2019 AileyCamp Open House Topeka

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Join KCFAA as we celebrate our 2019 AileyCamp staff and students in Topeka!  Come out to see why your support matters. AileyCamp began in Kansas City, Missouri 31 years ago and is in its 19th year in Kansas.  AileyCamp has been replicated in 10 cities across America and is a testament to Alvin Ailey’s commitment to  “deliver dance back to the people”.
The program uses the art of dance to teach young students critical life skills, pro-social skills and healthy lifestyle choices.  Each year, our staff members work with more than 200 middle school-age students (10-15), on both sides of the Stateline to help them create the personal tools needed to improve self-discipline, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
We invite you to learn more about AileyCamp on June 19. An RSVP is not necessary, but appreciated.
Wednesday, June 19
6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Family and General Public Tours
Topeka Shawnee County Library
Marvin Auditorium 101ABC

KCFAA Board Member to join Starr Women’s Hall of Fame

Bunni Copaken to join Starr Women’s Hall of Fame

Bunni Copaken to join Starr Women’s Hall of FamePhilanthropist Advocates for Women and the Arts

Bunni Copaken to join Starr Women’s Hall of Fame

The Starr Women’s Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing extraordinary Kansas City women, preserving the history of their accomplishments and inspiring women everywhere. Bunni Copaken is one of the outstanding women in the 2019 class of honorees.

“Copaken is best known as a philanthropic leader and community advocate who believes unequivocally in the importance of equity and opportunity for women and in the power of the arts to unite people,” says Angela Gieras, executive director of the Kansas City Repertory Theatre.

Copaken is a founding board member of the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey (KCFAA), and a longstanding member of the Kansas City Repertory Theatre board of directors. She shares the belief of renowned dancer Alvin Ailey that the arts break down artificial barriers between people and unite communities. Fueled by this, she empowered and mobilized people to create a community around the arts in Kansas City.

“Copaken’s vision of the arts as a vehicle to promote racial understanding and inclusivity led her to create opportunities for people from disparate backgrounds to meet, connect and create something wonderful together,” Gieras says. “Out of these connections, which Copaken lovingly fosters to this day, has risen a city united and inspired by a common passion in the arts.”

She was instrumental in creating the KCFAA AileyCamp, now replicated in 10 cities nationwide, an award-winning day camp built on the philosophy that the skills needed to learn dance are the same skills needed for broader success in life.

Read the full article from UMKC Today by clicking here.

Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey’s Presents Gone Before

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Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey (KCFAA) is proud to present the premiere of Gone Before, a brand-new dance odyssey about struggle, survival, hope and transformation on March 27 and March 28 at the Folly Theater.

Community groups, organizations, families and individuals are invited to special presentations of Gone Before.  It is a universal migration story that challenges the ideas of borders and freedom of movement. This multimedia, educational and engaging dance theater performance is for individuals of all ages. It features dancers, poets, vocalists, percussionists, a turntablist and cartoonist.

Community Group reservations (made through KCFAA office):

$8.00 per group member

Free: 2 chaperones per organization

$8.00 each additional chaperone

General public (Online purchase):  $10 per ticket


Contact Ada McNeal at (816) 471-6003 x0 or ada@kcfaa.org to schedule your group to attend a Gone Before presentation.

Gone Before is a universal migration story that challenges the ideas of borders and freedom of movement.

** Your school may be eligible to receive a Big Yellow School Bus Grant

The Ailey School Auditions

Ailey School’s Junior Division

First Friday – Free Hip Hop Classes (Heels Optional)

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Join Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey’s own Elaina Paige at 6 p.m. and/or 7 p.m., Friday, February 1 for a fun hour of hip-hop dance class.  Feeling adventurous?  Bring your friends to Elaina’s “heels” edition at 7 p.m. (heels are optional).

It’s First Friday – KCFAA style!

Highly-Acclaimed NY Dancers Return to Kansas City

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2019 Ailey Trio public performance

KCFAA Presents Ailey Trio

Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey (KCFAA) will present Ailey Trio in a free 60-minute public performance at the Gem Theater on Thursday, January 10 at 7:00 p.m.

Ailey Trio, established in 1993, is unique to Kansas City and an important part of KCFAA’s arts education programming. Taking a short break from their rigorous schedule with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, three AAADT dancers bring their talent to KC to introduce Alvin Ailey’s vision and legacy to students, supporters and community members.

“The trio is a great way to see Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater dancers perform the highly-acclaimed repertory straight from New York,” said KCFAA Chief Artistic Officer Tyrone Aiken.

The Ailey Trio performance allows audience members to experience the elite dance style of AAADT and explore how dance is a connector to culture, physical fitness, sequencing and artistic expression. The program was created by KCFAA for Kansas City and replicated by AAADT to perform across the country.

A KCFAA Members-Only event will take place prior to the public performance. If you are a member, click here to RSVP by January 8, 2019. Members will be able to meet the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater dancers, enjoy a light supper and network with fellow KCFAA members and community leaders!

Not a member? Visit www.kcfaa.org/join to join! Questions about membership? Contact KCFAA Interim CEO Melanie Miller at melanie@kcfaa.org.

Time: 5:30 – 6:45 p.m.
Date: Thursday, January 10, 2019
Location: Gem Theater, 1615 E 18th St, Kansas City, MO 64108

FREE Public Performance
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Date: Thursday, January 10, 2019
Location: Gem Theater, 1615 E 18th St, Kansas City, MO 64108

Meet the artists!

2019 Ailey Trio public performance

Jacquelin Harris (Charlotte, NC) received a silver ARTS award from the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts and was a Presidential Scholar in the Arts semifinalist. She graduated with honors from the Ailey/Fordham BFA Program in Dance. In 2016, Ms. Harris was named “25 to Watch” by Dance Magazine. She was a member of Ailey II and joined the Company in 2014.

Kanji Segawa (Kanagawa, Japan) came to the U.S. under the Japanese Government Artist Fellowship to train at The Ailey School. Segawa was a member of Ailey II from 2000-02 and Robert Battle’s Battleworks Dance Company from 2002-10. He worked extensively with choreographer Mark Morris from 2004-11, repeatedly appearing in Mr. Morris’ various productions with Mark Morris Dance Group, including as a principal dancer in John Adams’ Nixon in China at The Metropolitan Opera. In addition, Mr. Segawa assists and works closely with choreographer Jessica Lang since 1999. Mr. Segawa joined the Company in 2011.

Michael Jackson, Jr. (New Orleans, LA) began his dance training at age 14 at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C., under the direction of Charles Augins. He became a member of Dance Theatre of Harlem Dancing through Barriers Ensemble in 2005. In 2006, he joined Dallas Black Dance Theatre and in 2008 joined Philadanco, where he also worked as Artistic Director of D3. Mr. Jackson joined the Company in 2011 and rejoined in 2015.

First Friday with the Hart Twins!


We are so excited to have Anthony and Antwain Hart join us for First Friday on December 7!  We will be hosting FREE hip hop classes at 6 and 7 p.m. at our studio 1714 East 18th Street, Kansas City, MO 64108.

The Hart Twins have been teaching for 10+ years in both the competitive dance and professional dance world. Performing for various productions such as Disney, MTV, 20th century Fox, as well as countless TV shows and commercials. The Hart Twins wanted to shift some of their efforts towards their passion for teaching. Seeing a lack of skillful hip hop training in the competitive dance world, the Hart Twins have designed their very own Hart Hip Hop Academy to successfully mold students into well trained hip hop dancers. 

We hope to see you at our FREE First Friday event!

KCFAA kicks off Paseo Dance Residencies with Latra Wilson


UPDATE: Due to weather related travel issues, the Modern Dance Master Class featuring Latra Wilson has been rescheduled for Monday, December 3rd.  Additional details can be found here.

Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey is excited to conduct three two-week residencies throughout the 2018/2019 school year.  In partnership with Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) and the Missouri Arts Council, this is the eighth year of providing youth with the opportunity to learn from experienced teaching artists.  Latra Wilson is this year’s first of three teaching artists to teach and choreograph for students in the dance department.  Her program focuses on Jazz dance technique.

The Paseo residency, with support from KCPS and the Missouri Arts Council, is designed to bring professional performing-teaching artists to Paseo Academy.  Artists coming to our programs have a passion for and commitment to urban high school populations. They serve as role models for students by helping them realize their potential and inspiring them to achieve their goals.

Choreographers will choose a Kansas City muse of inspiration such as cultural/historic institutions, landmarks, artists, or works of art for choreography. Students learn vocabulary, elements of movement/choreography while gaining local context. The students will perform the new choreographic work at Paseo Academy’s Kaleidoscope performances on April 25 and 26.

For more information on the Paseo residencies and how to get involved, contact Tyrone Aiken, Chief Artistic Officer.


About Latra Wilson:

Wilson began her dance training at The Dance Factory under the tutelage of Pamela Erwin and Thersa Bryce-Cotes. She went on to study at the University of Missouri-Kansas City where she graduated with a BFA in Dance. Ms. Wilson has had the distinct pleasure to train as a scholarship recipient at The Center Dance, Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, and Tisch Dance Summer Festival. Ms. Wilson has worked and performed with Taylor 2, Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey, Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company, Earl Mosely Diversity in Dance, Iluminate Artist of Lights, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’s production of “The Kiss” & world premiere of “Champion”, Owen/Cox Dance and Broadway Dance Lab Cycle 2. As a teaching artist Ms. Wilson is currently working with KCFAA, Youth Arts Academy and Alvin Ailey Arts in Education. In addition, Ms. Wilson just signed with McDonald Selznick Associates, also participating in various productions with The Box, Queen of The Night Late Night and Company Stefanie Batten Bland in NYC.

KCFAA Celebrates #GivingTuesday By Launching #KCFAAGiveForYouth


Giving Tuesday


This #GivingTuesday, Kansas City Friends of Alving Ailey (KCFAA) will celebrate giving by raising awareness on and pledging to raise funds for its youth programs like AileyCamp.

“We all know that #GivingTuesday connects diverse groups of individuals, communities and organizations around the world for one common purpose – to celebrate and encourage giving,” said KCFAA Chief Executive Officer Harlan Brownlee. “We joined the movement because it’s a perfect fit for KCFAA – an organization giving back to its community by helping youth develop positive life skills.”

KCFAA encourages individuals and organization throughout Kansas City and across the country to join the global giving event, by supporting its youth programs. Through interactive school programs, workshops, dance classes, and its summer intensive – AileyCamp, KCFAA is dedicated to empowering youth, teaching them to strengthen their idea of who they are and who they can become.

Join the cause on November 27 and share with friends and family.  Thank you for helping us to make dance accessible to everyone!  Visit www.kcfaa.org/giving-tuesday for more information.

Share with your friends and family socially using #KCFAAGiveForYouth

#GivingTuesday harnesses the collective power of a unique blend of partners to transform how people think about, talk about, and participate in the giving season. It inspires people to take collective action to improve their communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they believe in, and help create a better world.

“GivingTuesday demonstrates how every act of generosity counts,” Brownlee said.  “And every donation amount greatly benefits a grassroots organization like ours.”


The Mission of KCFAA

To make dance accessible to all people by presenting the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Ailey II, teaching young people critical life skills through dance, and modeling interracial and multi-cultural community partnerships.

Celebrate November’s First Friday With Us!


Every month, we love to celebrate First Friday! We are honored to provide free hip-hop dance classes to those who otherwise wouldn’t have access.

Join us this Friday, November 2!!

Two sessions to choose from (or attend both):

5:30 p.m.

6:30 p.m.  

Open to ALL ages and skill levels.