Who: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
What: Fiftieth anniversary performance of Cry
Where: Ailey All Access
When: Sunday, May 9, free, 3:00
Why: On May 4, 1971, at New York City Center, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater premiered the sixteen-minute solo Cry, which Ailey choreographed on Judith Jamison as a birthday present for his mother, Lula Cooper. The piece, set to Alice Coltrane’s “Something about John Coltrane,” Laura Nyro’s “Been on a Train,” and the Voices of East Harlem’s “Right On Be Free,” has now been recorded for online viewing, featuring Jacqueline Green, and will make its debut as a Mother’s Day Matinee on May 9 at 3:00. “Exactly where the woman is going through the ballet’s three sections was never explained to me by Alvin,” Jamison writes in her autobiography, Dancing Spirit. “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.” The piece will be followed by a discussion between Green and Ailey dancer Constance Stamatiou about the work, which Ailey dedicated to “all Black women everywhere — especially our mothers.” The next day, AAADT will present the livestreamed panel “Celebrating Judith Jamison” on Jamison’s seventy-eighth birthday, with Jamison, Sarita Allen, Linda Denise Fisher Harrell, Renee Robinson, Linda Celeste Sims, Dwana Smallwood, Nasha Thomas, and Lisa Johnson-Willingham.