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Alvin Ailey was born on January 5, 1931, in Rogers Texas. His family was a very religious family. He attended Sunday school and church at the Baptist Young Peoples Union. When he was in junior high school, his class went on a trip to the ballet, and that's what inspired him to dance.
Seeing the ballet and having his dance teacher, Lester Horton, he was off to a good start. Watching and meeting dancers and actors like Martha Grahm, Doris Humphrey, Charles -Weidman, and Hanya Holm motivated him to pursue a career in dancing. Watching the actors helped him a lot because dancing is very similar to acting; you have to be in, and feel your character.
After Lester Horton's death (Ailey's choreographer), Ailey became the director of Horton's dance studio, but in 1958, Ailey founded his own studio and named it, "The Alvin Ailey Dance Company." The purpose of this dance company is "to enrich American modern dance heritage and preserving the uniqueness of black cultural expression" (Willinger 1). The big break for Ailey's dance company was the dance Revalations. which people from all over loved. Since the start of the Dance Company "the Dance Theater has performed for and estimated 19,000,000 people in forty-eight countries and on six continents, earning the Company a reputation as one of the most popular international ambassadors of American Culture." ( Alvin Ailey Dance Company 7).
Most African Americans and many races respected Ailey because he was "A leading figure in modern dance, whose dances reflected his black Southern Heritage and are set to jazz or gospel music." (The New Book of Knowledge 587). In Ailey's dance company, there was one dancer that Ailey admired. Her name was Judith Jamison. She provided the inspiration for Ailey to dance to a solo piece, named Cry. Cry was for Alieys mother; dedicated to" all Black women everywhere-mothers." (Alvin Ailey Dance Company 3).
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After Alieys death in April of 1989, in New York, Jamison had to work to keep Alvin Ailey's dream alive, by keeping it going, to this very day. Now, Denise Jefferson, "a prestigious faculty, trains over 3,500 dance students annually from every part of the world, who contributes a multicultural richness that is unique richness that is unique among dance schools." (Willinger 4). People who have a very strong love for dance like to remember Ailey and his wonderful talent.