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12 Facts About Alvin Ailey
Alvin Ailey studied a wide range of dance styles and techniques — from ballet to Native American inspired movement studies — at Horton's school, which was one of the first racially integrated dance schools in the United States.
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Alvin Ailey continued these studies at San Francisco State in 1951.
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Alvin Ailey joined Horton's dance company in 1953, making his debut in Horton's Revue Le Bal Caribe.
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Alvin Ailey had its debut at the 92nd Street Y The performance included Ailey's first masterpiece, Blues Suite, which followed men and women as they caroused and cavorted over the course of an evening while blues music played in the background until church bells began to ring, signalling a return to mundane life.
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Alvin Ailey struggled with the state department tours, which insisted on marketing the company as an "ethnic" company rather than a modern dance company, and were closely supervised by the FBI - the latter referred to Alvin Ailey's homosexuality as "lewd and criminal tendencies" and threatened his company with bankruptcy if he showed any signs of effeminate or homosexual behavior while on tour.
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In 1970, with few bookings on the radar — and on the eve of a tour to Russia as part of a cultural exchange agreement — Alvin Ailey announced at a press conference that he was closing the company.
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Alvin Ailey's took over as artistic director following his death in 1989.
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Alvin Ailey loathed the label "Black choreographer" and preferred being known simply as a choreographer.
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Alvin Ailey was diagnosed as manic depressive, known today as bipolar disorder.
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