Newsletter

Stay up to date with the latest from MAKERS delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for new stories from trailblazing women, a big dose of inspiration, and exclusive MAKERS content.

Newsletter Confirmation

Thank you for joining! Please check your inbox for our special welcome letter
with exclusive updates from MAKERS.

MAKERS Moment

Heroes on the Small Screen

Heroes on the Small Screen

More From Judith

In this video

Tagged as

Artistic Director Emerita of Alvin Ailey, Judith Jamison explains the excitement and surprise at seeing people of color, especially women of color she idolized, on television.

Judith's Biography

Elementary School Instrument:"I played the violin in school."
Alone Time:Spending time on your own is "a key part of having imagination."
The Great Agnes de Mille:"Many people think that Alvin Ailey discovered me in New York. But actually, he didn't. The first person that brought me to New York was Agnes - the great Agnes de Mille."
Spontaneous or Methodical:"Spontaneous. And methodical."

Dancer and choreographer Judith Jamison joined Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1965 and over the next 15 years, originated some of Mr. Ailey's most enduring roles, most notably the sixteen minute solo that catapulted her into fame "Cry." Alvin Ailey dedicated the dance to "all-black women everywhere."
 
During the 1970s and 80s, Jamison appeared as a guest artist with ballet companies all over the world and starred in the hit Broadway musical Sophisticated Ladies. In 1989, she returned to Alvin Ailey when Ailey asked her to succeed him as Artistic Director. In the 21 years that followed, Jamison brought the Company to new heights – including two historic engagements in South Africa and a 50-city global tour to celebrate the Company’s 50th anniversary.
 
Jamison is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, among them a prime time Emmy Award, an American Choreography Award, the Kennedy Center Honor, a National Medal of Arts, and in 2013, she was the 50th inductee into the Hall of Fame at the National Museum of Dance. Her autobiography, "Dancing Spirit", was edited by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and published in 1993.

Related Videos

Pat Eng
Pat Eng
Founder, New York Asian Women's Center

Patrica Eng is a social worker and activist devoted to women’s issues. She is Vice President for Grants and Capacity Building at the Ms. Foundation. Earlier in her career, sh...

Sara Lamm
Sara Lamm
Documentary Filmmaker

Sara Lamm is a Los Angeles based filmmaker who has produced, directed and performed in a variety of multimedia performances, featuring audio collage, video and still photography. H...

Jill Chambers
Jill Chambers
Retired U.S. Army Colonel

Colonel (R) Jill W. Chambers is widely recognized as the first person in the history of the U.S. Military to develop a successful, sustainable strategy to reduce the crippling stig...

Majora Carter
Majora Carter
Community Developer

Majora Carter became passionate about community development while completing her MFA at New York University, advocating for the development of Hunts Point Riverside Park, the South...