Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Set to Perform at the Wharton Center

EAST LANSING, MI- -The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is a world renowned dance organization which has grown in leaps and bounds from the now fabled first performance at the 92nd Street Young Men’s Hebrew Association in New York in March 1958.  Led by Alvin Ailey and a group of young African-American modern dancers, that performance forever changed the perception of American dance. Today, led by Artistic Director Judith Jamison, AAADT has gone on to perform for over 21 million people on six continents, including two historic residencies in South Africa with the most recent covered by Time Magazine and The New York Times.  The company has earned a reputation as one of the most acclaimed ambassadors of American culture, promoting the uniqueness of African-American cultural experiences and the preservation and enrichment of the American modern dance.

The accomplishments of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater over the past 50 years are nothing short of monumental and quite often connected to Presidents of the United States.  In 1962 the group was chosen to tour the Far East, Southeast Asia and Australia as part of President John F. Kennedy’s "President’s Special International Program for Cultural Presentations."  Other connections to a President include performing at the inaugural galas for Jimmy Carter (1977) and Bill Clinton (1993), and most recently in 2003 for the White House State Dinner honoring the President of Kenya, Mwai Kibaki.  AAADT’s other achievements include choreographing Pas de Duke for Judith Jamison and Mikhail Baryshnikov, (Sex and the City and dancer extraordinaire) in 1976, and receiving The Kennedy Center Honor for lifetime contribution to American culture through the performing arts -the nation’s highest official distinction for creative artists.  Their most recent large scale performances came in 2002 when AAADT performed Revelations at the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree-lighting ceremony, broadcasted on NBC television, and in 2006 at the 97th NAACP Convention in Washington D.C.

It is both an honor and a privilege to host this high energy recital by such a notoriously high caliber group. Come and see the dancers talented enough to entertain the Presidents of our nation for decades.  

There will be a PreView lecture in the Stoddard Grand Tier Lounge 45 minutes before the show begins.  PreView lectures are free, half-hour discussions presented by industry experts that provide unique insight into the performance.