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January 05

Alvin Ailey

Alvin Ailey's choreographic masterpiece, Revelations, is based on his early years worshipping at his Baptist church.

Photo by Keystone/Getty Images

1931: A Dance Revelation
Alvin Ailey is born in Rogers, Texas
Alvin Ailey hadn't become serious about dance until he studied under the guidance of renowned choreographer Lester Horton.

By 1954, after years of professional dancing, Ailey's interests turned to choreography. Strongly influenced by "blood memories," or recollections of his childhood in a time of strong racial tensions and conflict, Ailey created 79 ballets in his lifetime that celebrate the southern African American experience in America.

In 1958 he formed his own company, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the first racially integrated dance company in the United States. Alvin Ailey was a 1988 Kennedy Center Honoree.
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