Alvin Ailey History Leading Up to 'Cry'

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  • Topic: Modern dance, Alvin Ailey, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
  • Pages : 3 (1252 words )
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  • Published : November 29, 2012
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Alvin Ailey – ‘Cry’

Give a chronological account of Ailey’s background, training and influences up to the time he made ‘Cry’. Discuss how this may have informed the narrative of the dance in the work ‘Cry’

Alvin Ailey used his culture and countless childhood memories to base his choreography. His background, training and influences have informed and influenced the narrative of his work ‘Cry. The concept of cry was devised by Alvin Ailey. ‘Cry’ took its inspiration and stimulus from the suffering and hardship faced by African American Women. It portrays a woman dealing with slavery, adversity and segregation, who overcomes extraordinary situations and misfortunes, and rises up to triumph. Alvin Ailey Jr. was born on the 5th of January, 1931 to Lula Elizabeth Ailey, in Rogers, Texas. His experiences of life being brought up in the rural South would later inspire some of his most notable works. Ailey was an only child, and his father left the family when Ailey was the mere age of 1. Ailey soon later moved to Navasota, Texas with his mother. “There was the white school up on the hill, and the Black Baptist Church” said Ailey in a Times interview. Ailey grew up in this world feeling like an outsider. In 1942 he moved to Los Angeles, where he was introduced to dance by performances by the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and the Katherine Dunham Dance Company. It was at this time that Ailey became interested in athletics and along with this joined his high schools gymnastic and football teams. He also began taking tap lessons as he had a strong admiration for Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire. Ailey’s passion for dance further grew when he visited a modern dance school which was run by Lester Horton at the time. This dance school was the first company to accept dancers of all races. He attended Lester Horton’s dance school for one year before leaving. As Ailey had just recently graduated from high school in 1948 he went onto to attend the University of California where he...
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