6 Dancers Share What Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's 60th Anniversary Means to Them

Photo by Donna Ward, courtesy Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

On March 30, 1958, at the 92nd Street Y in NYC, dancer Alvin Ailey and a group of African-American dancers performed onstage together for the first time. Since then, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the company Ailey formed, has become legendary in the dance world. To commemorate its 60th anniversary, Ailey has dubbed its annual City Center season "Ailey 60." From Nov. 28–Dec. 30 choreographers including Ronald K. Brown, Jessica Lang, and Rennie Harris will present premieres, alongside the works of current artistic director Robert Battle, Judith Jamison, and over two dozen pieces by Alvin Ailey himself. We asked a few of the company members to share what the anniversary means to them.

Linda Celeste Sims (joined in 1996): 

Photo by Andrew Eccles, courtesy Ailey

"Dancing for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater means everything to me. I've been dancing with the company for 23 years and have been able to experience the 45th, 50th, and now 60th anniversaries. Ailey's works are masterpieces. They're full of truth, honesty, and humility. It's the reason audiences are moved when they watch us. The 60th anniversary proves what Mr. Ailey said: 'Dance is for everybody.'"

A version of this story appeared in the December 2018 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "Happy Birthday Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater!"

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