Under the artistic direction of Sylvia Waters, Ailey II is comprised of the most promising scholarship students of The Ailey School and offers unique opportunities for these young artists to refine their technique while gaining invaluable performing and teaching experience during their tenure with the Company. Many Ailey II members have gone on to pursue successful careers as dancers, teachers and choreographers with other dance companies, on Broadway and in schools.
In June 2012, Ms. Waters will retire as Ailey II's Artistic Director, and she has named Troy Powell -- the veteran Ailey dancer, teacher, choreographer and Ailey II Associate Artistic Director since 2003 -- to be her successor. Ms. Waters will remain active in the Ailey organization, including leading The Ailey Legacy Residency, a new lecture, technique and repertory program for college-level students that looks definitively into the history and creative heritage of Alvin Ailey.
Ailey II is presented by Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation, a non-profit organization which also supports the activities of the renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, The Ailey School, Ailey Arts In Education & Community Programs and the Ailey Extension.
"The entire company looks terrific. Clearly, the future is theirs." The New York Times
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SYLVIA WATERS, Artistic Director
Since Ailey II’s inception over 35 years ago, Artistic Director Sylvia Waters has been responsible for the growth and expansion of one of the country’s most vibrant dance companies. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Dance at The Juilliard School, and studied with distinguished faculty members Antony Tudor, Martha Graham, Alfredo Corvino, Ethel Winter, Helen McGhee, Bertram Ross and Mary Hinkson. Following her graduation from Juilliard, Ms. Waters moved to Paris, where she appeared regularly on television and worked with Michel Descombey, then director of the Paris Opera Ballet, as well as Milko Sparembleck, and subsequently performed in Brussels and at the Summer Olympics in Mexico City.
Ms. Waters returned to the United States in 1968 and joined Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She toured as a principal dancer with the Company until assuming her current position with Ailey II. Ms. Waters has also established a distinguished reputation as a teacher, conducting master classes throughout the US and Europe. In 1997, she received an honorary doctorate from the State University of New York at Oswego. She has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts. Ms. Waters has received numerous awards, including the Legacy Award as part of the 20th Annual IABD Festival, Syracuse University’s Women of Distinction Award, a Dance Magazine Award, and a "Bessie" Award. Most recently, Ms. Waters was a Visiting Lecturer at Harvard University during the 2010 spring semester.
TROY POWELL, Artistic Director Designate
Troy Powell, a native New Yorker, began his dance training at the age of nine at The Ailey School. Following his graduation from The High School of Performing Arts, he became a member of Ailey II. Mr. Powell joined Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1991. He toured throughout the United States, South America, Europe and South Africa for ten years before becoming a master teacher at The Ailey School and resident choreographer of Ailey II. Mr. Powell has choreographed ballets for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ailey II, Dallas Black Dance Theater, National Dance Company of the Bahamas and Alaska Dance Theater, as well as three episodes of "Sesame Street." His guest artist credits include performing with companies such as Batsheva, Dallas Black Dance Theater and Complexions. Featured in an American Express commercial with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Mr. Powell has also appeared on television in George C. Wolfe’s "The Colored Museum," the PBS Great Performances: Dance in America special A Hymn for Alvin Ailey, choreographed by Judith Jamison, and most recently, "America’s Next Top Model."
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