Black History Fact of the Week: Judith Jamison
She possessed a dancer's presence
On May 10, 1943, ballerina and choreographer Judith Jamison was born in Philadelphia, Pa., the younger of two children. Tall and lanky, she was enrolled in dance classes at 6 years old, where she began to exhibit grace and a dancer’s presence on stage. She also studied piano and violin, as well as classical ballet.
After attending college for three years as a psychology major at Fisk University, Jamison realized her dream was not in the field of science, but in the performing arts. Her path was then determined. She completed her education at the Philadelphia Dance Academy and was discovered by choreographer Agnes de Mille in 1964.
From there, her career skyrocketed.
The following year she moved to New York and joined the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, where she had the opportunity to explore the world as a dancer. By 1969, her love for the arts led her to collaborate with Ailey for a momentous solo performance, “Masekela Language.” It wasn’t until 1971, after 15-minute solo of Ailey’s “Cry,” that she received international acclaim.
She then began to be called on to perform and choreograph in all corners of the world.
In 1989, her dear friend and world-renowned mentor Ailey passed away. Jamison was named artistic director of the company, becoming the first African American woman to direct a major modern dance company.
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One of the world’s favorite dance companies, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, will return to the music center for an unprecedented 10 performances, April 8-17. Presenting three powerful and memorable programs, the company’s brilliant artistry and passionate energy is expected to bring audiences to their feet night after night.
On Aug. 5, 1946, in Washington, D.C., physicist Shirley Jackson was born to Beatrice and George Jackson. Adamant about education, the Jacksons instilled a strong sense of appreciation for learning and inspired their daughter to pursue science.
Center Dance Arts (CDA) and the Music Center hosted a fundraising gala in celebration of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater last Thursday in Los Angeles at the private residence of CDA Chair Mattie McFadden-Lawson and Music Center Board of Directors member Michael A. Lawson. The event honored renowned Ailey Artistic Director Judith Jamison, second from left and Ailey Artistic Director Designate Robert Battle, third from left. The are joined by Desmond Richardson, Debbie Allen, and Glorya Kaufman.
On Nov. 3, 1992, Carol Moseley Braun made U.S. history, when she became the country’s first African American woman elected to the Senate, beating out a 10-year incumbent. She also became the first woman Illinois ever elected to the seat.
Vickie Knight has seen how the other half lives, and knows that one day, she too, will get back on her feet thanks to the opportunities afforded her through education.
Knight, a Compton native, who found herself homeless through a seers of unfortunate circumstances, recently spent a few days in the luxury of the Ritz Carlton in Philadelphia. She was in the City of Brotherly Love to accept an award for being named the 2010 National Graduate of the Year by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).