To celebrate Black History Month, Shondaland has partnered with theSkimm on a video series to honor important moments in our nation’s history.
Each week throughout the month of February, the series will address the Black history that continues to be made in our country every single day while simultaneously honoring past historical figures and moments.
In this week’s video, Leslie Odom, Jr. discusses the importance of Alvin Ailey and his contributions to the dance world and entertainment at large.
Dancer and choreographer Alvin Ailey excelled at evoking the everyday black experience on stage. He broke barriers in the world of modern dance by taking our normal and making it extraordinary. When he founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1958 the world was presented with his vision: a fully theatrical conceived set of performances that melded ballet, modern dance, jazz, and African dance. His seminal work, Revelations, drew upon his memories of growing up in Rogers, Texas, a segregated town 50 miles south of Waco, and incorporated blues, gospel, and spirituals into the performance. It debuted to acclaim on Jan. 31, 1960. It’s estimated that the number has been performed for 23 million people around the world to date, and along with the more than 70 other works Ailey choreographed for his company, Revelations remains in its repertoire to this day.
Get into it below.