The 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala Benefit’s Star-Studded Party and Performance Launches Two-Week Lincoln Center Engagement; 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

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The 2015 Ailey Spirit Gala Benefit’s Star-Studded Party and Performance Launches Two-Week
Lincoln Center Engagement

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.


Wednesday, June 17th – 7:30pm

No Longer Silent – Company Premiere
No Longer Silent is a large ensemble work featuring the imaginative interplay of four groups of dancers evoking a complex and mysterious ritual to “Ogelala,” a percussive score by Jewish composer Erwin Schulhoff, who perished in a concentration camp in 1942. Originally created in 2007 for The Juilliard School, Robert Battle’s alma mater, it was part of a concert of choreography that brought to life long-forgotten scores by composers whose work the Nazis had banned. Powerful phrases stir the imagination with images of flight and fatigue, chaos and unity, and collectivity and individualism as dancers travel in military rows. This work is presented in conjunction with the 70th anniversary of the liberation of concentration camps Auschwitz and Buchenwald, marking the end of the Holocaust.

Performance Dates: June 17, June 20 eve, June 21 eve

A Case of You – New Production
A Case of You is an emotional and sensual duet by Judith Jamison, performed to Diana Krall’s version of Joni Mitchell’s song by the same title. The duet was originally created in 2004 as a birthday tribute to Chairman Emerita Joan Weill and premiered publicly the following year as part of Ms. Jamison’s larger work, Reminiscin’, inspired by Edward Hopper’s famous painting Nighthawks and great female jazz artists.

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
On Saturday afternoons, bring the whole family to enjoy the matinee, and stay afterward for a FREE Q&A session with the acclaimed Ailey dancers in the theater. All Family Matinee performances conclude with Alvin Ailey’s masterpiece, Revelations, a must-see for all!

Ticket to Dance
“Ticket to Dance” offers audience members an opportunity to try their first Ailey Extension class FREE with the presentation of a performance ticket stub (returning students receive a free class with the purchase of a 10-class card). The offer is valid for a year from the performance date. Now in its 10th year, the Ailey Extension has fulfilled Alvin Ailey’s life‐long commitment of bringing dance to everyone by offering “real classes for real people,” including over 80 classes per week in more than 25 different dance and fitness techniques.

The Ailey Spirit Gala is sponsored by FedEx Corporation.
Wine and spirits for The Ailey Spirit Gala generously provided by Diageo.
The 2014-2015 season is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. 


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