Alvin Ailey (1EMB) / Group ⑤

by Karina's Students


Comic Panel 1
Alvin Ailey
Arthur Silvestre
Carolina Hochheimer
Eduardo Fialdini
Gabriel Brandão
Giovanna Leite
"Racism tears down your insides so that no matter what you achieve, you're not quite up to snuff"...
…and that’s a quote by the famous African-American Alvin Ailey, born in January 5th, 1931, in Rogers, Texas. Ailey used to be a dancer, choreographer, activist and director. He created the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater to preserve the uniqueness of the African-American cultural dance heritage, where black people could express themselves through the dance. It was a hugely popular, multi-racial modern dance ensemble that popularized modern dance around the world. Unfortunately, he died in 1989, aged 58, Manhattan, New York.
Comic Panel 2
Alvin's childhood
Alvin Ailey was born in Rogers, by the time the Great Depression was in his apex. When the dancer completed one year old his father left him and his mom. During his childhood Ailey has suffered violence, racism and he experienced all the difficulties of his mom, having to work with her in cotton fields and as domestic servants, all this as a little kid. At the age of six they moved to Navasota, Texas. In high school he began to practice gymnastics and football. In addition he started to become interested in dance, admirerand Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire, and took tap dancing lessons at the neighbors house.
Comic Panel 2
Comic Panel 3
In 1946, he had his first experience with a dance concert when he saw the Katherine Dunham Dance Company and Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo perform at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Auditorium.
For a time Ailey danced in a nightclub in San Francisco, then he returned to the Horton school to finish his training. Ailey was with Horton when he took the company east for a performance in New York City in 1953. When Horton died, Ailey took charge as the company's artistic director. Following Horton's style, Ailey choreographed two pieces that were presented at the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in Becket, Massachusetts.
Ailey's educational programs included free-admission shows, mini-performances, demonstrations, workshops and technique classes.
His work dedicated to the preservation and enrichment of modern North American dance and the uniqueness of black culture.

Comic Panel 3
"I always want more" - Alvin Ailey
Alvin Ailey became more than just a dancer, he became an example. He encouraged many black teenagers to get into the dance corporation. All he wanted was to "’ try’ to show the world that we are all human beings and that color is not important. What is important is the quality of our work". As a result of his efforts, Ailey received the Presidental Medal of Freedom, an award given by the President of the United States to recognize people who have made special contributions to the nation, as world peace (etc..), and the Kennedy Center Honors, an honor given to those in the performing arts, such as music or dance, for their lifetime of contributions to the American culture. Also, in 1958, Alvin founded The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT), a modern dance company in New York City just for black people, so, in 1962, the choreographer changed his all-black dance company into a multi-racial group. The “Revolutions” presentations the best-known work of and the company and of his career. This production illustrates a vision of the historically African American experience from a church-inspired perspective with dance choreographies. He always wanted more than the average.
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