Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater


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The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT) is a modern dance company based in New York, New York. It was founded in 1958 by choreographer and dancer Alvin Ailey. It is made up of 32 dancers, led by artistic director Robert Battle and associate artistic director Masazumi Chaya. Alvin Ailey and a group of young Black modern dancers first performed at New Yorks 92nd Street Young Mens Hebrew Association (92nd Street Y), under the name Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT), in March 1958. At this point in time, Alvin Ailey was the companys director, choreographer, and principal dancer. The company started as an ensemble of only seven dancers, plus their choreographer, and many guest choreographers. Following their first performance, which included Alvin Aileys Blues Suite, the company traveled on what were known as the "station wagon tours"; in 1960, the AAADT became a resident company of the 51st Street YWCAs Clark Center for the Performing Arts. It was during this period that Ailey choreographed his famous work Revelations, a character dance done to traditional music. In 1962, Ailey changed his all-black dance company into a multi-racial group, believing that there was a kind of reverse chauvinism to anything all black. In that same year, the company was chosen to tour the Far East, Southeast Asia and Australia as part of President John F. Kennedys "Presidents Special International Program for Cultural Presentations". AAADT was the first "Black" company to travel for Kennedys program. Judith Jamison, a star of the company for 15 years, joined the company in 1965. Ailey established a school in 1969, the same year that the company moved to the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Both company and school relocated to 229 East 59th Street in Manhattan a year later, to a renovated church building. In April of that year, a financial crisis caused Ailey to issue a statement that the dissolution of the company might take place. The crisis abated, however, and in 1971 AAADT made its first performance at the New York City Center, where it is currently the resident company. Associate artistic director Masazumi Chaya joined the company in 1972.