The fellowship to the professional division of The Ailey School was established after a major gift from Nicole Fosse, the daughter of the late Broadway talents, Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon. Alvin Ailey Artistic Director Judith Jamison said in a statement, "It is an honor to be able to pay tribute to Mr. Fosse and Ms. Verdon, two influential figures in the world of dance. This generous gift will celebrate their extraordinary legacies and their commitment to opening doors for performing artists of the future." Ailey School Director Denise Jefferson added, "The Fosse-Verdon Scholarship will have a lasting impact on generations of talented and hardworking students — giving our youth the opportunity to receive a world-class education in our new center for dance."
Several other scholarships have previously been created at The Ailey School to award tuition to gifted students who would otherwise be unable to pursue their professional dance goals. Author Susan Fales-Hill established a scholarship to honor her mother, Josephine Premice, and a scholarship was also created in honor of former Ailey dancer Alistair Butler. For more information about Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, visit www.alvinailey.org.
Gwen Verdon won Tony Awards for her performances in Can-Can, Damn Yankees, New Girl in Town and Redhead. She was also nominated for her work in Sweet Charity and Chicago. Verdon, who died in 2000, was the artistic advisor for Fosse, the Tony-winning Broadway musical that re-created scenes from many Bob Fosse productions. Fosse was the director and/or choreographer of Chicago, Sweet Charity, Big Deal, Dancin', Pippin, Little Me, Redhead, New Girl in Town, Bells Are Ringing and The Pajama Game. Fosse, who married Verdon in 1960, died in 1987.