The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is making Maryland its second home. The partnership between the state and the company was announced recently by Artistic Director Judith Jamison, who succeeded Alvin Ailey after his death last year.
Jamison, a dancer-choreographer, said the company had been "spreading joy and love to audiences all over the world" for 32 years and "will continue in the same spirit by establishing Maryland as another base from which to operate."
William Hammond, the company's executive director, said representatives from Maryland approached the group a couple of years ago to suggest a partnership or relocation to this area. "And we had been looking for a second home for some time," he said. The headquarters for the company, its junior company and its school will remain in New York City.
The company will make the move in three phases over a three-year period. Master classes will begin in October at Baltimore's Morgan State University. "Judy will be there with a couple of members of the repertory conducting two workshops a day," said Hammond. Then the company will have a season in Baltimore's Mechanic Theater during January and February, and will participate in the Columbia Festival in June 1991.
Next spring, the junior company, the Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble, will begin performances and lecture demonstrations in cities around the state. In June, a two-week AileyCamp, patterned after a student dance camp in Kansas City, will be held at the Morgan State and Baltimore School of the Arts campuses.
"We wanted to develop a program that involved the whole community," said Hammond. "The repertory company will perform biannually, we'll have the AileyCamp every summer. And eventually we'll have the same youth outreach programs, master classes, lecture-demonstrations and educational activities that exist in Kansas City, but enhanced and enlarged."
And to top it off, Hammond added, "we'll see some new works, and perhaps maybe major revivals of some of Alvin's pieces. And of course there will be premieres."
Bernard M.W. Knox of Darnestown, Md., has been named as one of the recipients of the annual Charles Frankel Prize. The awards, given by the National Endowment for the Humanities, recognize outstanding contributions to public understanding of literature, philosophy and history. Knox, director emeritus of Harvard's Center for Hellenic Studies here and author of several books that make classical civilization and drama accessible to the general reader, has written and lectured for five decades on the world of classical Greece.
"I have tried to make it possible for anyone interested in literature but unfamiliar with the classics to understand and appreciate the relevancy," said Knox. At his current post and previously as professor of classics at Yale University, he has introduced a generation of students and scholars to Greek tragedies and historical texts.
Knox has used many mediums to get his message across: books including "Oedipus at Thebes" (1957) and a translation of Homer's "Iliad," due in bookstores soon; a TV film of "Oedipus the King" that he wrote and narrated; magazine articles and lectures dealing with Greek plays as living, dramatic texts. Other recipients of the Frankel Prize include Mortimer J. Adler, director of Chicago's Institute for Philosophical Research and author of many works in education, philosophy and the history of ideas; Henry Hampton, founder and president of the media production company Blackside Inc. and executive producer of the documentary film series "Eyes on the Prize"; David Van Tassel, Benton Professor of History at Cleveland's Case Western Reserve University and founder of National History Day; and Ethyle R. Wolfe, former provost at Brooklyn College and architect of the college's core curriculum.
Michael Kahn's Contract
Michael Kahn, artistic director of the Shakespeare Theatre at the Folger, has signed a five-year contract, to begin with the 1990-91 season. Kahn became artistic director in 1986 following the theater's separation from the Folger Shakespeare Library.
"I'm quite pleased, it's so gratifying, not only in the response to what we've been doing but now also to be able to plan for the future," said Kahn.
Kahn says he is pleased with the theater's progress, both artistically and financially. "We've been sold out now for almost two years, our subscription has doubled," he said. "Now we can concentrate on our national profile and enhancing our programs. We have to continually plan for our funding but now we can talk about a 'vision.' "