Revelations: The Autobiography of Alvin Ailey

Alvin Ailey, Author, A. Peter Bailey, With Carol Publishing Corporation $19.95 (183p) ISBN 978-1-55972-255-1
Though choreographer Ailey (1931-1989), founder and artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, lived for 30 years in the public eye, the details of his life and character have remained largely mysterious, glimpsed only in such acclaimed signature works as ``Revelations'' (1960). The African American dancer, brought up in small-town, segregated Texas, was born to poverty. In his autobiography, he remembers ``branches slashing against [his] child's body that is glued to his mother's body as they walk through the mud in bare feet, going from one place to another.'' Ailey reveals the feelings of inferiority that plagued him throughout his life, from his brief but promising sortie as an actor to his ultimate success in the dance world. He also tells of his single, disappointing conversation with his father, Alvin Ailey Sr.; his mother's rape; his own mental breakdown in 1980, precipitated by the death of his friend and colleague Joyce Trisler; and his descent into drug dependency, leading to his hospitalization. Important people in his life discussed here include Carmen de Lavallade, Maya Angelou and Lester Horton. Ailey's homosexuality is handled with reserve. Coauthor Bailey is a journalist with the Richmond [Va.] Free Press. Photos not seen by PW. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-0-8065-1861-9
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