Alvin Ailey To Get New NY Theater

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Tucked among hundreds of pages of city expenses proposed by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani for fiscal year 2001 was a one-line pledge of $7.5 million to build a colossal Manhattan home for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

The $47.5 million building — planned for Ninth Avenue and 55th Street — would replace the 43-year-old company's cramped, rented quarters at 211 W. 61st St., the organization said last week. The new center's design would double the company's dance floor space to 71,000 square feet.

"It's a historic event," said Sharon Gersten Luckman, executive director of the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation. "It was very important to us to get city money because, well, one, because of the money, but also because it represents the city's support."

Although not stipulated in the budget plan issued Wednesday, the city's gift would come as a matching grant amounting to 15 cents on the dollar, Deputy Mayor Anthony Coles said. The plan, as amended and approved by the City Council, takes effect July 1.

The company was founded in 1958 by its namesake, a Texas-born dancer who worked to promote the uniqueness of black culture and preserve modern American dance through choreography that fused modern, jazz and classical styles.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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