Judith Jamison - Artistic Director, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Judith Jamison was appointed Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in December 1989 at the request of her mentor, Alvin Ailey. A native of Philadelphia, she studied with Marion Cuyjet, was discovered by Agnes de Mille and made her New York debut with American Ballet Theatre in 1964. She became a member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1965 and danced with the company for 15 years to great acclaim. Recognizing her extraordinary talent, Mr. Ailey created some of his most enduring roles for her, most notably the tour de force solo, Cry.
After leaving the Company in 1980, Ms. Jamison appeared as a guest artist with ballet companies all over the world and starred in the hit Broadway musical Sophisticated Ladies. In 1988, she formed her own company, The Jamison Project; a PBS special depicting her creative process, Judith Jamison: The Dancemaker, aired nationally the same year.
As a highly regarded choreographer, Ms. Jamison has created works for many companies. Love Stories, with additional choreography by Robert Battle and Rennie Harris, is her most recent ballet. Sweet Release (1996) Echo: Far From Home (1998) and Hymn (1993), her stirring tribute to Mr. Ailey, are other major works she has choreographed for the Company.
Ms. Jamison is a master teacher, lecturer and author. Her autobiography, Dancing Spirit, was edited by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and published by Doubleday in 1993. She is the recipient of many awards and honorary degrees, including a prime time Emmy Award and an American Choreography Award for Outstanding Choreography in the PBS "Great Performances: Dance In America" special, A Hymn for Alvin Ailey, and an honorary doctorate from Howard University. In December 1999, Ms. Jamison was presented with the Kennedy Center Honor, recognizing her lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts.
More information on the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater website