The Ailey organization continues to inspire and enlighten millions across the globe with free broadcasts of performances, conversations, Ailey Extension dance and fitness classes, and more.
In observance of Juneteenth, Ailey All Access will present a program of conversation and dance, speaking to the enduring power of the human spirit and extending Alvin Ailey’s legacy of artistic activism.
In the special production sponsored by Amazon premiering on Wednesday, June 16, 2021, at 7 pm EDT, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will move viewers around the world in thought-provoking works to commemorate Juneteenth – the day on June 19, 1865, when all enslaved African Americans finally learned of their freedom and the end of the Civil War.
The stage will be set with a BattleTalk conversation with Opal Lee “Grandmother of Juneteenth,” Sam Collins, Juneteenth Legacy Project’s historian and co-chair, as well as the Juneteenth Legacy Project’s commissioned artist, Reginald Adams.
Available online for one week, performances by Ailey’s extraordinary dancers will include excerpts from Rennie Harris’ Lazarus, a 1972 film of Judith Jamison dancing to “Right On, Be Free” in the finale of Alvin Ailey’s Cry, and the rousing “Rocka My Soul” culmination of Revelations.
All three works pay tribute to the cultural heritage of the African-American, which Mr. Ailey said was one of America’s richest treasures – “sometimes sorrowful, sometimes jubilant, but always hopeful.”
Inspired by the life and legacy of Mr. Ailey, hip-hop pioneer Rennie Harris connects past and present in Lazarus, a powerful ensemble work that addresses the racial inequities America faced when Mr. Ailey founded this company in 1958 and still faces today.
Dedicated to “all Black women everywhere–especially our mothers,” the solo Cry was originally interpreted by the legendary Judith Jamison representing women who endured the hardships of slavery, overcame extraordinary tribulations, and still rose in joyful triumph.
Revelations, a timeless American masterpiece, draws up Mr. Ailey’s “blood memories” of Texas, examining the journey from struggle to surrender to salvation that ultimately speaks to our common humanity and the power of faith and hope.
Everyone is also invited to spring into summer on Thursday, June 24 at 7:30 pm EDT with the Ailey Spring Gala virtual broadcast celebrating Hope, Promise, and the Future, an exceptional culmination of Ailey All Access.
Presenting a special homage to our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., appearances will include guest of honor Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III, Congressman James E. Clyburn, and Former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama along with performances from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in three premieres expressing the evening’s themes choreographed by Company members, Ghrai DeVore-Stokes (Hope), Chalvar Monteiro (Promise) and Kanji Segawa (Future) and gifted young dancers from The Ailey School.
Viewable via the Ailey Spring Gala website for 48 hours, the free broadcast is made possible through the generous support of Southern Company. To register for a reminder to enjoy the free Ailey Spring Gala global broadcast, please visit here.
For further updates on the spring series of free online performances, visit Ailey All Access and www.alvinailey.org.
Ailey Extension Dance and Fitness Classes
Ailey Extension is inviting dance lovers around the world to join in a FREE virtual Juneteenth Celebration: West African Class with Maguette Camara on Saturday, June 19 at 12pm EDT.
This 75-minute class will dive into West African culture while teaching the fundamentals of traditional West African dance and rhythms. During this high-spirited, high-powered rhythmic experience, students will learn the rich legacy of the dance style while moving to live drums.
More than 30 weekly online Ailey Extension classes allow students all over the world to explore different dance styles daily, including hip-hop, ballet, Horton, West African, Zumba®, samba, contemporary, Pilates, Broadway Jazz and more. For more details, please visit alvinailey.org/extension.
Noggin x Ailey – “Why We Dance”
Ailey dances with Noggin in celebration of Juneteenth and encourages families to submit moves to be featured in a “Why We Dance” compilation video that will premiere on Nick Jr.’s YouTube channel. The submission process is simple, record your family doing the dance led by Ailey dancer Constance Stamatiou and her children featured here and upload with accompanying hashtag #WhyWeDance, follow, and tag @noggin and @alvinailey in your post and your video may be selected. Submission guidelines can be found here.
Still, We Dance Campaign
As we move forward together, the Ailey organization will continue to find ways to build community, uplift with Ailey’s artistry, and celebrate the indomitable human spirit through dance. During these unprecedented times, the Ailey organization is grateful for contributions to the Still, We Dance campaign that is making it possible to move forward and share Ailey All Access. To enjoy a variety of digital content, follow Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Ailey Extension on Facebook and Instagram, The Ailey School on Instagram, and visit www.alvinailey.org regularly for updates.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, recognized by U.S. Congressional resolution as a vital American “Cultural Ambassador to the World,” grew from a now‐fabled March 1958 performance in New York that changed forever the perception of American dance.
Founded by Alvin Ailey, posthumous recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the nation’s highest civilian honor, and guided by Judith Jamison beginning in 1989, the Company is now led by Robert Battle, whom Judith Jamison chose to succeed her on July 1, 2011.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has performed for an estimated 25 million people in 71 countries on six continents, promoting the uniqueness of the African‐American cultural experience and the preservation and enrichment of the American modern dance tradition.
In addition to being the Principal Dance Company of New York City Center, where its performances have become a year‐end tradition, the Ailey company performs annually at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, The Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley, CA and at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark (where it is the Principal Resident Affiliate), and appears frequently in other major theaters throughout the world during extensive yearly tours.
The Ailey organization also includes Ailey II (1974), a second performing company of emerging young dancers and innovative choreographers; The Ailey School (1969), one of the most extensive dance training programs in the world; Ailey Arts in Education & Community Programs, which brings dance into the classrooms, communities and lives of people of all ages.
The Ailey Extension (2005), a program offering dance and fitness classes to the general public, which began with the opening of Ailey’s permanent home—the largest building dedicated to dance in New York City, the dance capital of the world —named The Joan Weill Center for Dance, at 55th Street at 9th Avenue in New York City.
For more information, visit www.alvinailey.org.
Photo Credit: Judith Jamison in Alvin Ailey’s Cry. Photo by Jack Mitchell.