Judith Jamison is the artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
A native of Philadelphia, she studied with Marion Cuyjet, was discovered by Agnes de Mille and made her New York debut with American Ballet Theatre in 1964. She became a member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1965 and danced with the company for 15 years to great acclaim. Recognizing her extraordinary talent, Mr. Ailey created some of his most enduring roles for her, most notably the tour de force solo, Cry.
After leaving the Company in 1980, Ms. Jamison appeared as a guest artist with ballet companies all over the world and starred in the hit Broadway musical Sophisticated Ladies. In 1988, she formed her own company, The Jamison Project; a PBS special depicting her creative process, Judith Jamison: The Dancemaker, aired nationally the same year.
As a highly regarded choreographer, Ms. Jamison has created works for many companies. Her most recent ballet, Reminiscin', was inspired by great female jazz artists and Edward Hopper's famous painting Nighthawks. Love Stories, with additional choreography by Robert Battle and Rennie Harris, was created in 2004. In 2002, HERE . . .NOW. was commissioned for the Cultural Olympiad in Salt Lake City. She choreographed Double Exposure for the Lincoln Center Festival in July 2000. Divining (1984), Rift (1991), Riverside (1995), Sweet Release (1996), Echo: Far From Home (1998) and Hymn (1993), her stirring tribute to Mr. Ailey, are other major works she has choreographed for the Company.
Ms. Jamison is an author whose autobiography, Dancing Spirit, was edited by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and published by Doubleday in 1993.