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Judith Jamison Conducts Exclusive Classics Workshop to Honor Alvin Ailey’s Legacy

Judith Jamison Conducts Exclusive Classics Workshop to Honor Alvin Ailey’s Legacy

Published on January 3, 2017
Judith Jamison. Photo credit: Andrew Eccles.

Artistic Director Emerita Teaches Intimate Workshop, Uncovering Details in Famed Ailey Repertory

On the heels of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s joyous New York City Center holiday season, Artistic Director Emerita Judith Jamison will teach an exclusive Ailey Classics Workshop on Thursday, January 5 at 7:00 p.m. to celebrate what would’ve been Alvin Ailey’s 86th birthday. Ms. Jamison will impart Ailey’s signature style, which changed the perception of American dance around the world, showing audiences that dance can truly be an expression of the spirit.

Khalia Campbell.

In this two-hour workshop open to intermediate students, the subtle nuances and complexities in some of Alvin Ailey’s critically-acclaimed repertory will be explored with live accompaniment. Assisted by former Ailey School student and current Ailey II member Khalia Campbell, Ms. Jamison breaks down vibrant and stirring choreography, empowering students to tap into their creativity, personal truths, and passions in their performances.

“Dancers must engage with people, communicate with movement rather than words, and bring their life experiences to the stage,” said Ms. Jamison. “My mission is to carry on the ethos that Alvin Ailey established, always remembering his belief that ‘dance came from the people and it must be delivered back to the people.’” 

Alvin Ailey and Judith Jamison, 1975. Photo credit: Jack Mitchell.

Ms. Jamison joined the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1965 under Alvin Ailey’s leadership, quickly becoming his muse. Over the next 15 years, she toured the world with the company and became an international dance star. Mr. Ailey choreographed enduring roles for her, most notably the 17-minute tour-de-force solo Cry. After taking a break to star in the Broadway musical Sophisticated Ladies and to form her own company The Jamison Project, she returned to Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1989 when Mr. Ailey asked her to succeed him as Artistic Director. In the two decades that followed, Ms. Jamison brought the company to unprecedented success.

A recipient of numerous honorary doctorate degrees, Ms. Jamison is a master teacher and the recipient of countless awards, including a prime-time Emmy Award, a National Medal of the Arts, a “Bessie” Award, the Kennedy Center Honor, and listing in “TIME 100: The World’s Most Influential People.” In 1993, she published her autobiography Dancing Spirit, which was edited by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Ms. Jamison continues to dedicate herself to asserting the significance of the Ailey legacy, using dance as a medium for honoring the past, celebrating the present, and fearlessly reaching into the future.

Artistic Director Emerita Judith Jamison.

This exclusive workshop takes place at Ailey’s home – The Joan Weill Center for Dance (405 West 55th Street at 9th Avenue). Participant fees are $45 per student and observation fees are $25 per person. To register or learn more about Ailey Extension, visit

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