Dancer and choreographer Judith Jamison joined Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1965 and, over the next 15 years, originated some of Mr. Ailey's most enduring roles.
Her most notable the sixteen-minute solo that catapulted her into fame “Cry” became a rallying cry for the Civil Rights movement. Alvin Ailey dedicated the dance to "all-black women everywhere." During the 1970s and ‘80s, Jamison appeared as a guest artist with ballet companies all over the world and starred in the hit Broadway musical Sophisticated Ladies. In 1989, she returned to Alvin Ailey when Ailey asked her to succeed him as Artistic Director.
In the 21 years that followed, Jamison brought the company to new heights – including two historic engagements in South Africa and a 50-city global tour to celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary. Jamison is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, among them a prime time Emmy Award, an American Choreography Award, the Kennedy Center Honor a National Medal of Arts and, in 2013, she was the 50th inductee into the Hall of Fame at the National Museum of Dance. Her autobiography, "Dancing Spirit," was edited by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and published in 1993.