Alvin Ailey was born in 1931. After he saw a dance performance, he was inspired to become a dancer. In 1958, at just 27 years old, he opened or founded his own dance theater called the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Judith Jameson was a dancer at the Alvin Ailey Dance company. She was born in Philadelphia to parents who encouraged her to study piano and violin. She started dancing very early at the age of six.
She first danced with the American Ballet Theatre in New York. After dancing with them for about a year Alvin Ailey invited her to join his dance company. Jamison was a superstar and did many ballet shows for companies all over the world. However, when Ailey asked her to take over as artistic director she came with open arms.