Judith Jamison, a dancer, choreographer and artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will present the Voices of Color lecture on Friday, April 18, at 5 p.m., at the Hamilton College Chapel. She will lecture on her life experiences in dance. The Voices of Color Lecture Series honors C. Christine Johnson, former director of the Hamilton College HEOP Program. The lecture is free and open to the public. Donations will be accepted in the Chapel foyer to support the Leatherstocking Ballet Company in Utica, NY.
A native of Philadelphia, Jamison studied with Marion Cuyjet, was discovered by Agnes de Mille and made her New York debut with American Ballet Theatre in 1964. She became a member of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1965 and danced with the company for 15 years to great acclaim. Ailey created some of his most enduring roles for her, most notably the solo, Cry. After leaving the company in 1980, Jamison appeared as a guest artist with ballet companies all over the world and starred in the hit Broadway musical Sophisticated Ladies. In 1988, she formed her own company, The Jamison Project. Judith Jamison was appointed artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1989 by Alvin Ailey.
Her honors include the Kennedy Center Honor, recognizing her lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts. In 2001, she was presented with a National Medal of Arts and in 2009, Jamison was honored at “The BET Honors,” and she was listed in the TIME 100: The World’s Most Influential People. She was also honored by First Lady Michelle Obama at the first White House Dance Series: A Tribute to Judith Jamison, and was named the 2010 recipient of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s prestigious Phoenix Award.
Today Jamison presides over the artistically and fiscally vibrant Ailey organization. In 2008 she led the company on a 50-city global tour celebrating Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s 50th anniversary.
As artistic director of The Ailey School, official school of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Jamison has helped to implement a multicultural curriculum including the dances of West Africa and South India. She is an advocate for education in the arts and was a guiding force in establishing the B.F.A. program between The Ailey School and Fordham University, which offers a unique combination of world-class dance training and a superior liberal arts education.