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Ailey's Opening Night

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater celebrated its 50th anniversary Wednesday night with a special performance and gala dinner.

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Oprah Winfrey in Maria Pinto

Oprah Winfrey in Maria Pinto.

Photo By Steve Eichner

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater celebrated its 50th anniversary Wednesday night with a special performance and gala dinner.

"You can only be 50 once," Ailey artistic director Judith Jamison said to the crowd. "Some of y'all remember it."

Ailey company members and students danced excerpts from "Blues Suite," "Cry" and "Revelations," during which Jessye Norman sang on stage. Afterward, guests including Susan Fales-Hill, Tiki Barber, Mark Badgley and James Mischka, Terry Lundgren, former Citigroup chairman Sandy Weill and his wife Joan walked to the Sheraton for dinner and dancing in a ballroom strewn with white umbrellas like those seen in Ailey's Revelations.

Honorary chair Oprah Winfrey slowly made her way through the hall surrounded by security, but that didn't stop her from taking photos with fans.

"I kissed Oprah," screamed one admirer.

"She was touching my arm," his friend gushed.


For complete coverage, see Monday's WWD.