World-class dance company inspires next generation of UK dance artists


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In late summer 2016, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater worked, for the first time, with gifted and talented young dancers from Centres for Advanced Training across the UK, in a new partnership between Dance Consortium and DanceEast.

Hosted at DanceEast’s home, the Jerwood DanceHouse, on Ipswich waterfront, the four-day intensive, from 30 August – 2 September 2016 offered 45 young dance students a unique opportunity to come together for the first time, exchange ideas and ways of working and learn with an intensive programme led by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

The participating students took daily classes focusing on the Horton Technique, learned Ailey repertoire and choreography, discussed the history of Alvin Ailey and shared their work on the final day to an invited audience.

The intensive was led by the company’s Rehearsal Director and Guest Artist Matthew Rushing who said, “It gives me great pleasure to have the opportunity to share what I’ve learned with some of the best dance students in the UK. What a privilege it is to be part of passing on a legacy of inspiration to the next generation of performing artists.”

Ros Robins, Dance Consortium’s Executive Director, said: “During a seven week period in autumn 2016, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater visited ten Dance Consortium theatres, with 34 performances to over 40,000 theatregoers. In addition, 5879 people enjoyed 37 educational sessions led by Ailey dancers and rehearsal director Matthew Rushing inspired 45 of the UK’s most talented young dancers in a week-long Intensive in collaboration with DanceEast. We are currently talking to visiting companies about how we continue to build on these unique opportunities across the UK.”

The Ailey Intensive was a partnership project initiated by Dance Consortium and co-ordinated by DanceEast in 2016 to bring Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre to Centre for Advance Training students within an educative context, whilst the company were on national tour at venues throughout the UK.

The Ailey Intensive was a four day intensive crafted to share the founding beliefs and vision of the company, providing in depth history about the Ailey Organisation and its founder Alvin Ailey, giving students an opportunty to learn classic Ailey repertoire as well as provide a platform for the participants to express themselves choreographically.