by Alvin Ailey

Alvin Ailey choreographed his signature solo Cry as a birthday present for his dignified mother, and created the dance on his stunning muse, Judith Jamison. Mrs. Cooper (Alvin Ailey’s mother) and Ms. Jamison could both be considered the archetypal Ailey woman – a role that has been passed on to all the women in the Ailey ranks to whom Ms. Jamison has taught this solo. In her autobiography Dancing Spirit, Ms. Jamison wrote: “Exactly where the woman is going through the ballet’s three sections was never explained to me by Alvin. In my interpretation, she represented those women before her who came from the hardships of slavery, through the pain of losing loved ones, through overcoming extraordinary depressions and tribulations. Coming out of a world of pain and trouble, she has found her way-and triumphed.” Ailey’s Jacqueline Green performing Alvin Ailey’s ‘Cry.’ Video by Nel Shelby Productions

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