• 50 Years - A Million Thanks
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Free to Dance Dance Timeline

1989 RealPlayer
Bill T. Jones creates "D-Man in the Water" in honor of a company member, Demian Acquavella, who dies of AIDS. (Click on the video clip icon at left to watch a excerpt from "D-Man in the Water.")

Alvin Ailey dies on December 1. A roster of who's who in dance pays tribute to him at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York.

Judith Jamison is named the AAADT's artistic director on December 20. She pledges to "keep Mr. Ailey's legacy alive."

Black Choreographers Moving Toward the 21st Century launches symposiums and festivals in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Stanford University's Halifu Osumare is its founding director.


1990 Katherine Dunham receives The Kennedy Center Honors.


1991 George Faison wins an Emmy for his work on the HBO special THE JOSEPHINE BAKER STORY.

Bill T. Jones premieres "Last Supper at Uncle Tom's Cabin/The Promised Land" at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave festival. Nudity in the dance's last section creates controversy.

The AAADT performs Jawole Willa Jo Zollar's "Shelter."


1992 On February 1, Katherine Dunham begins a hunger strike to protest U.S. policy of returning refugees to Haiti. She ends it on March 18, amid concerns for her health voiced by the exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and many others.


1993 "AIDS and The Arts: A Lost Generation," a NEWSWEEK cover story cries: "AIDS has obliterated scores of creative spirits. How do you measure the devastation?" A roll call of lives lost includes Bill T. Jones' lover, Arnie Zane (1988), and company member, Demian Acquavella (1990).

Judith Jamison choreographs "Hymn," a soul-stirring tribute to Alvin Ailey.


1994 Bill T. Jones premieres "Still Here," based on a series of workshops with cancer and AIDS patients. NEW YORKER dance critic Arlene Croce writes a controversial column refusing to review the dance and calling it "victim art."


1995 Donald McKayle becomes a full professor of dance at the University of California, Irvine and artistic director of UCI Dance Company.

Eleo Pomare, Joan Miller, Rod Rodgers, and Alpha Omega Dance Theater join forces to form CODA/NYC, a non-profit organization designed to support artistic and educational endeavors.


1996 "For the Love of Dove" -- a tribute presented less than a week after Ulysses Dove dies of AIDS -- features members of the companies he has worked with, including the AAADT, the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, American Ballet Theatre, the New York City Ballet, and the Royal Swedish Ballet.

Donald Byrd choreographs "The Harlem Nutcracker," which debuts at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in December.


1998-99 RealPlayer
Garth Fagan choreographs Disney's hit Broadway musical "The Lion King," for which he wins a Tony Award.

Donald McKayle collaborates with Ron K. Brown to create "Children of the Passage" on DC/DC. (Click on the video clip icon at left to watch a excerpt from the "Children of the Passage.")

Judith Jamison wins an Emmy for Outstanding Choreography for the PBS documentary A HYMN FOR ALVIN AILEY and The Kennedy Center Honor for lifetime achievement.

Ron K. Brown's Evidence premieres the politically and socially compelling "Incidents," an evening-length work inspired by black women's memories of slavery.


2001

2001 - "Free To Dance"
Garth Fagan receives the Scripps American Dance Festival Award, following in the footsteps of Pearl Primus, Talley Beatty, the Nicholas Brothers, Katherine Dunham, and Alvin Ailey.


PBS' GREAT PERFORMANCES series airs "Free To Dance," produced by ADF and The Kennedy Center. It is the first major film chronicling the impact of African Americans on American modern dance.