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Holly Bass


Alvin Ailey debuted his choreographic masterwork Revelations in 1960 when he was only 29 years old. To date, it remains one of the most widely performed ballets in the world. I have had the pleasure of witnessing the evolving brilliance of his dance company countless times over four decades. Through this installation work captured on camera, I wanted to offer a glimpse of the man behind the mythic genius: to hear his voice as a mature artist and to view his raw elegance as a younger dancer within a dreamscape of symbols, colors and sound.

On a grassy hillside, a wooden framework the size of a shed contains a band of blue fabric, a rocking chair and a white parasol.
[Alvin Ailey], 2022. Holly Bass. Courtesy of the artist.
A color photo of a smiling African American woman with bright blue glasses.


Holly Bass

Holly Bass is a multidisciplinary performance and visual artist, writer and director. Her work has been presented at spaces such as the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, the 2022 Venice Biennale, the South African State Theater, Art Basel Miami Beach and others. Her visual art work includes photography, installation, video and performance. She has received numerous grants from the DC Arts Commission and was a 2019 Red Bull Detroit artist-in-residence and a 2019 Dance/USA Artist Fellow. She is a 2020-2022 Live Feed resident artist at New York Live Arts and a 2021-22 Smithsonian Artist Research Fellow. A gifted and dedicated teaching artist, she directed a year-round creative writing and performance program for adjudicated youth in DC’s Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services for four years as well as facilitating workshops nationally and internationally. She is currently the national director for Turnaround Arts at the Kennedy Center, a program which uses the arts strategically to transform schools facing severe inequities.

A black & white portrait of a young African American man, posing as if mid-dance.

Alvin Ailey at Jacob's Pillow, date unknown. John Lindquist. © Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Man of Change

Alvin Ailey

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