Ailey Dancers & Choreographers Teach Master Classes At The Ailey Extension (update)

November 12, 2015

alvin ailey dancer workshops1Renowned dancers and choreographers will teach master classes at the Ailey Extension in conjunction with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s New York City Center season (December 2 – January 3).  Ailey Guest Artist and Rehearsal Director Matthew Rushing will lead a Revelations Workshop on Sunday, November 22 at 2pm; Ailey legend Donna Wood will lead a Blues Suite Master Class on Sunday, December 6 at 2pm; star Ailey dancer Hope Boykin will teach a Horton-based Beyond the Stage Master Class on Monday, December 14 at 6pm; and choreographer Ronald K. Brown will teach a Master Class on Monday, November 30 at 7pm, just days in advance of the December 2 Ailey world premiere of Open Door, set to music by Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra.

Students will not only have the unique opportunity to learn from these world-renowned dancers and choreographers in the studio, they will also have the opportunity to see their artistry on the New York City Center stage from December 2 – January 3. The season performances include three works by Ronald K. Brown – Open Door, Grace and Four Corners – along with Matthew Rushing’s ODETTA, starring Hope Boykin. Rushing and Boykin will be seen in a number of other works throughout the season, including Alvin Ailey’s new production of Blues Suite, performed to live music, and Revelations


  • Revelations Workshop with Matthew Rushing – Sunday November 22 at 2pm

Hailed as “one of this country’s greatest dancers” (The New Yorker), Matthew Rushing, Rehearsal Director and Guest Artist of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, will share his personal experiences with Mr. Ailey’s masterpiece Revelations. Rushing, who performed the iconic work for two decades, will teach the movement that has inspired audiences around the world. This class is open to all levels.

  • Master Class with Ronald K. Brown – Monday, November 30 at 7pm

Choreographer Ronald K. Brown is renowned for his signature blend of modern dance and West African idioms. Brown has set many critically-acclaimed works on Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and his latest world premiere Open Door, debuts on December 2 during Ailey’s 2015 City Center Season.  Brown has been traveling to Cuba since 2001, and his experiences inspired some of the movement in Open Door, which includes both salsa partnering and movement from the Santería pantheon. The ensemble work is set to the music of Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, who recorded the recent album Cuba: The Conversation Continues during 2014 performances in Havana, just a day after President Obama announced plans to normalize relations with Cuba. Brown brings his unique style of dance storytelling to the Ailey Extension for this open level class.

  • Blues Suite with Donna Wood – Sunday December 6 at 2pm

Often considered Alvin Ailey’s first masterpiece, Blues Suite premiered during the Company’s first performance in 1958, and will be seen this season in a new production performed with live music. “Blood memories” of rural, Depression-era southern Texas, come to life in the work, which portrays a cast of vividly-drawn characters from the barrelhouses and fields of Mr. Ailey’s southern childhood, who dance and revel through one long, sultry night. The work poignantly evokes the sorrow, humor and humanity of the blues, those heartfelt songs that he called “hymns to the secular regions of the soul.” This open level class will offer an in-depth study of the history and creative heritage of Mr. Ailey, and students will learn the significance of the Horton technique within Ailey movement.

The Blues Suite master class will be taught by Donna Wood, who was selected by Mr. Ailey to join the company in 1972. During her 13 years with the Company she became an international dance star of her time and graced the cover of People magazine.  Highly regarded for her lyrical musicality supple extensions, and dramatic intensity, she originated the lead role in Alvin Ailey’s Memoria and became a renowned interpreter of his tour-de-force solo Cry, which she is restaging on a new generation of soloists for the Company’s New York City Center season.

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  • Beyond the Stage Master Class with Hope Boykin – Monday, December 14 at 6pm

Hope Boykin – one of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s most well-known dancers – will encourage bodily self-awareness in her class, which will begin with a Horton warm-up followed by an in-depth study of movement. Students will explore physical expression and discover the necessary tools to improve their technique. This class is for Advanced Beginner students, and will feature live accompaniment.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s annual holiday season will feature world premieres by Kyle Abraham, Ronald K. Brown and Robert Battle – his first since becoming Artistic Director – a Company premiere by Paul Taylor, and three new productions of Ailey classics: Cry, Love Songs, and Blues Suite. For more information on Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s performances, visit

Other fall Ailey Extension highlights include Tuesday Body Weight Boot Camp workshops, World Jazz with Cecilia M. Marta on Mondays, monthly Sunday Afro Flow Yoga™ workshops, Finis Jhung’s Sunday Ballet Intensive for Adult Beginners  (Sunday, December 6), a Zumba® Holiday Dance Party (Sunday, December 14), and the return of Kukuwa® African Dance Workout (Wednesdays, beginning December 9). For the complete Ailey Extension class schedule,


Revelations Workshop with Matthew Rushing

Sunday, November 22, 2-4pm / $40

Master Class with Ronald K. Brown

Monday, November 30, 7-9pm / $30

Blues Suite with Donna Wood

Sunday, December 6 at 2-4pm / $30

Beyond the Stage Master Class with Hope Boykin

Monday, December 14 at 6-7:30pm / $30


World Jazz Workshop with Cecilia M. Marta

Mondays, November 9, 16 & 23, 7-9pm / $25

Body Weight Boot Camp

Tuesdays, November 10, 17 & 24, 7:30-8:30pm / $22.50 per class; $80 per monthly package

Afro Flow Yoga™

Sundays, November 15 & December 20, 2-3:30pm / $20

Finis Jhung Sunday Ballet Intensive for Adult Beginners

Sunday, December 6, 4-6pm / $30

Zumba® Holiday Dance Party

Monday, December 14, 6:30-8pm / $25 

For more information on group visits or to schedule your trip, visit here.

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