Decent Essays
18 October 2013
A Never Ending Movement
“If you live in the elite world of dance, you find yourself in a world rife with racism. Let 's face it.” –Alvin Ailey. Alvin Ailey was an African American dancer and choreographer, born in 1931 in Rogers, Texas. Ailey was responsible for creating one of the most popular dance companies of the twentieth century, known as the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. The forming of this company began due to Ailey’s life long passion for dance, and his dream to give African American dancers the opportunity to display their talents and express their experiences and heritage (Bodensteiner). Ailey’s goal and achievement was to make black bodies visible, if not dominant, in the discourse of modernist
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Alvin Ailey’s Revelations quickly became a defining dance document of African American culture for all of its audiences. “For Ailey, Revelations realized the largely untapped potential of black dancers to inform concert dance with the profound cultural heritage of African American experience” (DeFrantz, 25). “The civil rights movement-its ideals, success, and failures-greatly affected both Ailey and the success of his dance company” (Obalil, 5). In the 1950s while Alvin was living in New York, the doors of opportunity into the white performance world were closed to him as a black man (Fleming, 23). During this time, “many well-trained, polished black dancers were totally shut out of a white dance field, which barely acknowledged their existence” (Fleming, 24). The goals and intentions of Ailey’s company started out by “wanting to create a black folkloric company, to present to the public what black artists has created in music and dance” (DeFrantz, 21). Ailey so badly wanted to give African American dancers an equal opportunity to showcase their talent on stage like the white people could. Inspiration sparked for Ailey from this unfair and unequal treatment of African American dancers with his piece Revelations. According to DeFrantz, Revelations recalled a segregated era when African Americans had little access to mainstream American life. Revelations’ popularity reached new heights with its national broadcast in 1962, demonstrating the
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