Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Will Open New Building With Celebration in March 2005

Classic Arts News   Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Will Open New Building With Celebration in March 2005
The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's new Joan Weill Center for Dance, at the corner of 9th Avenue and 55th Street in Manhattan, will officially open in March 2005 with a series of performances and celebratory events.

The 77,000-square-foot new building, which provides AAADT, the Ailey II company, and the Ailey School with twice the space of its current home, contains eight floors, 12 dance studios, and the 265-seat Citigroup Theater, along with a green room, costume shop, dressing rooms, archive and library facilities, physical therapy facilities, and administrative offices. It is, according to a statement released by the organization, the largest facility devoted exclusively to dance in the United States.

The school is slated to move into the new space and begin classes later this month. The company will continue to perform its five-week season at City Center, with informal performances at the Citigroup black-box theater.

The building was designed by Iu + Bibliowicz Architects, a New York-based firm.

Funds to build the $54 million Weill Center came from a $79 million capital and endowment campaign‹itself an enormous step forward for AAADT, which was struggling ten years ago. Sharon Gersten Luckman, the organization's executive director, said in a statement, "The new building is significant beyond its stature: it stands as a testament to the strength and longevity of the Ailey institution that will only continue to grow and flourish in the years to come."

Alvin Ailey Dance Theater was founded in 1958 by the Texas-born Ailey, who had studied with Martha Graham and with Lester Horton, founder of the first racially integrated dance company in the country. Over the course of its long history, AAADT has been devoted to the advancement of modern dance and black cultural expression.

Ailey choreographed 79 ballets in his lifetime, many of which are performed by dance companies all over the world. Since his death in 1989, Judith Jameson has been the company's artistic director.

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