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Alvin Ailey Dance Company leaps into Orpheum Theatre to inspire youth in Memphis

The world-renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre prepped for three performances the weekend of March 4, inspiring youth through transformative art and dance.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The world-renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre is leaping onto Memphis' Orpheum Theatre stage for three dazzling performances the weekend of March 4 and 5.

Remaining are performances on March 4 at 7:30 p.m. and March 5 at 2 p.m.

Students from across Memphis were treated to a special demonstration by some of the company's dancers on Friday. This was presented by the Orpheum Theatre Education Program at The Holloran Theatre. 

 Young minds were introduced to the world of dance by way of one of the world's artistic treasures.

"I kinda loved it," student of Grizzlies prep Andrew Lyons said. "Like how they  represented African American culture."

Jennifer McGrath is the Vice President of Education and Community Engagement at the Orpheum Theater. She said she finds it important for the Orpheum to offer these types of experiences because art has "the power to transform."

"It has the power to bring us together in community to grow, learn, heal, to express ourselves," McGrath said. "The incredible thing about the Ailey Company is that they are doing that through this really accessible art form, and for young people to be able to see themselves onstage preforming and engaging with this work can truly truly change their lives."

Solomon Dumas is Professional Dancer in the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

"It's a full circle moment because again I was once in those seats as a youth and a product of arts education programming," Dumas said. "It inspired me and gave me permission to want to choose the arts as a career path."

Dumas said the experience is not "just performance."

"It's about bringing dance back to the people, so that's what art education programming is about," he said.

Jennifer McGrath said she likes to look out at the faces of the young people as they are "just transfixed."

"What they showed me out there was wonderful; it was different, it was amazing," student Lyons said. "They were able to express themselves without having to say words or make sound. They were able to dance and do something they loved to express their feelings."

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