Alvin Ailey first began sketching out a suite of Ellington works on the newly formed the Repertory Workshop of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center which later became known as Ailey II. Continue reading
The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performed two excerpts from his masterwork Revelations on the weekly television variety show The Hollywood Palace (1968). The episode hosted by Diahann Carroll helped give the then fledgling dance company national attention. The cast included Judith Jamison, George Faison and Kelvin Rotardier. Continue reading
Ailey All Access presents Rennie Harris’ Lazarus. It’s the Company’s first ever evening length work shown in two acts. Through hip-hop dance, Harris reflects on Alvin Ailey’s life and addresses the racial inequities America faced when the Ailey company was founded 1958 and still faces today. Watch it now through Thurs, July 9 at 7pm EDT. Continue reading
Divo Alert! George Faison, Miguel Godreau and Dudley Williams dance in an excerpt from Talley Beatty’s The Road Of The Pheobe Snow with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Continue reading
The documentary film A Hymn for Alvin Ailey goes behind the scenes of Judith Jamison’s Hymn and gives you a look at Alvin Ailey’s life from the perspective of those who knew him best. Continue reading
Greenwood, Donald Byrd‘s fifth Ailey commission draws on the Company’s theatrical roots and legacy of addressing social injustice. The work’s title references a 1921 tragedy that happened in Tulsa, Oklahoma’s segregated Greenwood District. At the time, it was one of the country’s most affluent African American communities, known as Black Wall Street.
By Walter Rutledge
James “Banks” Davis is a real New York success story. Banks grow up in the urban environment of Queens and Brooklyn and as a teenager found acceptance and recognition as an urban street dancer. A natural athlete Banks quickly excelled in dance and gymnastics. He loved entertaining people often turning a street corner into a stage.
Then on Halloween night 2009, gun fire erupted on a crowded Brooklyn street and Banks was shot in the knee- another innocent victim of a random shooting. His injuries would have been a death knell for anyone pursuing a career in dance. Instead, Banks treated this not as a detour, but the course appointed.
The original diagnosis was amputation; but miraculously sensation returned to his leg and Banks immediately turned his attention toward recovery. Through mediation, prayer, dedication and hard work Banks was able to return to dance. Banks broaden his aesthetic horizons through his association with Jamel Gaines and his dance company
For over 26 years Gaines has used dance to inspire inner city youth to achieve; and often his prodigy has aspired beyond their own expectations. Gaines has the unique gift of working with dancer from many diverse disciplines. And Banks (whose specialty was the L.A. street dance style called Krump) developed his art under Gaines holistic approach to dance.
Banks combines the refined, codified styles of modern and jazz with the raw edginess of Krump. In 2014 Banks stole the hearts of many on social media as a contestant on So You Think You Can Dance Season 11. Banks played the role of the angel Gabriel in the English National Opera’s The Gospel According To Mary and toured New Zealand with the Park Avenue Armory’s production FLEXN. In 2019 Banks was featured in the groundbreaking Revelation of Proverbs Reggie “Regg Roc” and the D.R.E.A.M. Ring at The Shed.
Jamel Gaines Creative Outlet Behind The Scenes
On June 19 Creative Outlet and Summerstage will present Hanging Tree, an on-line celebration of the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth. The virtual presentation will take place on June 19, 7-8pm on Summerstage YouTube. In addition to Banks the production (choreographed, staged and conceived by Gaines) also features vocalist Marcelle Davies Lashley, poet Carl Hancock Rux, and musician Talu Green. The performance will be followed by a panel discussion entitled The Importance of Juneteenth’s History & How It Affects Our Community’s Lives Today. The panel will feature RestorationArt Executive Director Dr. Indira Etwaroo, Gaines and Rux.
For more information about Creative Outlet’s programs, classes and upcoming event visit jgcodance.org.
“Dance can elevate our human experience beyond words,” says Judith Jamison, artistic director emerita of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. In between performances of excerpts from Alvin Ailey’s classic works “Revelations” and “Cry,” Jamison reflects on the enduring power of dance to transform history into art that thrills audiences around the world. (Performances by Solomon Dumas, Samantha Figgins and Constance Stamatiou)
By Walter Rutledge
In 2003 I called Ailey Dancer Emeritus Dudley Williams at that time he was a 39 year veteran of the Ailey Company, one year from a forty year milestone as an Ailey dancer. The Bearden Foundation and The Nanette Bearden Contemporary Dance Theater were planning a centennial celebration for renowned artist Romare Bearden. The dance company would present a new work On The Block based on the six panel mural by Bearden, which is in the permanent collection at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.
I introduced myself and explained the projected; we wanted him to play an abusive husband opposite Hope Clark. I finished the introduction with “I have called you the Lyric Crown Prince of modern dance but in this work I’m going to need you to be a real son of a bitch”. He paused then quickly responded “I can do that”. This began a working relationship and friendship that would last until his death. I still miss Dudley’s dry wit and even drier Bombay Blue Sapphire Martini. I know that you are still dancing this solo probably with Alvin directing and Donny singing. Continue reading
The Ailey company first premiered The Hunt, one of Robert Battle’s most popular works, in 2010. Fueled by a thundering percussion soundtrack, the piece explores the relationship between modern sports and the rites of the gladiators. Continue reading