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Dancer Alvin Ailey’ Biography Essay


Alvin Ailey was able to merge dancing techniques which previously seemed to be completely incompatible with one another, and it is one of the major achievements in the history of choreography because such artistic choices influenced many performers and choreographers. This is the thesis that should be discussed more closely.

This paper is aimed at examining the main milestones in the career of this person and the long-term impacts of his activities. In particular, much attention should be paid to his work in the Horton Dance Company and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. Moreover, it is important to consider his choreographic techniques. Furthermore, one should discuss his major character traits such as perseverance, willingness to take risks and readiness to provide creative freedom to other people.

While discussing the life of Alvin Ailey, one should first mention that he was able to make considerable achievements, even though he grew up in the environment in which many people could be deprived of the opportunity to fulfill their talents. He was born in 1931, at the time, when America was badly affected by the Great Depression. Moreover, the life of the country was profoundly influenced by the segregationist policies which prevented many African-American people from raising their social status.

To a great extent, Alvin Ailey had to struggle with these obstacles. He had to lead an itinerant life for several years, but he retained his dedication to theatrical career. Overall, such behavior indicates at his perseverance. Later, his talent attracted the attention of prominent choreographers such as Lester Horton. It is important to discuss their cooperation in greater detail.

Overall, it is possible to argue that the encounter with Lester Horton profoundly influenced the life and work of Alvin Ailey. In particular, he had an opportunity to master several aspects of theatrical performance; for instance, one can speak about dance, set design, costuming, and painting. This knowledge was critical for the development of his career. Additionally, he could freely experiment with various styles that could range from classical ballet to the dances of Native Americans.

Such practices profoundly affected his dancing performance and choreographic decisions. Lester Horton died in 1953, and Ailey succeeded him as the director of this theater at the age of 22. This decision suggests that he was able to take risks. Yet, this character trait can be better illustrated by looking at his choreographic style.

Overall, the main artistic innovations of Alvin Ailey are related to his eclecticism. This term can be described as the tendency to combine various styles and techniques. This argument is particularly relevant if one speaks about the performance known Revelations which was first staged in 1960. It incorporated the elements of classical ballet along with spirituals, blues, and gospel music.

At that time, it was a breakthrough decision because artistic directors believed that such elements could not be combined. However, later generations of choreographers began to emulate this eclectic approach. For a long time, he led his own theatre company. As the artistic director, he enabled other performers to develop their own dancing styles. Very often, this creative freedom was important for improving various performances.

During his lifetime, Alvin Ailey, directly and indirectly, influenced many performers and choreographers. By combining various artistic techniques, he demonstrated that various styles could be quite compatible with one another. Moreover, they can be applied to create more impressive and challenging performances. The discussion of these issues is important because creative decisions of Alvin Ailey shaped the work of many dancers and choreographers.

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IvyPanda. (2020, April 10). Dancer Alvin Ailey' Biography. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/dancer-alvin-ailey-biography/

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"Dancer Alvin Ailey' Biography." IvyPanda, 10 Apr. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/dancer-alvin-ailey-biography/.

1. IvyPanda. "Dancer Alvin Ailey' Biography." April 10, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/dancer-alvin-ailey-biography/.


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IvyPanda. "Dancer Alvin Ailey' Biography." April 10, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/dancer-alvin-ailey-biography/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Dancer Alvin Ailey' Biography." April 10, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/dancer-alvin-ailey-biography/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Dancer Alvin Ailey' Biography'. 10 April.

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