The 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala Benefit’s Star-Studded Party and Performance Launches Two-Week
Simon & Schuster Book Based Upon the Life of Artistic Director Robert Battle Announced
Ailey Season Continues Through June 21st and Includes Company Premiere of Battle’s No Longer Silent, Free Classes as Part of NYC Dance Week & Farewell Performances by Three Celebrated Ailey Dancers
|From left to right: Gala Honoree Darren Walker and Executive Director Bennett Rink. Photo by Dario Calmese Jr.; Honorary Chair Tyson Beckford and AAADT Artistic Director Robert Battle with Ailey Spirit Gala Co-Chairs and Vice-Chairs. Photo by Christopher
Duggan; Gala Honorary Chair Tyson Beckford with AAADT Artistic Director Robert Battle. Photo by Christopher Duggan.
Led by Artistic Director Robert Battle, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s 2015 Lincoln Center engagement kicked off with a star-studded Ailey Spirit Gala on Wednesday, June 10th. The one-night-only benefit performance and party honoring the Ford Foundation and sponsored by FedEx featured supermodel and actor Tyson Beckford as Honorary Chair. Gala Co-Chairs were Gina F. Adams, Ricki Lander, Almaz & Marc S. Strachan, Pamela Zilly & John Schaefer and Daria L. & Eric J. Wallach, and the Vice Chairs were Michele & Timothy Barakett, Dr. N. Anthony & Robyn Coles, and Leslie & Tom Maheras. The evening helped raise over $1 million for Ailey’s extensive educational programs for young people, including AileyCamp and scholarships to The Ailey School.
The Ailey Spirit Gala featured performances by all divisions of the Ailey organization, including the world-renowned Ailey dancers in excerpts of Matthew Rushing’s ODETTA and in Robert Battle’s Takademe. The rising stars of Ailey II performed an excerpt of Manuel Vignoulle’s Breakthrough, gifted young dancers from The Ailey School (ages 6 to 23) showcased their talents and the breadth of the program’s training in a work called Synergy, and talented students from AileyCamp performed a work inspired by Christopher Huggins’ Anointed. An expanded cast of the present and future stars of Ailey came together for a memorable finale of Alvin Ailey’s timeless Revelations.
After the performance, the celebration continued at the party on the promenade. Ailey’s Board of Trustees, including Chair Daria L. Wallach and President Debra L. Lee, Artistic Director Emerita Judith Jamison, and more than 650 guests, including TODAY Show anchor Tamron Hall, Power star Naturi Naughton, Saturday Night Live star Jay Pharoah, writer and MSNBC host Janet Mock, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt actor Tituss Burgess, Orange is the New Black’s Lorraine Toussaint, Black-ish actress Jenifer Lewis, film star and lead in the forthcoming production of Broadway’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch Taye Diggs, and many more joined in dinner and dancing with the Company to the musical stylings of deejay to the stars, DJ M.O.S.
One of the night’s exciting moments was the announcement of Simon & Schuster’s upcoming children’s book based on the life of Robert Battle, which will be released on October 27, 2015. The book is called My Story, My Dance: Robert Battle’s Journey to Alvin Ailey. It is the unique story of a young boy whose life is filled with music, church, and movement – first martial arts, and then, after seeing Alvin Ailey’s Revelations, dance. The book is sure to inspire young people around the world, and is created for ages 5 – 10. For more information, click here.
Ailey’s Lincoln Center season continues through June 21st. Highlights include the June 17th Company premiere of Mr. Battle’s No Longer Silent, FREE Ailey Extension classes during NYC Dance Week (June 18 – 27), and farewell performances from celebrated Ailey dancers Antonio Douthit-Boyd, Kirven Douthit-Boyd, and Alicia Graf Mack. For the comprehensive season press release with details on the repertory, the Saturday Ailey Family Matinee Series, and the “Ticket to Dance” Ailey Extension FREE class offer, click here.
|UPCOMING HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE
Wednesday, June 17th – 7:30pm
No Longer Silent – Company Premiere
Performance Dates: June 17, June 20 eve, June 21 eve
A Case of You – New Production
Performance Dates: June 17, June 20 eve
|NYC Dance Week June 18 – 27
In celebration of NYC Dance Week, a citywide festival that highlights the joy and diversity of dance, the Ailey Extension will offer select classes for FREE to new students* from June 18 – 27. The centerpiece of NYC Dance Week at the Ailey Extension will be a FREE Vogue class for ALL students (new and returning) led by vogue veteran Cesar Valentino on Saturday, June 20 at 5pm. Cesar will teach participants the fundamentals of vogue dancing, complete with hand movements, popping, dipping, and spinning. No registration is required for this special open class (all other NYC Dance Week classes require registration here). For the complete list of FREE NYC Dance Week classes at the Ailey Extension, click here.
*Classes are free for first-time Ailey Extension students only. Returning students receive a free class with purchase of a 10-class card.
Farewell Performances By Three Celebrated Ailey Dancers
The Lincoln Center engagement marks the farewell performances for Ailey stars Kirven Douthit-Boyd and Antonio Douthit-Boyd, who have become well-known to audiences for their standout performances since joining the Company in 2004, and who were joined in marriage in 2013. The celebrated Alicia Graf Mack will return to the stage to make her final appearance with the Company at Lincoln Center, in the iconic role carrying the umbrella in the “Wade in the Water” section at the heart of Alvin Ailey’s American masterpiece Revelations (June 16, 18 & 21).
Ailey Family Matinee Series—Saturday, June 20th at 2:00pm
Ticket to Dance
The Ailey Spirit Gala is sponsored by FedEx Corporation.