Thursday, February 10, 2011

Words of Wisdom from Alvin Ailey's Judith Jamison


My history with Judith Jamison is long. Before I reached double digits, I'd traveled with a dance troupe from Atlanta to New York, where I danced at the Alvin Ailey studio. When I moved to New York to work at Fortune magazine after graduating from college, I was living in the NYU dorms before I got an apartment. Grocery shopping in my neighborhood, I ran into the striking Jamison in the produce section. Needless to say I nearly accosted her with my ardent admiration. And, of course, I've seen the company perform under her leadership numerous times.

So I had to be front and center - well, third row - when she came to Spelman College today.

I just left that wonderful campus chat with Jamison, who is in her last six months as the artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She shared some interesting experiences and wonderful wisdom to a packed house in her conversation with Spelman President Beverly Daniel Tatum and Spelman student Ashley Grisham. Below are a few of the pearls she blessed us with. Love creativity!


"To change the world, start with yourself. See yourself in others and don't negate anyone."


"Be in the moment but be forward thinking in the moment. Be ready for that precipice."


"Dance came from the people and it needs to be delivered back to the people." - Judith Jamison quoting Alvin Ailey on being involved in the communities in which they dance. She shared that Alvin Ailey Extension, a program of dance and fitness classes designed for the general public that teaches everything from Broadway theater dance to Samba and Hip Hop, started out with 500 students six years ago and now tops 49,000. Now that is commitment to community!

Enjoy videos of the Alvin Ailey Tribute to Judith Jamison



Check out this excerpt of Reminiscin,' a dance Jamison choreographed that features music from legendary female jazz singers Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Roberta Flack, Regina Carter and Diana Krall.

Judith Jamison is a beacon of creativity. A light that will shine forever because she thrives on positivity.

My desire is to do the same. Keep on Enjoyceinglife!

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