Ailey II is an exceptional dance company that merges the spirit and energy of the country’s best young talent with the passion and creative vision of today’s most outstanding emerging choreographers. Ailey II began in 1974 as the Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble, when Alvin Ailey initiated a workshop composed of the most promising scholarship students from The Ailey School. The original members of Ailey II were handpicked by Mr. Ailey from among that group. The Company, which emphasizes a balance of repertoire, technique and performance, has become one of the most popular and critically acclaimed dance companies in the United States.
Under the direction of Sylvia Waters, Artistic Director since the Company’s inception, Ailey II invigorates the American dance scene by offering unique opportunities for artists in all areas of dance. Ailey II members, all talented dancers who have completed advanced programs at The Ailey School, hone their skills while gaining invaluable performing and teaching experience during their tenure with the Company (usually two years). Throughout its history, more than 50 Ailey II members have been selected to join the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Many others have gone on to pursue successful careers as dancers, teachers and choreographers with other professional dance companies and on Broadway.
In recent years, Ailey II’s distinctive repertory has included works by dance masters Alvin Ailey and Talley Beatty, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Artistic Director Judith Jamison and such innovative choreographers as Donald Byrd, Shapiro & Smith, Shen Wei, Avila/Weeks, Lar Lubovitch, Kevin Wynn and Ulysses Dove. The Company’s 2002-2003 tour consists of performances in over 40 United States cities, including New York City’s Aaron Davis Hall. Additionally, Ailey II continues to win unmatched critical praise for its residencies at major colleges and universities and its visits to elementary, middle and high schools throughout the country. The Company has also received numerous honors, awards and proclamations in recognition of its community outreach programs.
– Paul Horsley of The Kansas City Star