Ailey, Alvin(1931–90) choreographer, modern dancer, director; born in Rogers, Texas. He studied with Lester Horton, made his debut with the company in 1950, and became director in 1953. A noted Broadway dancer and choreographer, he formed the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre in 1958 and founded a school (1971) and junior troupe (1972). His works, influenced by classical ballet, jazz, Afro-Caribbean, and modern dance, explore a wide range of black experience, from gospel music to social inequality.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.