The Gaye Watkins Report

Judith Jamison meets Montblanc

Judith Jamison choked up a bit as she received the 2010 Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award. It is given to people around the world once a year who have tirelessly given their energy and effort to the Arts. And this years American recipient is Judith Jamison, Artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She spoke of the dream of founder Alvin Ailey in their present space at 405 West 55 Street. She said that Ailey wanted people to have the opportunity to enjoy dance and have access to it. Philanthropist Joan Weill, whom the Alvin Ailey Dance centers location is named for, donated 15 million dollars for the centers development and completion. Weill spoke of Jamison as her friend and someone she has learned from to, always be fearless and never let anything stand in your way. Concert pianist Lang Lang, briefly performed Chopin’s “Heroic” in honor of Judith. Alvin Ailey dancer Clifton Brown, performed a solo from “Among Us(Private Spaces Public Places)” a recently choreographed dance by Ms. Jamison. Other supporters such as Andre Leon Talley Contributing Editor of Vogue Magazine, Harriet Cole, Creative Director of Ebony Magazine, and former dancer and friend Carmen deLavallade were in attendance. I asked Ms. Jamison what was her hope for the Ailey Center and Company. She said it is seeking her replacement at the helm of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. After mentioning my own past taking classes at Ailey in earlier years, she suggested I try dance classes again. Ms. Jamison could be seen as she left the building peering through a small section of glass wall of a first floor class in progress. Just as curious as any other passerby.

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