Alvin Ailey American Dancer Sarah Daley

Performing for over 50 years, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater continues to delight and enthrall audiences all across North America. This winter, the Alvin Ailey dancers return to the Auditorium Theatre with a tour repertory including four segments: Night Creatures; Pas de Duke; The River; and Revelations, now through Sunday, March 9.

Born and raised in Chicago, Alvin Ailey dancer Sarah Daley looks forward to performing for her family and friends in her hometown. As a child, Ms. Daley attended various performances of the arts at the Auditorium Theatre. Coming back to the Windy City is thrilling for this extremely talented dancer. On break from her intense training schedule, Ms. Daley sat down with me to share her background in dance.

Ms. Daley states,”I’ve wanted to dance since my mother put me in my first movement class. The more classes I took and years I spent training solidified my desire to pursue this as a career. The bulk of my early training was in classical ballet. As I got older, modern and jazz were added more frequently to my schedule. For that I’m grateful because those were the first of many steps that eventually led me to Ailey.”

On how her mother influenced her to dance, Ms. Daley shares, “My mother wasn’t a professional but I would watch her sing and dance around the house all the time. It was always so joyful and natural, I enjoy finding the same things now onstage.” Inspired by many over the years, Ms. Daley talks about her favorite instructor, “I will never not hear my teacher Watmora Casey’s voice in my head when I need a push or am second guessing myself.”

When asked what advice Ms. Daley would give to aspiring young dancers, she explains,”Self-confidence is key, competition is good as long as it’s healthy, and your biggest competition should always be yourself. Insecurity might always be lurking in the shadows but the trick is to not give those negative thoughts any power. Keep learning and reaching higher, pushing your peers to do their best by doing so yourself, and use each day as an opportunity to enjoy your craft even more. Most importantly, never take it all so seriously that you forget to have fun!”

Directing his third season, Artistic Director Robert Battle “stands by Ailey’s mission to inspire audiences in a universal celebration of the human spirit using the African-American cultural experience and the American modern dance tradition.”

“This season’s pairing of the amazing artistry of the Ailey dancers with important choreographic voices further expands our repertory and Ailey’s rich history of inspiring all through dance. It gives me great pleasure to share with audiences across the country new and acclaimed works by a variety of dance makers from Aszure Barton, Ronald K. Brown, and Bill T. Jones to Wayne McGregor, Ohad Naharin, and Jiří Kylián,” says Mr. Battle. “This tour marks 25 years since the passing of our legendary founder, whose vision of a diverse repertory flourishes in wide-ranging performances that include an Ailey/Ellington program with new productions from his celebrated collaboration with Duke Ellington, another American master. There will be much to see and celebrate during Ailey’s 23-City North American Tour as we continue to honor the pioneering legacy of Alvin Ailey.”


About Cindy Burns

Currently writing for TCW's 'Woman About Town' column, Cindy Burns covers Chicago's social scene, events, fashion, and interviews women and men who are making a difference in the world. With an M.A. in American History from DePaul University, Ms. Burns is an author, freelance writer, avid reader and researcher. Ms. Burns has spent over 20 years serving on charitable boards and organizations, and currently serves as a member of the Women's Board of the Joffrey Ballet and the Women's Auxiliary Board of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicago. She is also an Honorary Member of the Children's Service Board of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital. When Ms. Burns isn't running around Chicago covering current events, you can find her biking, on the tennis courts, or hiking in a mountainous region of her choice.