Judith jamison


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Judith jamison

  1. 1. Judith Jamison
  2. 2. Judith Jamison was born on May 10, 1943 and grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with her mother, father, and older brother. Her father taught her to play the piano, and violin. She was exposed to the prominent art culture in Philadelphia from a very early age. At the age of six, she began her dance training at Judimar School of Dance where she studied classical ballet, and modern dance. The Judimar studios were treated as a "holy place" and there was always a sense of performance and theatricality in Marion Cuyjet's classes. By age eight, Jamison began dancing on pointe and started taking classes in tap dancing, acrobatics, and Dunham technique (which was referred to as "primitive").
  3. 3. In 1964, after seeing Jamison in a master class, Agnes DeMille invited her to come to New York to perform in a new work that she was choreographing for American Ballet Theatre, The Four Marys. Jamison immediately accepted the offer and spent the next few months working with the company. When the performances ended and she found herself in New York without a job, Jamison attended an audition held by Donald McKayle. She felt that she performed very poorly in the audition and claimed, "I felt as if I had two left feet.” However, a few days later, a friend of McKayle's, Alvin Ailey, called Jamison to offer her a place in his company – Alvin Ailey Dance Theater.
  4. 4. On May 4, 1971, Jamison premiered her famous solo, Cry. Alvin Ailey choreographed this sixteen minute dance as a birthday present for his mother, Lula Cooper, and later dedicated it to "all-black women everywhere, especially our mothers." The solo is intensely physical and emotionally draining to perform. It celebrates the journey of a woman coming out of a troubled and painful world and finding the strength to overcome and conquer. She never ran the full piece from start to finish until the premiere, the piece received standing ovations and overwhelming critical acclaim, rewarding Jamison with great fame and recognition throughout the dance world. Today, Cry remains a crowd favourite and is still featured in the company's repertoire
  5. 5. Jamison stayed with Alvin Ailey until 1980 and during that time gave several notable performances, including 1967’s The Prodigal Prince and 1969’s Masekela Language. Audiences also remember 1976’s Pas de Duke, a duet with Mikhail Baryshnikov set to the music of Duke Ellington.
  6. 6. After leaving the company, she appeared as a guest artist with ballet companies all over the world, starred in the hit Broadway musical Sophisticated Ladies.
  7. 7. In addition performing, Jamison wanted the opportunity to explore working with her own group of dancers. She began teaching master classes at Jacob's Pillow in 1981 and soon began choreographing her own works. She later formed The Jamison Project with a group of dancers with a strong desire to work and learn. The Project premiered on November 15, 1988 at the Joyce Theater in New York City, performing works such as Divining, Time Out, and Tease. Jamison later invited guest choreographers, including Garth Fagan, to set work for the company.
  8. 8. She returned to Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1989 when Ailey asked her to succeed him as Artistic Director.
  9. 9. In the 21 years that followed, she brought the Company to unprecedented heights – including two historic engagements in South Africa and a 50city global tour to celebrate the Company’s 50th anniversary.
  10. 10. Alvin Ailey Dance Theater continued to thrive as Jamison continued to rehearse and restage classics from the company's repertory, as well as commission distinguished choreographers to create new works for the dancers. Jamison also continued to choreograph, and created dances such as Forgotten Time, Hymn, Love Stories, and Among Us for the company. In July 2011, Jamison transitioned into the role of Artistic Director Emerita and appointed Robert Battle to the position of Artistic Director Designate.
  11. 11. Jamison has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Kennedy Center Honors in 1999 and the National Medal of Arts in 2001. Her autobiography, Dancing Spirit, was published in 1993.
  12. 12. Interview with Jamison http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6O NZUqZzRm8