thinks is not the best way to express dance as an art form, but at least society has been able to see and taste a bit of the variety of different dance styles.
Boulevard by Mina Yoo
The Grupo de Dança do Liceu de Artes, Balé Folclórico da Bahia, Bolshoi School in Brasil, Dance Brasil, Ailey School and Ailey II was just the beginning of Slim’s journey and he is looking forward with excitement to reach new goals.
“Shards” by Donald Byrd
As an example with his life and spirit are found in his words of advice to young dancers is to never give up. Everything is supposed to happen at that right time and believe, everyone is going to have there time!
ARCHIVIST and HISTORIAN
Dale Shields is a professor of theatre, director, and actor (Broadway, Off Broadway, Off Off Broadway and Regional).
The 2017 winner of The Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award®, 2017 and 2015 Tony® award nominee for the Excellence in Theatre Education Award, and the winner of the 2017 AUDELCO/"VIV" Special Achievement Award. On the web, he is the archivist and historian of Iforcolor.org and Black Theatre/African American Voices [Facebook] (theatre, music, and art). He has taught classes and workshops at Susquehanna University, Denison University, Randolph-Macon College, Macalester College, The College of Wooster, Ohio University, Wayne State University, The University of Akron and the Joseph Papp Public Theatre (NYSF).
B.F.A. and M.F.A. degree from Ohio University.
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