Must-See Hell's Kitchen
by David Sokol, 05/18/2011
Courtesy, Alvin Ailey Dance Theater
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
405 W. 55th St., 212-405-9020 (building tours)
Like Greenwich Village, SoHo, DUMBO and other New York neighborhoods, Hell's Kitchen was the stomping grounds of artists—specifically Broadway performers—before it became the more haute address of today. Whereas theater professionals are now just one part of the population, the stomping still takes place, emphatically, at The Joan Weill Center for Dance. The six-year-old building is the home of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the group that Alvin Ailey founded in 1958 to celebrate African-American culture and modern dance in America. When the company is not touring, passersby can watch them rehearse through the building's glass curtain walls; dance fans can book a spot in formal tours of the Weill Center. The venue also includes an eponymous school and dance and fitness classes open to the public, expanding on Ailey's vision of having a laboratory and embassy for his unique form of expression.