Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey announced two new top leadership roles on Tuesday. 

Harlan Brownlee joins the organization in the newly created position of chief executive officer.

In July, Brownlee stepped down as president and CEO of ArtsKC, the regional arts council. He's worked in arts education for three decades, including as a dance teacher and choreographer, and calls this a "great fit." 

Julie Denesha / KCUR

More than 200 people are expected Wednesday at the Gem Theater at 18th and Vine for a daylong community conversation about race.

Though the Fall Symposium: Race, Place & Diversity hosted by the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey might feel like a response to this week’s events at the University of Missouri in Columbia, the organization hosted a similar symposium a year ago and is committed to doing so for the next five years, says the organization’s executive director, Tyrone Aiken.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

In a small dressing room Saturday afternoon, nine young dancers from AileyCamp The Group crowded around a bank of mirrors checking makeup and donning leotards. The dance troupe was one of three performing in Festival on the Vine’s youth matinee performance at the Gem Theater in Kansas City.

The three-day festival of dance over the weekend featured Kansas City-based Owen/Cox Dance Group, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance from Colorado and CRISOL danza Fusión from Mexico. And Saturday was the moment for young dancers to take the stage. 

kennedy-center.org

As The Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey approached its 30th anniversary this year it sought out Michael Kaiser, a leading arts-management consultant and the current President of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.  The goal: to position the organization as a model to other cities for overcoming cultural and social segregation.

Michael Kaiser spoke with Steve Kraske, host of Up to Date.

Interview Highlights:

Laura Spencer / KCUR

It was 30 years ago this year that Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey was created as a second home for the New York-based Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, a modern dance company founded in 1958.

To mark this milestone, the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation on Friday issued a challenge grant. At $375,000, it’s the largest grant in the history of the Friends of Alvin Ailey.

kennedy-center.org

The Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey have some friends outside of the area-- including the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts' president, Michael Kaiser.

In the second part of Friday's Up to Date, Kaiser talks with Steve Kraske about how he got his start here in town, what he's doing to help the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey, and the state of performing arts in our nation. 

Guest:

  • Michael Kaiser, president of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Laura Spencer / KCUR

Playbills from performances, snapshots of family and friends, and personal letters of the late choreographer Alvin Ailey are now housed at the Black Archives of Mid-America.

The collection is called the Allan Gray Family Personal Papers of Alvin Ailey. And it's on long-term loan to the Black Archives.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Alvin Ailey was an African American choreographer who founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York City. For the past 25 years, Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey have held AileyCamp, a month-long session for junior high-age students, to honor Ailey's work.

As of July 2011, modern dance choreographer Robert Battle is the new artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. This marks only the third artistic leader of the New York City-based company since its founding in 1958.

Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey

Ailey Camp is one of the legacies of the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey. It's more than a summer camp for kids who want to dance. Alvin Ailey started the camp with the idea that dance could be a vehicle for growth and personal development among the community's youth.