The Ailey organization continues its mission of using dance to uplift and unite all people with the first-ever Ailey Spirit Benefit global broadcast on Thursday, June 11 at 7:30pm ET featuring the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, rising stars of Ailey II, young dancers from The Ailey School and students from AileyCamp. The Ailey All Access special program will include guest appearances by Angela Bassett, Cynthia Erivo, Leslie Odom, Jr., Timothy Shriver, Lorraine Toussaint and remarks by Bryan Stevenson, who has been at the forefront of confronting injustice, poverty and discrimination. “Just Mercy,” his bestselling book that was recently adapted into a feature film, tells the powerful true story of his creation of the Equal Justice Initiative, which will receive a designated donation from the evening’s proceeds.
The free broadcast, viewable on Ailey’s YouTube, Vimeo and Facebook, is made possible through the generous support of WarnerMedia, a leading media and entertainment company that creates and distributes premium and popular content from a diverse array of talented storytellers and journalists to global audiences. Benefit Co-Chairs are Joy Allen-Altimare, Michele & Timothy Barakett, Pascal Desroches, Lucinda Martinez, Stephen Meringoff, Daria L. & Eric J. Wallach and Dennis Williams; and Vice Chairs are Jaishri & Vikas Kapoor and Leslie & Tom Maheras.
“In the spirit of our visionary founder, we welcome everyone to be lifted up by Ailey’s artistry as we honor the strength of the human spirit to overcome and offer reassurance to all those facing adversity,” stated Artistic Director Robert Battle. “Now more than ever, it is important to share our stories through dance, holding up a mirror to society while being reminded of our connection. We’re here to provide the space, the balm, the strength and the revelations we all need to move forward together.”
Unable to welcome audiences into the theater at this time, the organization is reaching out in new ways to share the Ailey spirit, showcasing the beauty and transcendent power of dance to not only entertain, but to unite, empower, honor, uplift and educate. Introduced by an interview with Alvin Ailey, the presentation will include vintage footage of Blues Suite, Alvin Ailey’s classic ballet that launched Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at its first performance in 1958, along with a premiere of a new work by Artistic Director Robert Battle entitled Variation. Ailey’s dancers will come together while apart for a memorable finale paying homage to Alvin Ailey’s American masterpiece, Revelations, inspired by their initial video at the start of the pandemic that reminded us of our connection despite distancing circumstances.
Now marking 60 years of inspiring and impacting audiences around the world, the soul-stirring Revelations is needed more than ever during these trying times. Springing from Ailey’s childhood memories of growing up in the south during the depression and attending services at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Texas, Revelations pays homage to the rich cultural heritage of the African-American on a journey from struggle to surrender to salvation that ultimately speaks to our common humanity and the power of faith and hope.
Afterwards, a celebration of unity will continue with an invitation for everyone to join in the dance with music by DJ D-Nice and Ms. Nix.
The Ailey Spirit Benefit raises funds to support important programs for young people, like scholarships to The Ailey School and Ailey’s Arts In Education & Community Programs, including AileyCamp – an innovative, full-scholarship summer day camp that uses dance as a means to help inner-city youth stretch their minds, bodies, and spirits. Proceeds will also move Ailey forward during this challenging time with the Still, We Dance campaign, which helps the organization offer a variety of free programming through Ailey All Access and prepare for the upcoming 2020-21 season paying tribute to six decades of Revelations.
To register for a reminder to enjoy the free Ailey Spirit Benefit global broadcast, please visit here. The broadcast will be livestreamed for one week starting Thursday, June 11 at 7:30pm ET on Ailey’s YouTube, Vimeo and Facebook pages. Ailey All Access, a free online initiative featuring a series of weekly performance broadcasts, original short films created by the Ailey dancers, Ailey Extension dance and fitness classes and more, has reached almost 18 million people in 64 countries since it kicked off on Monday March 30, the date of the first performance of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.