History

American Masters

American Masters, committed to producing comprehensive film biographies about the broad cast of characters who comprise our cultural history.

Ailey

1h 23m

Discover the legendary choreographer Alvin Ailey whose dances center on the Black American experience with grace, strength and beauty. Featuring previously unheard audio interviews with Ailey, interviews with those close to him and an intimate glimpse into the Ailey studios today.

Episodes

  • Ailey: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Ailey

    S36 E1 - 1h 23m

    Discover the legendary choreographer Alvin Ailey whose dances center on the Black American experience with grace, strength and beauty. Featuring previously unheard audio interviews with Ailey, interviews with those close to him and an intimate glimpse into the Ailey studios today.

Extras + Features

  • Rennie Harris on the power of the choreographer: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Rennie Harris on the power of the choreographer

    S36 E1 - 57s

    Rennie Harris, PureMovement choreographer, describes how choreographers are responsible for their dancers. "Mr. Ailey, he used to train moving through spaces and shifting geographies and people and we needed that bullet train."

  • Alvin Ailey on Chauncey Green, the friend who saved his life: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Alvin Ailey on Chauncey Green, the friend who saved his life

    S36 E1 - 2m 56s

    Ailey describes his "blood memories" and growing up during the Great Depression in Texas, where he met a friend who had a lasting impact on his life. "Chauncey saved my life. ... Chauncey Green, I shall never forget him."

  • Ailey's "Revelations" draws on African American spirituals: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Ailey's "Revelations" draws on African American spirituals

    S36 E1 - 2m 24s

    Ailey described "Revelations" as "an evening-long saga about the Black experience," and the performance had a huge impact on Black dancers when it premiered in 1960. "I was moved to tears seeing 'Revelations,'" said Mary Barnett, Ailey's rehearsal director from 1975 to 1979.

  • Choreographer Rennie Harris on channeling Ailey: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Choreographer Rennie Harris on channeling Ailey

    S36 E1 - 1m 51s

    Rennie Harris was tapped by Robert Battle, Ailey Artistic Director, to choreograph a piece about Ailey for the 60th anniversary of the company. To prepare, the two reviewed archival footage of Ailey discussing his process. "I just sit there and watch to find out what made Mr. Ailey, Mr. Ailey," said Harris.

  • Ailey: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Ailey

    S36 E1 - 1m 1s

    Discover the legendary choreographer Alvin Ailey whose dances center on the Black American experience with grace, strength and beauty. Featuring previously unheard audio interviews with Ailey, interviews with those close to him and an intimate glimpse into the Ailey studios today.

  • Bill T. Jones remembers the first time he met Alvin Ailey: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Bill T. Jones remembers the first time he met Alvin Ailey

    S36 - 2m 11s

    In this outtake from "Ailey," Bill T. Jones, guest choreographer of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, recalls telling Alvin Ailey that he did not want to be considered a "Black choreographer," and Ailey reacting with compassion. "Now I can say it with confidence, but I was lonely," said Jones. "I was lonely for colleagues who were people of color."

  • Ailey dancers reflect on company's scrappy beginnings: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Ailey dancers reflect on company's scrappy beginnings

    S36 - 1m 51s

    In this outtake from "Ailey," former Ailey dancers recall how Alvin Ailey worked hard to raise money for the company. There was a "burden that was on him to keep us all working and to make sure that [his] dancers [felt] cared for and loved," recalls Judith Jamison, Ailey dancer (1965-1979) and Artistic Director (1989-2011).

Schedule

  • Image
    American Masters: TVSS: Iconic

    American Masters

    Charley Pride

    Saturday
    Jan 22

    1 Hour

    Raised in segregated Mississippi, country performer Charley Pride proves artistic expression can triumph over prejudice and injustice.
  • Image
    American Masters: TVSS: Iconic

    American Masters

    Charley Pride

    Sunday
    Jan 23

    1 Hour

    Raised in segregated Mississippi, country performer Charley Pride proves artistic expression can triumph over prejudice and injustice.

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