Alvin Ailey first brought his groundbreaking modern dance company, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater to perform in Kansas City in 1968. Such was the response of the Kansas City community to his company’s work that Alvin Ailey, contemplating making a second home for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Los Angeles, decided to make it in Kansas City instead. In 1983, Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey was founded, and in 1984 Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s creation and performance of “For ‘Bird’ – With Love” celebrated KCFAA as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s official home away from home.
KCFAA furthers Alvin Ailey’s vision of making dance accessible to all people by presenting an Alvin Ailey dance company every year and by providing arts education programming to the Kansas City community. Programs include our six-week summer AileyCamp and our new year-round studio programs. Our programs serve more than 30,000 youth annually.
KCFAA also advocates for diversity of people and ideas through its programming. Our annual Symposium brings together local and national experts in the arts to discuss issues of race, place, and diversity. Setting the Stage, which takes place during Black History Month, is an interactive walk-through of African-American dance history. Our youth educational programming targets a diverse and underserved population and provides to many of them a chance to experience dance for the first time.
KCFAA awards include the 2003 Coming Up Taller Award from the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, presented by First Lady Laura Bush; the 2007 Governor’s Arts Award presented by the Kansas Arts Commission; and the 2008 Missouri Arts Award.
KCFAA’s programs and presentations have already reached more than 1.2 million people in the Kansas City area, and they will continue to inspire, educate, and transform thousands more every year for years to come.