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Alvin Ailey’s Judith Jamison Celebrated by the National Arts Club – Times Square Chronicles

Photo by Andrew Eccles

The National Arts Club (NAC) announces dancer and choreographer Judith Jamison as the recipient of the 2022 Medal of Honor for Outstanding Achievement in Dance. Jamison is currently Artistic Director Emeritus at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

“Judith Jamison has inspired generations of dancers throughout her career, first as a dancer herself and then in her ongoing role as choreographer and artistic director,” said NAC President Alice Palmisano. “It is our honor to celebrate someone so renowned in the world of dance.”

“I am so grateful to be honored by the National Arts Club, a wonderful organization that shares the power of the arts with so many people,” Jamison said. “It has been a privilege to advance Mr. Ailey’s inspirational artistic legacy which utilizes dance and African American cultural expression and experience in a universal celebration of the human spirit. Now under the direction of Robert Battle, the Company continues to entertain, enlighten and unite audiences around the world through the vision, genius and generosity of one man, Alvin Ailey.

The club will present the Medal of Honor to Jamison during a dinner and reception at the historic NAC Pavilion in Gramercy Park on Wednesday, May 18, 2022. The evening includes remarks from Robert Battle, Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey; Masazumi Chaya, former associate director of Alvin Ailey; Camille A. Brown, choreographer, dancer and dance teacher; and Anna Deavere Smith, actress and playwright who had the great pleasure of writing the libretto for Jamison’s ballet, Anthemand recipient of the NAC’s Kesselring Prize for Playwriting.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is recognized by a US Congressional resolution as a “vital American cultural ambassador to the world” and celebrates the African-American experience and American modern dance tradition.

Jamison joined Alvin Ailey in 1965. Over the next 15 years, Mr. Ailey created some of his most enduring roles for her, including the solo tour de force. Weep. During the 1970s and 1980s she appeared as a guest performer in ballet companies around the world, performed in the hit Broadway musical. sophisticated ladies, and created his own company, The Jamison Project. She returned to Alvin Ailey in 1989 when Mr. Ailey appointed her to succeed him as artistic director.

Over the next 21 years, she took the company to unprecedented heights, including two historic engagements in South Africa and a 50-city world tour to celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary. Jamison has received numerous awards and accolades, including a Primetime Emmy Award, American Choreography Award, Kennedy Center Honor, National Medal of Arts, “Bessie” Award, Phoenix Award, and Handel Medallion. She was also listed on “TIME 100: The World’s Most Influential People” and honored by First Lady Michelle Obama at the first White House Dance Series event. In 2015, she became the 50th inductee into the National Museum of Dance Hall of Fame.

As a highly regarded choreographer, Jamison has created many famous works including Divination(1984), Forgotten time (1989), Anthem (1993), HERE . . .NOW. (commissioned for the 2002 Cultural Olympiad), Love stories (with additional choreography by Robert Battle and Rennie Harris, 2004), and Among us (Private Spaces: Public Places) (2009). His autobiography, dancing spirit, was edited by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and published in 1993. In 2004, under the artistic direction of Jamison, Alvin Ailey’s idea of ​​a permanent home for the Ailey company was realized and named after the well- beloved President Emeritus Joan Weill. She continues to be dedicated to affirming the importance of the arts in our culture, and she remains committed to promoting the importance of the Ailey legacy – using dance as a way to honor the past, celebrate the present and reach the future without fear.