Artist Spotlight: Judith Jamison
Judith Jamison is a famed dancer, choreographer and Artistic Director of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater. A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia, Jamison began her dance career at the young age of 10. At 15, she attended Fisk University and the Philadelphia Dance Academy. In 1964, she made her New York debut at the American Ballet Theatre and a year later became a member of the pretigious Alvin Ailey Dance Theater. Mr. Ailey himself choreographed many of his famous pieces with Jamison in mind, including her solo dance in “Cry.”
After 15 years with the theater, Jamison left to explore other ballet opportunities. She danced with other ballet companies all over the world and eventually started her own company, The Jamison Project in 1988. In 1989 when Ailey died, Jamison was named the Artistic Director of the theater at his request before he died. She has won numerous awards, including a prime time Emmy and an American Choreography Award for Outstanding Choreography for her work in the PBS special,”Great Performances: Dance In America” special, “A Hymn for Alvin Ailey.” She also has an autobiography, “Dancing Spirit,” which was edited by former First Lady, the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
A young Jamison with the late Alvin Ailey
Today, Judith Jamison continues Ailey’s legacy by presiding over the Alvin Ailey Theater as Artistic Director. As the company’s website states:
Ms. Jamison is dedicated to asserting the prominence of the arts in our culture, spearheading initiatives to bring dance into the community and programs that introduce children to the arts. She remains committed to promoting the significance of the Ailey legacy–dance as a medium for honoring the past, celebrating the present and fearlessly reaching into the future.
Its true that the arts are always given the short end of the stick when it comes to school curriculum. Programs that deal in the arts, whether it be dance, art, music, etc., are always the first to go when school districts are cutting back or receive the least amount of funding. As a child, I look forward to going to these classes because they were a BREAK away from learning how to take standardized tests skills. I say KEEP THE ARTS IN THE SCHOOLS!!