Judith Jamison conducts exclusive workshop

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater leadersOn the heels of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s joyous New York City Center holiday season, Artistic Director Emerita Judith Jamison will teach an exclusive Ailey Classics Workshop on Thursday, January 5 at 7 pm to celebrate what would’ve been Alvin Ailey’s 86th birthday. Jamison will impart Ailey’s signature style, which helped change the perception of American dance around the world.


In this two-hour workshop open to intermediate students, the subtle nuances and complexities in some of Alvin Ailey’s critically-acclaimed repertory will be explored with live accompaniment. Assisted by former Ailey School student and current Ailey II member Khalia Campbell, Jamison will break down vibrant and stirring choreography, empowering students to tap into their creativity, personal truths and passions in their performances.


“Dancers must engage with people, communicate with movement rather than words, and bring their life experiences to the stage,” said Jamison. “My mission is to carry on the ethos that Alvin Ailey established, always remembering his belief that ‘dance came from the people and it must be delivered back to the people.’”


Jamison joined AAADT in 1965 under Ailey’s leadership, quickly becoming his muse. Over the next 15 years, she toured the world with the company and became an international dance star. Ailey choreographed enduring roles for her, most notably the 17-minute tour-de-force solo Cry.


After taking a break to star in the Broadway musical Sophisticated Ladies and to form her own company The Jamison Project, she returned to AAADT in 1989 when Ailey asked her to succeed him as artistic director. In the two decades that followed, Jamison brought the company to unprecedented success.


A recipient of numerous honorary doctorate degrees, Jamison is a master teacher and the recipient of countless awards, including a prime-time Emmy Award, a National Medal of the Arts, a “Bessie” Award, the Kennedy Center Honor, and listing in “TIME 100: The World’s Most Influential People.” In 1993, she published her autobiography Dancing Spirit, which was edited by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Jamison continues to dedicate herself to asserting the significance of the Ailey legacy, using dance as a medium for honoring the past, celebrating the present, and fearlessly reaching into the future.


This exclusive workshop will take place at Ailey’s home – The Joan Weill Center for Dance in NYC. Participant fees are $45 per student and observation fees are $25 per person. To register or to learn more about Ailey Extension, visit aileyextension.com.


Photo: Alvin Ailey and Judith Jamison in 1969. Photo by Jack Mitchell. Courtesy of the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation, Inc. and Smithsonian Institution.