2 3 Throwback Thursday and Alvin Ailey | Ballet Webb

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Throwback Thursday and Alvin Ailey

Throwback Thursday and Alvin Ailey

Born on January 5, 1931 in Rogers, Texas, Alvin Ailey grew up to become a famous American choreographer. His father left the family when he was young, and he grew up poor in the small Texas town of Navasota. His early inspiration came from the church services he attended. When he was only 12, he left home and headed to Los Angeles.

There he attended a performance of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and decided to pursue a career in dance. He studied modern dance with Lester Horton and joined his company in 1950.

In 1954, he performed on Broadway in House of Flowers, Carefree Tree, and Jamaica. In New York he studied with Martha Graham and in 1958 he launched his own company, the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater. One of his early works, Revelations, has become a modern classic, and it was inspired by his childhood memories of the church services he attended.

His company toured nationally and internationally, and its fame grew. In 1960 he formed the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, now known as the Ailey School that has trained many renowned dancers.

 In 1988 he was honored by the Kennedy Center, but little more than a year later he died at age 58. During his short lifetime he choreographed more than 80 ballets, and his company is one of the most recognizable dance companies in the world today, having performed for more than 20 million people around the globe.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Dance History Factoid #91:  
Alvin Ailey was an American choreographer who founded Alvin Ailey Dance Theater.

                Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Dance is for everybody. I believe that the dance came from the people and that it should always be delivered back to the people.”
-Alvin Ailey

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