Judith Jamison

Dancer, choreographer
Judith Jamison uses dance as a medium for honoring the past, celebrating the present and fearlessly reaching into the future.

Why you should listen

Judith Jamison joined Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1965 and quickly became an international star. Over the next 15 years, Ailey created some of his most enduring roles for her, most notably the tour-de-force solo Cry. During the 1970s and 80s, Jamison appeared as a guest artist with ballet companies all over the world, starred in the hit Broadway musical Sophisticated Ladies and formed her own company, The Jamison Project. She returned to Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1989 when Ailey asked her to succeed him as Artistic Director. In the 21 years that followed, she brought the Company to unprecedented heights, including two historic engagements in South Africa and a 50-city global tour to celebrate the Company’s 50th anniversary.

Jamison is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, among them an Emmy, an American Choreography Award, the Kennedy Center Honor, a National Medal of Arts, a "Bessie" Award, the Phoenix Award and the Handel Medallion. She was also listed in TIME's list of The World’s Most Influential People and honored by First Lady Michelle Obama at the first White House Dance Series event. In 2015, she became the 50th inductee into the Hall of Fame at the National Museum of Dance. Jamison continues to dedicate herself to asserting the prominence of the arts in our culture.

Judith Jamison’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Judith Jamison

Live from TED2019

Possibility: Notes from Session 7 of TED2019

April 18, 2019

To close out day 3 of TED2019, we imagine different versions of the future — from the magical possibilities of deep-sea exploration to the dark future of humanity if something goes horribly wrong. Gulp. The event: Talks and performances from TED2019, Session 7: Possibility, hosted by TED’s Helen Walters and Kelly Stoetzel When and where: […]

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