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Alvin Ailey

  • American dancer
  • Born January 5, 1931
  • Died December 1, 1989

Alvin Ailey (January 5, 1931 – December 1, 1989) was an African-American choreographer and activist who founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Ailey School in New York City. He is credited with popularizing modern dance and revolutionizing African-American participation in 20th-century concert dance. His company gained the nickname "Cultural Ambassador to the World" because of its extensive international touring. Ailey's choreographic masterpiece Revelations is believed to be the best known and most often seen modern dance performance.


Money is a never-ending problem.




Sometimes you feel bad about yourself when there's no reason to.




My lasting impression of Truman Capote is that he was a terribly gentle, terribly sensitive, and terribly sad man.




I'm attracted to long-legged girls with long arms and a little head.




It will take very sophisticated marketing to achieve our aim of bringing more black people into the theater.




I always want more.




One of the worst things about racism is what it does to young people.




One of the processes of your life is to constantly break down that inferiority, to constantly reaffirm that I Am Somebody.




Choreography is mentally draining, but there's a pleasure in getting into the studio with the dancers and the music.




I always want to have more dancers in my company.




We still spend more time chasing funds than we do in the studio in creative work.




Lena Horne is the sweetest and most adorable woman in the world.




Racism tears down your insides so that no matter what you achieve, you're not quite up to snuff.




If you live in the elite world of dance, you find yourself in a world rife with racism. Let's face it.




The creative process is not controlled by a switch you can simply turn on or off; it's with you all the time.




Nothing personal; I just don't have people over.




No matter what you write or choreograph, you feel it's not enough.




Dance is for everybody. I believe that the dance came from the people and that it should always be delivered back to the people.




In this business, life is one long fund-raising effort.




My feelings about myself have been terrible.




I am trying 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.



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