Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s 60th Anniversary Opening Night Gala Benefit Performance And Party

Honorary Chairs are Iconic Screen Stars Angela Bassett and Cicely Tyson

Evening Features a Piece d’Occasion by Robert Battle, Alvin Ailey’s Revelations Sung by Ledisi, Erica Campbell, Norm Lewis, and Brandie Sutton, and the Premiere of Becoming Ailey – a Multimedia Work that Returns Alvin Ailey’s Presence to the Stage

Celebration Honors Prudential Financial and Launches Ailey’s Five-Week New York City Center Season

As a centerpiece to its yearlong Ailey Ascending 60th Anniversary celebration and a kickoff to its five-week holiday season, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will host a star-studded gala benefit on Wednesday, November 28th at 7pm, complete with a performance for the ages at New York City Center and party at the New York Hilton Midtown Grand Ballroom. The Honorary Chairs for the evening are screen icons, Angela Bassett and Cicely Tyson.

Alvin-Ailey-American-Dance-Theater's-Samantha-Figgins-and-Jeroboam-Bozeman. CREDIT_ Photo by-Andrew-Eccles_logo_Email

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Samantha Figgins and Jeroboam Bozeman. Photo by Andrew Eccles

Bassett, a Golden Globe Award winner, stars in the hit television series 9-1-1, and was most recently featured in the 2018 blockbusters Black Panther and Mission: Impossible – Fallout. Tyson – known for a myriad of roles across television and film, including Roots, Fried Green Tomatoes, and most recently How to Get Away With Murder – has received three Emmy Awards, a Tony Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and on November 18th will make history as the first black woman to receive an Honorary Academy Award.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, recognized by U.S. Congressional resolution as a vital American “Cultural Ambassador to the World,” grew from a now-fabled March 1958 performance in New York that changed forever the perception of American dance. Founded by Alvin Ailey, recent posthumous recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the nation’s highest civilian honor, and guided by Judith Jamison beginning in 1989, the Company is now led by Robert Battle, whom Jamison chose to succeed her on July 1, 2011.

(The Ailey organization also includes Ailey II (1974), a second performing company of emerging young dancers and innovative choreographers; The Ailey School (1969), one of the most extensive dance training programs in the world; Ailey Arts in Education & Community Programs, which brings dance into the classrooms, communities and lives of people of all ages; and The Ailey Extension (2005), a program offering dance and fitness classes to the general public, which began with the opening of Ailey’s permanent home—the largest building dedicated to dance in New York City, the dance capital of the world —named The Joan Weill Center for Dance, at 55th Street at 9th Avenue in New York City. For more information, visit www.alvinailey.org.)

CREDIT_ Photo by Christopher Duggan. CAPTION_ AAADT with live onstage music in Alvin Ailey's Revelations

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater with live onstage music in Alvin Ailey’s Revelations. Photo by Christopher Duggan

The once-in-a-lifetime program features selections of classic Ailey works including a specially staged excerpt of Memoria, a work he choreographed as an elegy for a dear friend; a piece d’occasion by Battle, set to Nina Simone’s Black is the Color; and culminates with Alvin Ailey’s masterpiece, Revelations, performed with live musicians and special guest singers Ledisi (Grammy-nominated jazz and R&B artist), Erica Campbell (Grammy-winning singer from the gospel duo Mary Mary), Norm Lewis (Tony-nominated baritone known for Broadway’s Porgy and Bess and NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar live), and Brandie Sutton (critically-acclaimed Metropolitan Opera soprano). The program also features the premiere of Becoming Ailey, a multimedia piece celebrating the continual gift of Alvin Ailey’s presence in our hearts, minds, and stages. Created in collaboration with the award-winning artists Bob Bonniol and Caryl Glabb of MODE Studios, Inc., it will bring the voice and likeness of Alvin Ailey back to the stage at the start of each performance during the New York City Center season.

Cicely Tyson. CREDIT_ Photo courtesy of Ailey, DCP.

Cicely Tyson. Photo courtesy of Ailey, DCP.

On this historic night we will mark 60 groundbreaking years and carry Alvin Ailey’s pioneering legacy onward and upward with a performance featuring renowned guest performers, cutting-edge innovation, and the artistry and inspiration that has made Ailey one of the world’s most beloved dance companies,” said Artistic Director Robert Battle. “It is also fitting that we take this occasion to honor Prudential Financial, a company that has helped Ailey reach so many milestones and was instrumental in creating the New Jersey Performing Arts Center where Ailey is the Principal Resident Affiliate and has performed annually for two decades. We welcome everyone to join the celebration and share in the joy during this milestone season.”

Ailey’s 60th Anniversary Holiday Season of premieres by renowned choreographers Rennie Harris, Ronald K. Brown, and Wayne McGregor, and returning favorites also features special programs, including “Timeless Ailey,” “All New,” “Three Visionaries,” “All Ailey,” and “All Battle,” plus a sparkling Season Finale on Sunday, December 30th. Click here for more information.

This historic evening also honors Prudential Financial for its generous support and commitment to Ailey for over three decades, especially its educational and community programs.

As one of our longest-standing corporate benefactors, Prudential Financial has played a vital role in Ailey’s success for more than half of the Company’s lifetime,” said Executive Director Bennett Rink. “Prudential has been indispensable in funding our outreach programs in Newark, AileyDance Kids and AileyCamp – a free summer program in Newark and 10 cities nationwide that helps guide inner city youth to their full potential. We thank them for their strategic planning and leadership support, as well as their commitment to advancing young people through education, and we applaud them for the tremendous work they’ve done to elevate the city of Newark.”

Prudential Financial is honored to have worked alongside Alvin Ailey to help achieve his vision to bring dance to all people,” said Lata Reddy, senior vice president, Diversity, Inclusion, and Impact at Prudential Financial. “His belief that the arts give voice to our shared humanity is one that we share. It’s with great joy that we at Prudential congratulate the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater on their 60th Anniversary.

Christopher Taylor, an alumnus of the inaugural AileyCamp Newark (2011) and a current scholarship student at The Ailey School, will join Artistic Director Robert Battle in presenting Prudential Financial with the Ailey Legacy Honor.

Prominent figures in the worlds of entertainment, business, philanthropy, and politics will join Robert Battle and the Company for dinner and dancing to live music in the New York Hilton Midtown’s Grand Ballroom following the performance. The Gala benefits the creation of new works, scholarships to The Ailey School, and Ailey’s educational programs for young people. Emily & Len Blavatnik, Paulette & Howard Bradnock, Mellody Hobson & George Lucas, Debra L. Lee, Stephen Meringoff & Kim Charlton, Lata N. Reddy, Daria L. & Eric J. Wallach, and Joan & Sandy Weill serve as Co-Chairs for the Gala. (Call 212-405-9031 or visit alvinailey.org/support/60th-anniversary-gala for tickets.)

(Opening Night Gala Benefit Sponsors are Emily & Len Blavatnik, BNY Mellon, Debra L. Lee, The Meringoff Family Foundation, Prudential Financial, Daria L. & Eric J. Wallach, The Weill Family Foundation.)

Ailey is also proud to announce the Ailey Ascending Honorary Committee, a distinguished group of individuals across industries who will join the organization in celebrating 60 years of artistry and excellence: Gbenga Akinnagbe, Christiane Amanpour, Jon Batiste, Harry Belafonte, Colman Domingo, André Holland, LaTanya & Samuel L. Jackson, Jane Krakowski, Audra McDonald, Naturi Naughton, Yvonne Orji, Robin Roberts, Anika Noni Rose, Jussie Smollett, Lorraine Toussaint, and Fredricka Whitfield.

Tickets for season performances start at $29, and are now on sale at the New York City Center Box Office, through CityTix® at (212) 581-1212, or online at www.alvinailey.org or www.nycitycenter.org.

Lead support for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater‘s 60th Anniversary is provided by Emily and Len Blavatnik. Major support for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s 60th Anniversary is provided by the  Ford Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, and Pamela D. Zilly & John H. Schaefer. Delta Air Lines is the Official Airline of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s 60th Anniversary Season in New York. American Express is the Official Card of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater gratefully acknowledges the support of Diageo North America during the 60th Anniversary Season. The 60th Anniversary Season is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has performed for an estimated 25 million people in 71 countries on 6 continents – as well as millions more through television broadcasts, film screenings, and online platforms – promoting the uniqueness of the African‐American cultural experience and the preservation and enrichment of the American modern dance tradition. In addition to being the Principal Dance Company of New York City Center, where its performances have become a year‐end tradition, the Ailey company performs annually at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami‐Dade County in Miami, The Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley, CA and at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark where it is the Principal Resident Affiliate), and appears frequently in other major theaters throughout the United States and the world during extensive yearly tours.

Legendary Actress Cicely Tyson, Civil Rights Hero Myrlie Evers Among 2014 Women of Power Legacy Award Honorees

Black Enterprise to Present Highest Recognition of Women’s Achievement at the 2014 Women of Power Summit, hosted by State Farm Insurance, in Boca Raton, Fla.

BLACK ENTERPRISE (BE) magazine will present its highest recognition of women’s achievement when it presents the Legacy Awards at the 2014 Women of Power Summit on February 26, 2014 in Boca Raton, Fla. The Women of Power Summit is the nation’s No. 1 executive development and leadership conference for women of color, annually attracting more than 700 corporate executives, professionals and businesswomen from across the country. The Women of Power Summit, hosted by State Farm Insurance, will take place February 26-March 1, 2014 at the Boca Raton Resort and Club.

BLACK ENTERPRISE Logo.  (PRNewsFoto/BLACK ENTERPRISE)

BLACK ENTERPRISE Logo. (PRNewsFoto/BLACK ENTERPRISE)

The Women of Power Legacy Awards recognizes outstanding impact, achievement and leadership by women in business, the arts, education, government and other influential industries. Past Legacy Award recipients include luminaries such as the late National Council of Negro Women Chair and civil rights icon Dr. Dorothy Height; former Alvin Ailey Dance Theater Artistic Director Judith Jamison; Federal Express Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Cathy Ross and former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders. In 2012, a Legacy Award was named for the late Barbara Graves, wife of Black Enterprise Founder Earl Graves Sr. and a former educator, to be presented annually for outstanding achievement and service in education and other areas of service to young people.

Honorees to be recognized at the 2014 Women of Power Summit Legacy Awards Dinner, hosted by PepsiCo, include:

Cicely Tyson, legendary award-winning actress, one of the greatest of her generation. Among her many achievements, Tyson was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress, and the Golden Globe Award for her performance as Rebecca Morgan in Sounder (1972). She starred in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1974), for which she won two Emmy Awards. Throughout her career she has been nominated for nine Primetime Emmy Awards, winning three. She starred on Broadway in The Trip to Bountiful as Carrie Watts, for which she won the Tony Award, Outer Critics Award, and Drama Desk Award for Best Actress in a Play.

Valerie Daniels-Carter, Co-Founder, President & CEO, V&J Holding Companies. Along with her brother, John Carter, Daniels-Carter founded Milwaukee-based V&J Holdings as a holding company for ownership of franchised quick-service restaurants, beginning with a single Burger King franchise in 1982. Today, V&J holdings employees 4,000 people and owns 36 Burger Kings and nearly 70 Pizza Huts, along with several Haagen-Dazs, Coffee Beanery and Aunty Anne’s Pretzel stores (the last in partnership with NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal). V&J Holdings is one of the nation’s largest black-owned companies, ranked at No. 33 on the 2013 Black Enterprise Industrial/Service 100 list. Miss Daniels-Carter is recognized among the nation’s most inspirational entrepreneurs.

Myrlie Evers-Williams, journalist, civil rights activist, former Chairwoman of the NAACP. Evers is the extraordinary civil rights activist and journalist who worked for over three decades to seek justice for the murder of her civil rights activist husband Medgar Evers in 1963. She was also chairwoman of the NAACP, and published several books on topics related to civil rights and her husband’s legacy. On January 21, 2013, she delivered the invocation at the second inauguration of Barack Obama. As chair of the NAACP, Evers is credited with restoring both the image and the financial stability of the nation’s most accomplished civil rights organization, earning the NAACP’s highest honor, the Spingarn Medal, in 1998.

Julieanna Richardson, Founder and Executive Director, The HistoryMakers, America’s largest African American video oral history collection. Richardson, who holds a J.D. degree from Harvard and once practiced corporate law, followed a unique path in heading up the largest national collection effort of African American video oral histories on record. With a diverse background in theatre, television production, and the cable television industries, she combined her various work experiences and her passion for history to conceptualize, found and build The HistoryMakers. The HistoryMakers is a national, 501(c)(3) non-profit educational institution based in Chicago, committed to preserving, developing, and providing easy access to an internationally recognized archival collection of thousands of African American video oral histories.

Marian Wright Edelman (Barbara Graves honoree), Founder and President of the Children’s Defense Fund. Edelman, an American activist for the rights of children and against the Second Amendment, was the first African American woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar. She began practicing law with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.’s Mississippi office, working on racial justice issues connected with the civil rights movement and representing activists during the Mississippi Freedom Summer of 1964. In 1973, she founded the Children’s Defense Fund as a voice for poor, minority and disabled children. The organization has served as an advocacy and research center for children’s issues, documenting the problems and possible solutions to children in need. To keep the agency independent, she saw that it was financed entirely with private funds. As founder, leader and principal spokesperson for the CDF, Mrs. Edelman worked to persuade Congress to overhaul foster care, support adoption, improve child care and protect children who are disabled, homeless, abused or neglected.

Each year, the presentation of the Legacy Awards at our Women of Power Summit delivers power examples to live by and ever-higher levels of inspiration,” says BLACK ENTERPRISE CEO Earl “Butch” Graves Jr. This year’s awards evening will again represent a perfect start to a powerful weekend for the hundreds of women who will gather for a weekend of meaningful purpose and professional excellence.”

“We are thrilled that we will have this opportunity to pay well-deserved honor to women who are gifts to the world,” says Black Enterprise Business Report television show Host Caroline Clarke, who along with Black Enterprise Editorial Director Sonia Alleyne, serves as a co-editorial director of the Women of Power Summit. “Their examples are proper tribute to the Legacy Award honorees before them, and powerful motivation for those to come.” Continue reading