Martha Graham (left)

“Great dancers are not great because of their technique. They are great because of their passion.” —Martha Graham

“To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful. This is power, it is glory on Earth and it is yours for the taking" —Agnes de Mille

“Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.” —Twyla Tharp

“If you dance with your heart, your body will follow.” —Mia Michaels

“Dancers are made, not born.” —Mikhail Baryshnikov

“I see dance being used as communication between body and soul, to express what is too deep to find for words.” —Ruth St. Denis

“Dancing is bigger than the physical body. Think bigger than that. When you extend your arm, it doesn’t stop at the end of your fingers, because you’re dancing bigger than that. You’re dancing spirit.” —Judith Jamison

Photo courtesy of Dance Magazine archives

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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

For more on Ailey, subscribe to Dance Teacher and receive the July issue.

Photo by Eva F. Maze, courtesy of Ailey archives

Alvin Ailey founded what would become one of the world's most famous modern dance companies. From its earliest days, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performed dances that reflected the African-American cultural experience to concert dance audiences. Ailey's iconic work Revelations continues to resonate nearly 60 years later. The company has performed for more than 25 million people on six continents

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Fred and Adele Astaire

Here at DT, we love the Fred and Adele Astaire Awards. Established in 1982 in honor of the king of movie musicals Fred Astaire and his equally talented sister Adele, the Astaire Awards are the one awards event each year dedicated solely to the hoofers, bunheads, jazzerinas and choreographic geniuses making waves on Broadway, off Broadway and in film.

The 2016 Astaire Awards, which took place last night at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, were eventful, to say the least. The award for Outstanding Choreographer for a Broadway Show went to, not one, not two, but three remarkable dancemakers: tap sensation Savion Glover for Shuffle Along, or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed, Sergio Trujillo for his Latin moves in On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio & Gloria Estefan and Broadway golden boy Andy Blankenbuehler for the record-setting Hamilton.

Shuffle Along dominated the awards with additional wins for Best Male Dancer (Phillip Attmore) and Outstanding Ensemble in a Broadway Show. For Outstanding Choreography in a Feature Film, Dave Scott won for the ballet-meets-hip-hop flick High Strung, starring former Mariinsky ballerina Keenan Kampa and The PULSE wunderkind Ian Eastwood.

Special awards went to Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater artistic director emerita Judith Jamison, “So You Think You Can Dance” producer and judge Nigel Lythgoe, Broadway and film tap star Maurice Hines and Dr. Joan Fallon for her work with autism and related disorders.

The 2016 Tony Awards are coming up on Sunday, June 12. If the Astaire Awards are any indicator, it will be a stiff competition. Who do you think will take home the coveted award for Best Choreography?

Shuffle Along took home three Astaire Awards and is nominated for 10 Tony Awards.

Photos (from top): courtesy of @theastaireawards; courtesy of @shufflealongbroadway

Don’t miss a single issue of Dance Teacher.

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