Arts for All, Boston Community, Dance

Watch the Video: Revelations – The Legacies of Alvin Ailey and Boston’s Elma Lewis

Photo (above) by Robert Torres

In a turbulent 1968, Celebrity Series of Boston took a chance with a one-night engagement of a dynamic African-American dance company. Choreographer Alvin Ailey’s mission to reflect and promote African-American traditions and art-making took hold in Boston that night. Across town that year, Boston arts educator and social activist Elma Lewis founded the National Center of Afro-American Artists to enhance appreciation for black art forms and their practitioners. It remains the largest independent Black cultural arts institution in New England.

Last month, we celebrated these groundbreaking cultural leaders in a lively discussion with their friends, colleagues, and some of today’s artists inspired by their work. Thanks to everyone who joined us at John Hancock Hall for REVELATIONS: The Legacies of Alvin Ailey and Boston’s Elma Lewis. 

Our panelists included:

  • Sylvia Waters, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
  • E. Barry Gaither, Director of the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists
  • Shaumba-Yandje Dibinga, Founding Artistic & Executive Director of OrigiNation Cultural Arts Center
  • Jean Appolon, Director, Jean Appolon Expressions
  • Betty Hillmon, Director, Boston City-Wide String Orchestra

The discussion was moderated by WGBH’s Callie Crossley.

If you were unable to attend the event, or if you’d like to revisit the incredible discussion, our partner WGBH invites you to view the entire filmed discussion on its Forum Network, or you can watch it below.

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