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Fri, 03.07.1958

The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT) founded

*On this date in 1958 the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT)’s beginning is affirmed.  This is a modern dance company based in New York City. It was founded by choreographer and dancer Alvin Ailey.  Ailey was the company's director, choreographer, and principal dancer.

The company started as an ensemble of only seven dancers, plus their choreographer, and many guest choreographers. In its beginning their group of young Black modern dancers first performed at New York's 92nd Street Young Men's Hebrew Association (92nd Street Y), under the name Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT).   Following their first performance, which included Ailey's Blues Suite, the company traveled on "station wagon tours"; in 1960, they became a resident company of the 51st Street YWCA's Clark Center for the Performing Arts. During this period Ailey choreographed his famous work Revelations, a character dance done to traditional Black music. In 1962, Ailey changed his all-Black dance company into a multi-racial group, believing that there was a kind of reverse chauvinism to anything all Black.  

Currently it is made up of 32 dancers, led by artistic director Robert Battle and associate artistic director Masazumi Chaya.  The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has performed for an over 25 million people in 48 states, as well as 71 countries on six continents. Among these performances are included two South African residencies.  

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Dere’s an ol’ man called de Mississippi Dat’s de ol’ man dat I’d like to be! What does he care if de world’s got troubles? What does he care if de land... OL’ MAN RIVER by Paul Robeson.
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