The Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation

Altman support for this premier American dance institution helps nurture the talent and career aspirations of young dancers at two critical stages: The Ailey Athletic Boys Program is a pipeline program that cultivates greater interest and technique among boys, 7-12, who would not otherwise have the opportunity to develop their dance skills at a young age or prepare adequately for Ailey’s Junior Division; and The Ailey School Scholarship Program identifies talented high school students and offers them diversified training and performance opportunities that will prepare them for more advanced levels of dance. Altman’s support helps to ensure that rigorous pre-professional training is accessible to all, regardless of income.


Seventy-seven percent of the current members of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater are former students of The Ailey School, and students in these two pipeline programs continue to make gains. In the past year, results included:

  • Student retention in the Ailey Athletic Boys Program climbed from 79% to 95% (67 boys) and the program now has an extensive wait-list. An additional Athletic Boys student matriculated in the Junior Division, bringing the number of alumni in that program to twenty-two;
  • Nine pre-professional Junior Division scholarship students joined Ailey II, Ailey’s second company. One of these students, Tommy Varvaro (seen in photo on Altman home page), is an alumnus of The Ailey Athletic Boys Program; and
  • Four Ailey II members who were previous scholarship students successfully auditioned for and joined the main company, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

Looking Ahead

Ailey anticipates that increased retention in the rigorous Ailey Athletic Boys Program will yield a growing cadre of talented young male dancers who are well prepared to matriculate to the Ailey’s preprofessional program and contribute to other New York-based dance schools and to the profession as a whole.