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Zita Allen

Stories by Zita

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Ailey celebrates 60th anniversary by nurturing new talent

Sixty years in the life of any company is an accomplishment, but in the life of a Black dance company, it is a triumph against tremendous odds.

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Ailey celebrates 60th anniversary by nurturing new talent

Sixty years in the life of any company is an accomplishment, but in the life of a Black dance company, it is a triumph against tremendous odds, especially when that company first came into existence during the racial unrest characterized by this country’s tumultuous civil rights era.

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Arthur Mitchell: The man and his legacy

Arthur Mitchell, the internationally recognized dancer, artistic director, choreographer, educator and visionary, died Wednesday, Sept. 19, after a long illness. He was 84 years old.

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Arthur Mitchell: The man and his legacy

Arthur Mitchell, the internationally recognized dancer, artistic director, choreographer, educator and visionary, who made history in 1956 as the first Black member of the New York City Ballet and in 1969 as founder of the groundbreaking Dance Theatre of Harlem, died Wednesday, Sept. 19, after a long illness

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Arthur Mitchell, legendary ballet trailblazer, dies at 84

Arthur Mitchell, the legendary force of nature who changed the face of American dance, died Wednesday, Sept. 19, in Manhattan. He was 84.

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Alicia Graf, former DTH and Ailey lead dancer, makes history at Juilliard

This semester, when dance students flock through the glass doors of the Juilliard School, they will be greeted by a history-making director of the school’s Dance Division.

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Dance Theatre of Harlem dancers reflect as company turns 50

Dance Theatre of Harlem, the ballet company founded by Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook in 1969 and led today by former DTH ballerina Virginia Johnson, kicks off a months long 50th anniversary celebration at Lincoln Center Saturday, Aug. 4.

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The Alvin Ailey School strikes a ‘Pose’

“Pose,” the new FX television show, is primarily about the often overlooked transgender members of the LGBTQ community and the 1980s ballroom scene associated with the dance craze known as voguing.

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Camille A. Brown makes historic moves with ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’

When some 6 million viewers tuned in to watch John Legend as Jesus Christ, Brandon Victor Dixon as Judas, Sara Bareilles as Mary Magdalene and Alice Cooper as King Herod in NBC’s production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice rock musical “Jesus Christ, Superstar” a few weeks ago, they also had an opportunity to see the magnificent work of the talented young African-American choreographer/dancer, Camille A. Brown.

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Misty Copeland lights up Met stage during ABT’s season

Misty Copeland, the American Ballet Theatre’s first African-American principal ballerina in its 75-year history, is featured in practically every ballet performed during the company’s current season (now through July 7).

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Misty Copeland lights up Met stage during ABT’s season

Misty Copeland, the American Ballet Theatre’s first African-American principal ballerina in its 75-year history, is featured in practically every ballet performed during the company’s current season (now through July 7).

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Ailey kicks off summer season celebrating women

The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre’s traditional summer season sweeps into Lincoln Center June 13 to June 17 with three diverse programs—Celebrate Women, Ailey, Then & Now and Musical Icons—the Ailey Spirit Gala benefit, three new Ailey dancers and a series of activities that all are invited to participate in as the company enters its sixth decade.

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Philadanco Takes a stand at Joyce Theater

The Philadelphia Dance Company, better known as Philadanco, returns to New York City June 12-17 for its first full performance season at the Joyce Theater since 2012. Founder and Artistic Director Joan Myers Brown couldn’t be happier.

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DanceAfrica celebrates South Africa at BAM

The nation’s largest African dance festival and the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s longest running program returns for its 41st year with a vibrant and exhilarating program that celebrates a rich African cultural tradition

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DanceAfrica celebrates South Africa at BAM

May 25 to May 28, the nation’s largest African dance festival and the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s longest running program returns for its 41st year with a vibrant and exhilarating program that celebrates a rich African cultural tradition, DanceAfrica Artistic Director Abdel R. Salaam is calling Remembrance, Reconciliation and Renewal.

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Steppin’ out with Step Afrika!

This Saturday, Step Afrika! returns to New York, bringing its electrifying performance of steppin’.

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Donald McKayle, American dance icon, passes

On April 6, one of America’s most distinguished choreographers, dancers, directors and teachers, Donald Cohen McKayle, born July 6, 1930, to Eva and Philip McKayle, died in Irvine, Calif., at the age of 87.

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Dance Theatre of Harlem spring season sizzles

African drummers fill the air with compelling Caribbean rhythms. Dancers, male and female, appear dressed in floor-length skirts festooned with red balls accenting every movement of their swiveling hips.

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Ailey II Kicks off 2018 season

Ailey II, the dynamic company of 12 young, talented dancers performing works by emerging innovative choreographers, returns to New York for its annual season at the Ailey Citigroup Theater, March 14 to March 25.

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Mentoring master class with Misty Copeland and Carmen de Lavallade

The phrase “each one, teach one” will take on a new meaning Nov. 6 when Harlem Stage hosts a unique conversation between two remarkable African-American dance pioneers—American Ballet Theatre principal Misty Copeland and dance legend Carmen de Lavallade—before an audience of aspiring young dancers.

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Mentoring master class with Misty Copeland and Carmen de Lavallade

The phrase “each one, teach one” will take on a new meaning Nov. 6 when Harlem Stage hosts a unique conversation between two remarkable African-American dance pioneers—American Ballet Theatre principal Misty Copeland and dance legend Carmen de Lavallade—before an audience of aspiring young dancers from two major Harlem arts organizations, the Dance Theatre of Harlem and the Harlem School of the Arts.

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Bessies awarded to two African-American dance artists

It’s an honor to have one’s work recognized by one’s peers. Of course, we heard that a lot during the recent Emmy Awards, but, trite or not, it’s gratifying to see African-American artists recognized by their colleagues.

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New York City Ballet’s Taylor Stanley leaps into history

When Taylor Stanley was promoted to principal at the New York City Ballet by Artistic Director Peter Martins, he was thrust into a spotlight shared with only a handful of others, most notably the ebullient, late Albert Evans and the venerable Arthur Mitchell, whose promotion by NYCB founder and Artistic Director George Balanchine made him the first African-American principal dancer with any of this country’s major ballet companies.

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Culture icon Carmen de Lavallade bows out of White House reception

Carmen de Lavallade, the 86-year-old dancer, choreographer and actress being honored by the Kennedy Center in December, recently announced that she will not attend the White House reception.

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Ailey Extension Dance Classes: Release your inner dancer

Have you ever sat in the audience at an Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performance during the magnificent dance company’s summer and winter seasons and thought wistfully, “I would love to try to do at least some of that!” Well, nothing’s impossible.

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Ailey Extension Dance Classes: Release your inner dancer

Have you ever sat in the audience at an Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performance during the magnificent dance company’s summer and winter seasons and thought wistfully, “I would love to try to do at least some of that!”

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Gilda Squire: The woman behind Misty Copeland

When Misty Copeland steps onstage in this, her second, year as the first African-American principal in the 75-year history of American Ballet Theatre, she will make history once again with debuts as the first Black ballerina to dance the lead in several iconic classical ballets on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House.

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Alvin Ailey Lincoln Center summer season lights up the night with fireworks

Robert Battle, artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, says there are a number of reasons folks should be excited about the company’s upcoming Lincoln Center summer season (June 14-18).

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DanceAfrica to celebrate 40th anniversary, Chuck Davis’ life and legacy

The deep, resonant sound of African drums and the rhythmic pounding of some 50 dancers’ feet make the floor and walls of the Brooklyn Academy of Music fourth floor rehearsal studio reverberate.

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Cutting-edge dance comes to HarlemStage

Fasten your seat belts.

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Misty Copeland talks new book, ‘Ballerina Body’

American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Misty Copeland’s latest book “Ballerina Body” has hit bookstores, and her excitement was palpable as I interviewed her in the “green room” at the Union Square Barnes & Nobles...

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Dance Theatre of Harlem celebrates 48th anniversary

On a recent Sunday, in one of Dance Theatre of Harlem’s spacious, sun-drenched studios in its 152nd Street headquarters, Artistic Director Virginia Johnson beamed as she welcomed a standing-room-only audience to a special Sunday matinee, the celebration of DTH’s 48th anniversary.

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DTH’s Virginia Johnson on 48th Anniversary Celebration, February 19

Virginia Johnson, Artistic Director of Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) is excited about the upcoming celebration of the company’s 48th Anniversary on Sunday, February 19 at its 152nd Street headquarters.

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Complexions kicks off season at the Joyce Theater

Complexions Contemporary Ballet, a company formed in 1994 by resident choreographer Dwight Rhoden and dancer Desmond Richardson, kicks off its 23rd season at the Joyce Theater (Jan. 24-Feb. 5) with two distinctive new programs and a troupe of dancers that will knock your socks off.

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Black male ‘ballerina’ of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, the all-male comic ballet company, takes the stage at the Joyce Theater (Dec. 13-28) with a program presenting parodies of traditional classical ballets that tickle, tantalize and make audiences laugh out loud while treating them to technically skilled, impressive parodies of such iconic ballets as “Swan Lake,” “Giselle” and others.

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Afro Cuban Orisha Dance Theater has world premiere Dec. 17

“Siete Mares,” a new work by Afro Cuban Orisha Dance Theater, is set to have its world premiere this weekend.

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Ntozake Shange: A colored girl for whom the rainbow is not enuf Pt. 1

It has been awhile since Ntozake Shange’s paradigm-shifting “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf” exploded onto the theatrical scene in 1973, introducing a provocative new voice and unique genre—the choreopoem.

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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s 2016 winter season sizzles

The power of dance to unite and inspire us while shining a light on important issues will take center stage when the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater explodes onto New York City’s Center Stage (Nov. 30- Dec. 31) with a sizzling mix of thrilling dances, awesome dancers and mesmerizing music, all of which promise to warm your heart and make your soul dance.

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Netherlands Dans Theater boasts Bronx native Prince Credell

Nov. 16, the famed Netherlands Dans Theater swings into New York’s City Center for a brief season (Nov. 16-19) that highlights the qualities that earned it an international reputation for pushing dance’s boundaries, namely, bold repertory and what one critic called “the world’s most magnificent dancers displaying a retina-shredding sxpectacle of passion and power.”

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Misty Copeland on ABT’s fall season, diversity in ballet

Misty Copeland’s performance at American Ballet Theatre’s fall 2016 Gala Thursday, Oct. 20, was a delightful display of classical ballet at its most technically challenging and musically responsive.

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Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation celebrates roof-breaking, design of new wing

Since 2005, home for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Foundation has been a sleek, glass-enclosed building on the northwest corner of West 55th Street and Ninth Avenue in Manhattan known as the Joan Weill Center for Dance.

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Talented black dance artists among 2016 Princess Grace awardees

An unusually large number of young gifted Black dancers and choreographers are among the recently announced recipients of the coveted 2016 Princess Grace Awards.

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Former AileyCamper, now Ailey member Solomon Dumas affirms program’s value

Thursday, Aug. 11, more than 100 youngsters will take the stage at Hostos Center for Arts & Culture for a festive performance that caps their six-week summer at CAS/AileyCamp New York.

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Maurice Hines talks ‘Tappin’ Thru Life’

“Maurice Hines Tappin’ Thru Life” is back! That delicious jazz- and tap-filled musical treat that enjoyed a limited Broadway run earlier this year is coming to Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park July 28, for one night only.

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Misty Copeland’s first full season as ABT principal ballerina

This year, American Ballet Theater’s spring season marked a historic milestone. It was the first full season for the first African-American principal ballerina in that company’s 75-year history, Misty Copeland.

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Camille A. Brown: Exploring the Black Girl Spectrum

Choreographer Camille A. Brown stands in front of a group of Black women and girls who are hanging on her every word and movement.

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Dancer pursues passion despite diagnosis

A recent Intel commercial opens with the shadowy image of a Black female dancer in midair, like a cannonball caught in midflight, her Afroed silhouette illuminated by an electric blue backdrop.

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American Ballet Theater’s Project Plié: Making ballet dreams come true for children of color

An inconspicuous building in Manhattan’s Flatiron District is not only headquarters to the American Ballet Theater but also a wonderland of sorts for some 22 children of color enrolled in the JKO School Children’s Division Bridge Class, which is a local component ABT’s national Project Plié initiative.

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Ailey begins Lincoln Center season

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Artistic Director Robert Battle has announced the program for the company’s two-week Lincoln Center season, June 8-19, and it is a jam-packed choreographic grab bag featuring more than a dozen works on five different programs.

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Ailey begins Lincoln Center season

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Artistic Director Robert Battle has announced the program for the company’s two-week Lincoln Center season, June 8-19, and it is a jam-packed choreographic grab bag featuring more than a dozen works on five different programs.

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