(NEWARK, NJ) -- Dancers of all ages and levels of expertise are invited to join NJPAC and Ailey Arts In Education & Community Programs (AIE) for free classes, workshops and conversations at the 15th Annual Ailey Day celebration at the Arts Center on Saturday, April 29. The events begin at 9:00am.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, founded in 1958 by the famed dancer, choreographer and activist, has performed annually at NJPAC since the Arts Center’s opening in 1997.
For the past 15 years, in advance of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s engagement at the Arts Center, Ailey Day has welcomed hundreds of dance enthusiasts from across Greater Newark to a day of Ailey-inspired dance classes and more, including a workshop with two former Ailey dancers, Nasha Thomas and Amos Machanic, where attendees can learn the choreography of Alvin Ailey’s signature masterpiece, Revelations.
“This is always a joyful day, a chance for our community to come together to celebrate the history and the legacy of an iconic African American dancer,” says Eyesha Marable, NJPAC’s Vice President, Community Engagement.
Initially held in churches throughout the city, the Ailey Day program now fills the Arts Center’s downtown Newark campus with dance classes throughout the day, including specialized classes for children, and a limited-mobility dance workshop that utilizes chairs and props. Ailey’s Teaching Artists will lead classes in jazz and Horton dance styles. Other instructors will offer classes that explore West African dance styles.
In addition, visiting dance instructors will offer an insightful glimpse into their work through a panel conversation, and attendees will be invited to take part in arts and wellness activities including children’s book readings, health screenings, crafts and mosaic art making. The day concludes with a Show and Share event, where participants will have a chance to perform what they’ve learned in class.
“It's always a joy to share the legacy of Alvin Ailey and his signature ballet, Revelations, with the Newark community. I'm inspired by the connections made through the workshops on Ailey Day at NJPAC,” says Nasha Thomas, National AileyCamp Director and Master Teacher for Arts In Education.
While the day’s events are free, registration is required. Community members are invited to register at njpac.org/aileyday.
Attendees will have access to discounted tickets to Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s May 12 and 13 performances at NJPAC. This year’s Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performances will introduce Newark audiences to world premieres by Kyle Abraham and Jamar Roberts and put them back in touch with some of Alvin Ailey’s richest, deepest works, including the new production of Survivors, a profound tribute to Nelson and Winnie Mandela, two works set to the musical genius of Duke Ellington, and the always-inspiring, must-see masterpiece, Revelations, which is the finale of each program.
Ailey Day at NJPAC is presented in partnership with Ailey Arts In Education & Community Programs, the City of Newark, GlassRoots, the Newark Public Library, Newark Public Schools, Newark Symphony Hall, Nimbus Arts Center, Premiere Dance Theatre, Sharron Miller’s Academy for the Performing Arts, and Westfield Area YMCA.
Ailey Day at NJPAC is a part of the M&T Bank Dance Series at NJPAC, and is made possible by support from RJWBarnabas Health, ADP, Discover Jersey Arts and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located at One Center Street in downtown Newark, New Jersey, is among the largest performing arts centers in the United States. It is the artistic, cultural, educational and civic center of New Jersey — where great performances and events enhance and transform lives every day. As New Jersey’s Town Square, NJPAC brings diverse communities together, providing access to all and showcasing the State’s and the world’s best artists, while acting as a leading catalyst in the revitalization of its home city. Through its extensive Arts Education programs, NJPAC is shaping the next generation of artists and arts enthusiasts. NJPAC has attracted 11 million visitors (including almost two million children) since opening its doors in 1997, and nurtures meaningful and lasting relationships with each of its constituents.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater grew from a now‐fabled March 1958 performance in New York that changed forever the perception of American dance. Founded by Alvin Ailey, 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. Since 1992, Ailey Arts In Education & Community Programs has been committed to bringing dance into classrooms and communities across the country to positively impact people of all ages through the power of dance. In addition to AileyCamp, a full scholarship day camp for youth, in-person and remote programs include lecture-demonstrations; technique classes; innovative curriculum-based residencies inspired by Alvin Ailey’s Revelations and Night Creature; and AileyDance for Active Aging, a program that serves as an outlet for artistic expression and fosters a sense of joy. Promoting the uniqueness of the African‐American cultural experience and the preservation and enrichment of the American modern dance tradition, 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 to develop the next generation of performing arts; and Ailey Extension (2005), dance and fitness classes for the general public, which began with the opening of Ailey’s permanent home at 55th Street at 9th Avenue – The Joan Weill Center for Dance – the largest building dedicated to dance in New York City, the dance capital of the world.