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Judith Jamison is the Artistic Director Emerita of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Yesterday would have been Alvin Ailey, the founder of Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, 86th birthday. To celebrate his legacy, Ms. Jamison taught a Ailey Classics Workshop at the Ailey Extension.

The Ailey Extension is where real people can take dance classes. The purpose is to make dance accessible to all, something that Alvin Ailey championed.

Alvin Ailey Dance Class

Source: Alvin Ailey / Courtesy of CoachCassFIt Instagram

The Classics Workshop was quite a treat, where the students, made up of a few Ailey Dancers, some Ailey students, as well as regular people, had the opportunity to learn part of Revelations and more. The class had people of all ages, sizes, and backgrounds: true diversity.

During the class, the students danced to the drums, with Ms. Jamison giving instruction, encouragement, and demanding both effort and excellence. Watching her instruct, watching her move was an experience in and of itself, as she is one of the best modern dancers and choreographers.

At the end of the class, when the students went to perform what they learned, Ms. Jamison stopped the drums and suddenly, Anderson .Paak, ‘Come Down,’ played in the theater. What happened next, was nothing short of magic: Ms. Jamison and all the students did part of ‘Revelations,’ where you wade in the water, to Anderson .Paak.

She admitted to me the day before that she loved the song and it’s her current ringtone, “It’s an Israeli beat, you know,” and started humming.

There is no one like Ms. Judith Jamison. I wonder what Anderson .Paak thinks about this legend being his fan.

Want to take a dance class at The Ailey Extension? Go here.

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