skip navigation | text only | accessibility | site map
Photo of Alvin Ailey

Alvin Ailey

Born in Rogers, Texas on January 5, 1931, Alvin Ailey was introduced to dance by performances of the Katherine Dunham Dance Company and the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. His formal dance training began with an introduction to Lester Horton's classes by his friend, Carmen de Lavallade. When Mr. Ailey began creating dances, he drew upon his "blood memories" of Texas, the blues, spirituals and gospel as inspiration, which resulted in the creation of his most popular and critically acclaimed work–Revelations. Although he created 79 ballets over his lifetime, Alvin Ailey maintained that his company was not exclusively a repository for his own work.

Video and Audio

Alvin Ailey at Duke Ellington School of Arts

Members of Alvin Ailey in discussion at Duke Ellington School of the Arts as part of Kennedy Center educational outreach.

After The Rain Pas De Deux

In Christopher Wheeldon’s "After the Rain Pas de Deux," a couple performs a haunting pas de deux, set to Arvo Pärt’s "Spiegel im Spiegel." The work first premiered in 2005 at New York City Ballet’s annual New Combinations Evening.

Ailey 2013-14 Season Video

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has performed for over 23 million people in 48 states and in 71 countries on 6 continents, celebrating the African-American cultural experience and the American modern dance tradition.

Additional Resources