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Ailey Celebrates 'Jazz Appreciation Month' with special performances beginning 4/28

Paul Kolnik
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Jamar Roberts' Members Don't Get Weary

The Ailey organization continues to honor its founder who taught the important lesson of “holding a mirror to society so that people can see how beautiful they are,” by offering Ailey All Access, a free online initiative that illuminates the human spirit and sparks change. Since March 30, the streaming series has reached millions across the globe with free performance broadcasts of full length works from the repertory, Ailey Extension dance and fitness classes, and more.

Performance Broadcasts

In the seventh decade since the Company’s founding, the extraordinary dancers are continuing Alvin Ailey’s legacy by moving viewers around the world with their brilliant artistry. In celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month, Ailey All Access will premiere broadcast of Jamar Roberts’ Members Don’t Get Weary on Wednesday, April 28 at 7pm EDT, "a response to the current social landscape in America... an abstract look into the notion of one 'having the blues.” Roberts’ deep appreciation for jazz comes through in his use of saxophonist and composer John Coltrane’s music, 50 years after the legend’s death. The work uses the dancing body paired with this distinctive music and lighting to inspire the audience, allowing them to momentarily transcend their own personal blues.

A celebration of the 50th anniversary of Cry kicks off on Mother’s Day Sunday, May 9 at 3pm EDT with a special film adaptation of the beloved work Alvin Ailey created as a birthday gift for his mother. Dedicated to “all Black women everywhere – especially our mothers,” the 16-minute tour-de-force solo choreographed on his stunning muse, Judith Jamison, was an instant sensation and went on to become an enduring work of American art.

For a limited time, audiences can continue enjoying the stream of Alvin Ailey’s most popular work, Night Creature, a dance that captivates with Ailey’s sensual nighttime rituals, propelling the movement into a fast-paced climatic catharsis using slow jazz walks, boogie woogie, and ballet arabesques to create prowling patterns and communal configurations. Additional online special programs in June will be announced later. For further updates on the spring series and schedule, visit Ailey All Access and www.alvinailey.org.

Ailey Extension Dance and Fitness Classes – Physical Fitness Month

Ailey Extension is thrilled to welcome people all around the world to have fit and fabulous fun during National Physical Fitness Month by moving and grooving with popular instructors throughout the month of May. On Saturday, May 1 at 3:30pm EDT, set the tone on National Fitness Day in a fun and accessible Zumba® class led by Karen Arceneaux. The high energy music motivates all levels to dance away their worries in routines featuring aerobic/fitness interval training with a combination of fast and slow rhythms that tone and sculpt the body. The following week on Thursday, May 6 at 6:30pm EDT, students are invited to join Jonathan Lee for a beginner level Hip-Hop Workshop and learn the foundation of the technique. Mothers, grandmothers and mother figures are encouraged to celebrate Mother's Day weekend with a special BellydanceBURN Workshop 
with Janelle Issis on Saturday, May 8 at 3pm EDT. This experience is a fantastic way for dance and fitness enthusiasts to create new memories as they bond with their maternal figures. 

With more than 40 weekly classes during Physical Fitness Month this May, Ailey Extension’s online offerings allow students all over the world to explore different dance styles seven days a week. For more details about Ailey Extension’s variety of class options – which include hip-hop, ballet, Horton, West African, Zumba®, samba, contemporary, Pilates, Broadway Jazz and more – students can visit alvinailey.org/extension.

Still, We Dance Campaign

As we move forward together, the Ailey organization will continue to find ways to build community, uplift with Ailey’s artistry, and celebrate the indomitable human spirit through dance. During these unprecedented times, the Ailey organization is grateful for contributions to the Still, We Dance campaign that is making it possible to move forward and share Ailey All Access. To enjoy a variety of digital content, follow Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Ailey Extension on Facebook and Instagram, The Ailey School on Instagram, and visit www.alvinailey.org regularly for updates.

Ray Cornelius is one of Atlanta’s newest entertainment writers and media personalities. His arts and entertainment website, www.raycornelius.com spotlights the latest in “positive” African-American celebrity news and was established in 2012. Since that time Cornelius has covered a myriad of red carpet premieres, award shows and Atlanta-based films including Tyler Perry’s Temptation, The BronzeLens Film Festival, The Trumpet Awards, and The Steve Harvey’s Neighborhood Awards just to name a few. He has also interviewed a who’s who list of today’s top singers, actors and reality stars. With nearly 20 years of media experience, Cornelius has also worked as an associate producer for the Emmy-winning public affairs program, ATL Insider and with such award shows as The Soul Train Awards, The Trumpet Awards and BET Hip-Hop Awards.