- Born in Texas 1931 - Shortly after Wall Street Crash, time of ecenomic difficulties
- Suffered racial segregation, black African Americans were an inferior race
- He was a devout Baptist & Church was a constant that instilled a sense of 'black pride'
- Father left when he was a baby, led him to feel alienated & forge strong bond with mother
- Mother was ***** by gang of whites - led to fear of whites
- Moved from town to town so mother could get jobs earning money - included cotton picking
“Texas was a tough place for a boy in the 1930’s. Race and the economy
were both big problems.”
"There was the white school up on the hill, and the black Baptist church, and the segregated theatres and neighbourhoods.
“I had very little to do with white people as a small child.”
“Like most of my generation, I grew up feeling like an outsider, like someone who didn't matter.“
Carmen de lavallade persuaded Ailey to study with her at Hortons studios.
He began studying modern dance with Lester Horton in 1949. He joined Horton's dance company the following year.
When Horton died, he taught and choreographed for Horton dancers.
Performed on Broadway in House of Flowers and Jamaica.
Whilst in NY, studied dance with Martha Graham and acting with Stella Adler.
In 1958, formed AAADT
Created 79 works for the company including:
- Blues Suite (1958)
- Revelations (1960)
- Cry (1971)