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Free to Dance Dance Timeline

1977

Chuck Davis founds DanceAfrica, the perennially popular festival of African dance at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

American Dance Festival co-directors Charles and Stephanie Reinhart move the institution from New London, Connecticut to Durham, North Carolina.


1978 Garth Fagan premieres "From Before."

Donald Byrd, a former Yale and Tufts University philosophy student, forms Donald Byrd/The Group, after dancing with Alvin Ailey, Twyla Tharp, Karole Armitage, and Gus Solomons, jr.


1979 Ulysses Dove, Ailey company member and a former Merce Cunningham dancer, premieres "I See the Moon ... and the Moon Sees Me" on the AAADT.


1980 Ulysses Dove leaves the AAADT in 1980 to become assistant director of Groupe de Recherche Choreographique de l'Opera de Paris and a critically acclaimed freelance choreogapher.


1981 Blondell Cummings, an original member of the Meredith Monk's The House, premieres "Chicken Soup." The work reflects her search for the universal truths embedded in autobiography.


1982-83 RealPlayer
The AAADT premieres Talley Beatty's "The Stack-Up," a brilliant, vibrant dance described as "an anti-drug portrayal of life on the streets of the inner city." (Click on the video clip icon at left to watch a excerpt from "The Stack-Up.")

The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company is formed. Jones is in the forefront of the New Moderns with works like "Fever Swamp," choreographed for the AAADT. The dance also airs on PBS' GREAT PERFORMANCES.

Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, January 15, becomes a federal holiday.

The Brooklyn Academy of Music presents a historic, three-day "Dance Black America" festival featuring a who's who of blacks in dance. Garth Fagan makes his mark with the performance of "Griot New York."


1984 Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, a former student of Dianne McIntyre's Sounds in Motion, founds Urban Bush Women. Zollar blends music, text, history, culture, spiritual traditions from the African Diaspora and everyday life to create such works as "Shelter," "Batty Moves," and the soon-to-be-premiered "Hair Stories."

Judith Jamison choreographs "Divining" for the AAADT.

Chuck Davis founds the African-American Dance Ensemble, a product of the ADF's Community Services program, which he heads.


1985 Ron K. Brown, the self-proclaimed "club kid from Brooklyn," forms Evidence, a dance company with a mission to, among other things, "discuss issues of race, class, gender, and assimilation."




1986 Milton Myers leaves AAADT to become artistic director for the Joyce Trisler Danscompany after the death of its founder, a former Lester Horton dancer, choreographer, and colleague and friend of Alvin Ailey.


1987 ADF creates the Black Tradition in American Modern Dance project directed by Dr. Gerald E. Myers. It seeks to preserve, celebrate, and create access to classic dance works by African-American choreographers. To date, more than 23 major works have been reconstructed on leading U.S. dance companies.

Alvin Ailey receives American Dance Festival's Samuel H. Scripps Award.


1988 Alvin Ailey is honored by The Kennedy Center for his extensive contributions to American culture.