Alvin Ailey’s Tribute to Black Women Everywhere

In our July issue's History: Lesson Plan, we learn about Alvin Ailey, who founded what would become one of the world's most famous modern dance companies. From its earliest days, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performed dances that reflected the African-American cultural experience to concert dance audiences.

Jacqueline Green in Alvin Ailey's Cry

Check out excerpts from Ailey's 1971 masterpiece Cry. In this piece, dedicated to Black women everywhere, a woman in a long white skirt expresses anguish, strength and joy through sharp gestures, suspended balances on one leg, spinal undulations and spinning. Cry was created on Judith Jamison, who performed with the company, 1965–80, and was handpicked by Ailey to succeed him as artistic director.

Photo by Paul Kolnik, courtesy of AAADT

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