Dancer and choreographer Judith Jamison of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater was honored at a reception at Cal State Northridge on Tuesday.
The event, hosted by CSUN's Du Bois-Hamer Institute, marked the New York-based dance troupe's 40th anniversary and its Los Angeles engagement Thursday through Sunday.
About 50 CSUN faculty members, staff and students and members of the Panorama City-based National Council of Negro Women attended the reception.
"We wanted to honor Judith Jamison because of how much she has contributed culturally to the dance world and to make her feel welcome in the Valley," said Barbara Rhodes, a professor of Pan African studies at CSUN.
Rhodes presented Jamison, currently artistic director of the dance troupe, with a crystal apple from CSUN's Pan African studies department.
"An apple for the teacher," Rhodes said.
In celebration of the dance troupe's 40th anniversary, Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke declared Thursday Judith Jamison/Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Day, said Gay Iris Parker, a representative of the dance troupe.
Thursday's performance will mark the first time that the dance troupe will perform at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the Music Center in downtown Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles engagement will also feature another first: live music.
"It's a miracle for this to be happening because we've never done live music on the road before," Jamison said. "Everyone will be able to enjoy what live music brings to the Music Center and the variety of dance that the Alvin Ailey troupe brings."