News
Ailey dancers and stagehands rallied together yesterday. Photo by Jen Peters

"The sun may be shining brightly, but we are not in a very sunny mood today!" said New York State assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal during yesterday's rally for the Artists of Ailey.

The dancers and stage crew are demanding increased wages and more comprehensive benefits, what they have termed "reaching for the standard" and "fair wages."

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News
Ailey Dancers. Photo by Andrew Eccles, Courtesy Ailey

Everything was not business as usual at Tuesday's Kennedy Center gala for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. The party was missing an integral piece of the annual celebration: the dancers themselves.

The news was shared online yesterday via the Washington Post, which reports that the dancers are in the middle of renegotiating a three-year contract with their union, the American Guild of Musical Artists.

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Dance & Activism
Gert Krautbauer, Courtesy AAADT

In 1960, America was in the midst of a social transformation. The Supreme Court had ruled "separate but equal" unconstitutional six years prior, but the country's response was slow and turbulent as desegregation incited violent responses. Surrounded by powerful civil rights momentum, a 29-year-old Alvin Ailey created an ode to the resilience of the human spirit: Revelations.

"Alvin was making a statement about African-American cultural experience, saying, 'Hey, this is who we are, we live here, we were born here,' " says Judith Jamison, artistic director emerita of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. "It was a brave action. Civil rights were roaring, and our protest was our performance."

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