Last night, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s holiday season at New York City Center kicked off with an Opening Night Gala Benefit. The one-night-only benefit performance and party honored BNY Mellon for its major support of the Ailey Organization since 2007, and Agnes & Gerald Hassell accepted on the institution’s behalf.
Film starChadwick Boseman and actress and Grammy-Award winning artist Brandy served as Honorary Chairs, and the event’s co-chairs were Simin Allison, Kathryn & Kenneth Chenault, Debra L. Lee, Doris & Gilbert Meister, Daria L. & Eric J. Wallach and Joan & Sandy Weill.
$2.5 million was raised in support of the creation of new works, scholarships to The Ailey School, and Ailey’s extensive educational programs for young people.
The one-night-only program included a performance of David Parsons’ signature gravity-defying male solo Caught, and the world premiere of Ronald K. Brown’s Cuban-inspiredOpen Door set to music from Arturo O’Farrill & the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra’s most recent album, Cuba: The Conversation Continues. Alvin Ailey’s beloved Revelations rocked the crowd in a rousing finale to live music with singers that included the incomparable Ella Mitchell.
The celebration continued at the Hilton New York’s Grand Ballroom where approximately 900 guests from the worlds of business, politics, entertainment and philanthropy, including Savion Glover, Andre Holland, Glorya Kaufman, Ricki Lander, New York’s First Lady Chirlaine McCray, Janet Mock, Joe Morton, Arturo O’Farrill, Phylicia Rashad, and Kelly Rowland, Darren Walker, Elaine Wynn, and Malik Yoba, joined in dinner and dancing with Robert Battle, Judith Jamison and the stars of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Throughout December, Ailey’s extraordinary dancers will unveil a variety of premieres, new productions, and special programs. After the New York City Center engagement concludes on January 3rd, Ailey will perform in 20 cities across North America beginning in February. For more information, visit www.alvinailey.org.
Photo credit: 1) Jessica Lang and AAADT’s Kanji Segawa with Artistic Director Robert Battle. 2) First Lady of NYC Chirlaine McCray and guests. Photo by Dario Calmese Jr. 3) Darren Walker and Bennett Rink. 4) AAADT’s Akua Noni Parker. 5) Artistic Director Robert Battle and Joe Morton. 6) Artistic Director Robert Battle and Elaine Wynn. 7) Robert Battle with Honorary Chair Brandy Norwood. 8) Honorary Chair Chadwick Boseman and Phylicia Rashad. 8) Carmen de Lavallade and Charles Mirotznik. 9) Lisa Johnson-Willingham and Keith Alexander.