Alvin Ailey (1931–1989) is one of the best-known names in the world of dance—and for good reason. Ailey rose from a poverty-stricken childhood to become a celebrated dancer and visionary choreographer, along the way changing the look of modern dance and elevating the stature of Black dancers.
In 1958 he founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater which, nearly 30 years after his death, is still producing some of the finest works of dance in America. Ailey was proud to have created a multiracial dance company, giving opportunities to minorities without showing preference to any race. It’s a sensibility that continues with the dance company today—as does the high quality of the troupe’s work.
On his birthday, we’re remembering Ailey’s life and legacy with a look at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performing a few of the choreographer’s greatest works.
Reflections in D
Originally published January 2013