Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey Celebrate 20th Anniversary

Classic Arts News   Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey Celebrate 20th Anniversary
The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, along with the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey, present a series of programs at the Music Hall November 18-21, the Kansas City Star reports.

The performance will mark the Friends' 20th anniversary.

The Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey brings the company, or its junior group, to perform in Kansas City every year, but also works throughout the year in such programs as AileyCamp (six-week courses for middle-school students in modern dance, jazz, tap, and ballet); a program exploring the contributions of African-Americans to dance during Black History Month; and residencies in dozens of area schools, during which students learn the elements of dance.

Kansas City is the official second home for AAADT, chosen by Ailey himself, according to Tyron Aiken, the director of artistic and education programs for the Friends, "because of jazz, and because he liked the people here."

Joette Pelster, Coterie Theater executive director and former executive director for the Friends, told the Star that Ailey "saw Kansas City as a great environment for his ideas of bringing dance back to the people."

The association was formed in the early 1980s, when public funding for dance was on the decline, and the NEA recommended that dance companies find a second audience and fundraising base to fill in the gaps. Ailey proved a great success in Kansas City, with sold-out performances the first year.

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