38 Alvin Ailey Quotes on Dance, Life and Blacks

Alvin Ailey a pioneering choreographer founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1958 envisioning a platform for Black dancers to express a range of emotions and experiences.

His Texas upbringing rich in blues gospel and love deeply influenced his work.

His classic “Revelations” gained global acclaim and the company undertook extensive tours including performances at prestigious venues and events.

Ailey’s dedication was apparent in his creations and the company’s growth.

Alvin Ailey Quotes

Tragically he passed away in 1989 from AIDS but his legacy endures inspiring new generations through his belief in dance’s transformative power.

The company’s achievements such as international tours prestigious awards and collaborations with celebrated artists marked significant milestones in the evolution of modern dance.

Here are some of the powerful quotes by Alvin Ailey.

Best Alvin Ailey Quotes


Nothing personal; I just don’t have people over. ~ Alvin Ailey.


I wanted to explore black culture, and I wanted that culture to be a revelation. ~ Alvin Ailey.


In this business, life is one long fund-raising effort. ~ Alvin Ailey.

Racism tears down your insides so that no matter what you achieve, you’re not quite up to snuff. ~ Alvin Ailey.

I am trying to show the world that we are all human beings and that color is not important. What is important is the quality of our work. ~ Alvin Ailey.


I’m attracted to long-legged girls with long arms and a little head. ~ Alvin Ailey.

I always want to have more dancers in my company. ~ Alvin Ailey.

Lena Horne is the sweetest and most adorable woman in the world. ~ Alvin Ailey.

The creative process is not controlled by a switch you can simply turn on or off; it’s with you all the time. ~ Alvin Ailey.


One of the worst things about racism is what it does to young people. ~ Alvin Ailey.

If you live in the elite world of dance, you find yourself in a world rife with racism. Let’s face it. ~ Alvin Ailey.

Inspiring Alvin Ailey Quotes


One of the processes of your life is to constantly break down that inferiority, to constantly reaffirm that I Am Somebody. ~ Alvin Ailey.


I always want more. ~ Alvin Ailey.

Dance, it’s an enormous sacrifice. I mean, it’s a physical sacrifice, dancing hurts. You don’t make that much money. . . It’s a tough thing, you know, you have to be possessed to do dance. ~ Alvin Ailey.

When the dance bug bit me [my mother] said, ‘You go and do whatever you want to do.’ ~ Alvin Ailey.


I’m a choreographer. I create movement and I’m searching for truth in movement. ~ Alvin Ailey.

. . . as choreographers, [we] start with an empty space and a body or two and we say ‘Carve this space.’ I love creating something, where there was nothing before. ~ Alvin Ailey.


We still spend more time chasing funds than we do in the studio in creative work. ~ Alvin Ailey.

Our beautiful black songs from the churches. The joy of these people, of my aunts and uncles exploding in the church is something that was always with me. ~ Alvin Ailey.

Top Alvin Ailey Quotes

I feel an obligation to use black dancers because there must be more opportunities for them, but not because I’m a black choreographer talking to black people. ~ Alvin Ailey.

I’m interested in putting something on stage that will have a very wide appeal without being condescending; that will reach an audience and make it part of the dance; that will get everybody in the theater. ~ Alvin Ailey.


No matter what you write or choreograph, you feel it’s not enough. ~ Alvin Ailey.

My lasting impression of Truman Capote is that he was a terribly gentle, terribly sensitive, and terribly sad man. ~ Alvin Ailey.

I always felt that, that dance was a natural part of what I wanted to express, that what I can do with my body was a part, a very important part, of me and a way to release some of those things in myself that I had been looking for. ~ Alvin Ailey.

Its roots are in American Negro culture, which is part of the whole country’s heritage, but the dance speaks to everyone… Otherwise, it wouldn’t work. ~ Alvin Ailey.

Popular Alvin Ailey Quotes

In order to say something to an audience you’ve gotta get them to look at you and listen to you. So if I’m trying to make a protest statement the audience is much more likely to get that message if they can hear something like ‘House of the Rising Sun.’ ~ Alvin Ailey.


It will take very sophisticated marketing to achieve our aim of bringing more black people into the theater. ~ Alvin Ailey.

To provide a place of beauty and excitement, a place for other choreographers to experiment. To provide a place where people can come and feel like they can add themselves and then reap the benefits of what they put in. I want it to be easier than it was for me. ~ Alvin Ailey.

Choreography is mentally draining, but there’s a pleasure in getting into the studio with the dancers and the music. ~ Alvin Ailey.

It was a catch-as-catch-can dancer’s life. Everybody that I could ever dreamed of was here in New York City and when I got here, I immediately jumped into classes with all of them. ~ Alvin Ailey.


My feelings about myself have been terrible. ~ Alvin Ailey.

Dance is for everybody. I believe that the dance came from the people and that it should always be delivered back to the people. ~ Alvin Ailey.

Inspirational Alvin Ailey Quotes

We talk too much of black art when we should be talking about art, just art. Black composers must be free to write rondos and fugues, not only protest songs. ~ Alvin Ailey.


Sometimes you feel bad about yourself when there’s no reason to. ~ Alvin Ailey.

From his roots as a slave, the American Negro – sometimes sorrowing, sometimes jubilant but always hopeful – has touched, illuminated, and influenced the most remote preserves of world civilisation. I and my dance theater celebrate this trembling beauty. ~ Alvin Ailey.

Famous Alvin Ailey Quotes

I love the idea of people coming and working together. I love the idea of the discipline. ~ Alvin Ailey.


Money is a never-ending problem. ~ Alvin Ailey.

Making dances is an act of progress; it is an act of growth, an act of music, an act of teaching, an act of celebration, an act of joy. ~ Alvin Ailey.

So these were the top 38 Alvin Ailey quotes on dance and life.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Pat Tillman quotes and Norm Crosby quotes.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar