It all started in 1958 at the 92nd street Y when a small group of African American modern dancers led by Alvin Ailey gave a performance that forever changed the perception of American dance.

New York City’s Lincoln Center hosted the annual Ailey Spirit Gala – A benefit which celebrated the legacy of this world renowned American dance theater company.

Education, scholarships and nurturing emerging talent are among the Ailey dance company’s numerous developmental programs. 

The honoree of this year’s celebration, Stephen Meringoff, was cited for his instrumental role in supporting young dancers at the Ailey camp. 

This year’s gala brought together the past, present, and future of one of New York’s most treasured cultural institutions. Members of the Ailey Dance Theater Company, The Rising Stars Of Ailey II, gifted young dancers from the Ailey School and talented students from the Ailey Camp all shared the same stage. 

Proceeds from this year’s gala will benefit the Ailey School – which is one of the most diverse dance schools in the nation with 3500 students and a scholarship program providing more than 450 awards each year.  To date, The Ailey Company has performed for an estimated 25 million people in theaters in 48 states and 71 countries on 6 continents. Millions more have seen the Ailey Company through television broadcasts and online. In 2008, a United States Congressional Resolution designated the company as a vital American Cultural Ambassador to the World. 

As Alvin Ailey often reminded us, “Dance is for everybody!” In New York City, everyone has a little Alvin Ailey in them.