Judith Jamison

American dancer

Judith Jamison (born May 10, 1943, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American dancer and choreographer, best known as the artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

Judith Jamison in 2012


  • I can't really hear the audience applause when I'm on stage. I'm totally immersed in the piece. But sometimes I get a lot of it and wonder, "Now, why did they applaud here?" If it's a white crowd, they usually applaud because they think it's a pretty movement. If it's a black crowd, it's usually because they identify with the message.
    • WomenSports magazine, p. 14 (September 1975)
  • People come to see beauty, and I dance to give it to them.
    • WomenSports magazine, p. 14 (September 1975)
  • I've always felt that complement of opposites: body and soul, solitude and companionship, and in the dance studio, contraction and release, rise and fall.
    • Dancing Spirit, ch. 1 (1993)
  • I have been guilty of watching Westerns without acknowledging that Native Americans have gone through the same madness as African Americans. Isn't it extraordinary that sometimes the most offended have not seen others being offended?
    • Dancing Spirit, ch. 3 (1993)
  • Dance is bigger than the physical body. When you extend your arm, it doesn't stop at the end of your fingers, because you're dancing bigger than that; you're dancing spirit.
    • Dancing Spirit, ch. 21 (1993)
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