On December 4th, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT) kicked off its 2019-2020 season at New York City Center with an opening night gala attended by many celebrities and notables.

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Artistic Director Robert Battle led the festivities with award-winning actor and singer Renée Elise Goldsberry serving as honorary chair. AADT honored Elaine Wynn and The Elaine Wynn Foundation for their generous contributions which have made new works, as well as the Elaine Wynn & Family Education Wing possible. In 2017, the wing added three new floors, which include four new dance studios and two classrooms, to The Joan Weill Center for Dance, New York’s largest building dedicated to dance, according to media materials. Battle presented the award to Wynn.

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The benefit gala included a performance of two Merce Cunningham Centennial Solos to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the artist’s birth. This was the first time the choreographer’s work has hit the Ailey stage. The company also memorialized opera legend Jessye Norman with the performance of a special excerpt of Battle’s Channels, set to Norman’s recorded performance of a Johannes Brahms song. The performance culminated in the same fashion as many of Ailey’s, dancing Alvin Ailey’s masterpiece Revelations, this time set to live music.

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Following the performance, more than 800 guests joined Battle, Artistic Director Emeria Judith Jamison, and the stars of the AAADT at the New York Midtown Hilton’s Grand Ballroom to keep the party going. Nearly $2.3 million was raised in support of the creation of new works; scholarships to The Ailey School, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary; and Ailey’s extensive educational programs for young people.

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Throughout the New York City Center engagement, Ailey’s 32 remarkable dancers will unveil four premieres, two new productions, and a variety of returning favorites, classics, and special programs. AADT will continue to inspire audiences across North America with a coast-to-coast city tour beginning in February 2020. For more information, visit AlvinAiley.org.

Keep scrolling for more images from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Opening Night Gala Benefit, including the red carpet and after-party.

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