Alvin ailey dance foundation, inc

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Executive Director
The mission of the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation is to further the pioneering work of Alvin Ailey by establishing an extended cultural community which provides dance performances, training and community programs for all people.
Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation (Alvin Ailey) is a nonprofit organization comprised of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ailey II, The Ailey School, Ailey Arts in Education and Community Programs, and The Ailey Extension. As important as its artistic and educational mission, the organization celebrates the uniqueness of the African-American cultural experience and the preservation and enrichment of the American modern dance heritage.
The culture of Alvin Ailey is intense and fast paced, where all parts work to reinforce the whole. It is an organization where programs and functions are coordinated and much is asked from the Board operations and artistic staff. In spite of the intense nature of the work, the Alvin Ailey culture is familial, caring and recognized as one of the best run nonprofits in the country.
The Alvin Ailey American Dance Foundation is located at The Joan Weill Center for the Dance at West 55th Street and Ninth Avenue in New York City – a state-of-the-art facility opened in November 2004. Alvin Ailey has 82 full-time, 238 part-time and 60 seasonal employees, and a 2011 operating budget of approximately $31 million, of which 70 percent is earned and 30 percent is fundraised.

Founded in 1958, as the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, the organization has become a successful multifaceted nonprofit that includes the following:

  • The Company numbers 30 of the most talented and versatile dancers in the world, and its diverse repertory is unparalleled in modern dance. A typical Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater season includes an international tour and a U.S. tour to over 20 cities, and a five-week season at New York City Center, where the company has performed since 1972 and they are The Principal Dance Company. The 2011-12 season marks a historic moment as Robert Battle takes the helm as only the third Artistic Director in the company’s 53-year history, following the illustrious tenure of Judith Jamison and the founder, Alvin Ailey.

  • Ailey II was founded in 1974 in response to Mr. Ailey’s dual concern for the development of young artists and new dance audiences. Ailey II is comprised of 12 of The Ailey School’s most talented scholarship students. They have become a renowned performing

company with extensive performances in a variety of venues, ranging from the theaters to special performances for senior citizens. Ailey II reaches audiences in more than 50 cities each year throughout the United States and tours internationally.

  • The Ailey School is the official school of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Founded in 1969, the school offers students more than 375 classes weekly in a wide variety of dance techniques. The school’s scholarship program provides assistance for gifted students, many of whom would otherwise be unable to pursue professional training; more than 300 scholarships are awarded each year, with over 70 percent of financial assistance going to minority students. The Ailey School also offers a bachelor of fine arts degree in dance in conjunction with Fordham University.

  • Ailey Arts in Education and Community Programs provide 100,000 young people a year with access to the following Alvin Ailey programs:

    • AileyDance Kids – which presents dance classes and cross-curricular lessons to over 4,000 public school students in New York and New Jersey;

    • Revelations: An Interdisciplinary Approach – a curriculum-based initiative which enables teachers and students to examine Alvin Ailey’s signature work, Revelations, through social, cultural and aesthetic lenses, connecting it to academic subjects such as language arts and social studies, while also giving them a unique hands-on dance experience with this modern dance masterpiece.

      • Ailey Extension – a program of dance and fitness that is open to the public. Since inception in 2005, more than 60,000 people have taken classes.

The Executive Director is responsible for articulating the institutional vision and creating the long-range strategic plan while leading, managing and participating in the complex day-to-day operations. The Executive Director serves as the bridge between the artistic aspirations of the Artistic Director and the company, and the practical realities of the available human and financial capital. The Executive Director is the supportive and collaborative partner to the Artistic Director, Board, staff, and other constituencies that make up and support the Alvin Ailey community.
The Executive Director will report to, and communicate regularly with, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees. Working in partnership with the Artistic Director and senior staff, the Executive Director will be expected to manage conservatively, while thinking strategically about how to prioritize and support the aspirations of the artistic side of the organization.

The Executive Director will generate new sources of revenue, grow a new generation of audiences and supporters, and implement a long-range strategic plan.
The Executive Director oversees all administrative and educational departments within the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation. The Executive Director is expected to directly participate in fundraising, marketing and communications efforts, and to represent Alvin Ailey at many external functions. The Executive Director will play a significant and active role in cultivating donors, marketing the organization and its programs, building brand awareness, and generally increasing levels of private and public support and engagement. In concert with the Artistic Director, the Executive Director will act as an advocate and spokesperson for Alvin Ailey around the world.
With the Board and the Chief Financial Officer, the Executive Director will formulate, implement, and monitor annual and long-term financial plans and budgets. In addition, the Executive Director will preserve and enhance the rich history and reputation of Alvin Ailey, while maintaining the highest degree of financial stability and growth.
In collaboration with the Artistic Leadership, the Executive Director will also manage the organization’s relationship with its performance venues. The Executive Director will ensure that the requisite funds are available to support and implement a continued level of artistic, programmatic and educational excellence.

General Management

  • Work closely with all stakeholders – the Board, Artistic Director, artistic staff, administrative and production staff, advisory boards, major donors, foundations and corporations;

  • Plan and execute new capital projects and seek ways to extend the company’s reach;

  • Monitor the annual business plan and a longer-term business strategy that ensure financial stability, maintain and enhance the artistic excellence of the organization, grow new audiences and deepen relations with core audiences;

  • Ensure, by effective leadership and management, that the day-to-day operations and programs of Alvin Ailey are professionally and efficiently organized and administered;

  • Balance external and internal focus; hold everyone to the highest level of accountability and consistency; empower and delegate appropriate responsibility among staff members;

  • Maintain organizational cohesiveness and build upon the sense of institutional pride associated with this world-class organization; provide leadership to the senior staff and foster an atmosphere of cooperation, communication, and collaboration among departments and with the dancers; staff the organization appropriately and motivate, encourage, integrate and guide the entire team;

  • Oversee and monitor all elements of the organization’s finances with the Chief Financial Officer and appropriate Board committees; ensure that there is financial stability by developing realistic financial plans with balanced budgets and attainable revenue projections; review the financial plan and the budget during the course of the year; refresh, change, and modify budget to mesh with the realities of cost containment and any increased revenue needs;

  • Actively participate in union negotiations.

Board Relations

  • Establish a collaborative working relationship with the Chair and the Executive Committee of the Board; with the Board, ensure that governance and management are aligned; engage the individual Board members and understand their strengths and capabilities, channeling their energies toward Alvin Ailey’s mission and activities, and bringing forth their best ideas, efforts, resources and contacts;

  • Implement Board policies, goals and objectives; keep the Chair and members of the Board informed of all relevant issues; attend all Board meetings and committee meetings as required;

  • Assist in identifying and developing new Board members.

External Relations

  • Participate in increasing all levels of fundraising through cultivation of new individual donors, continued and new support from foundations, corporations and government agencies;

  • Support the public relations efforts as an enthusiastic ambassador and spokesperson for the organization to multiple constituencies, including the media, the dance and arts and education communities, donors and patrons, and the general public;

  • Take responsibility for overall marketing and branding strategy and enhanced use of social media to increase awareness and promote all Alvin Ailey programs and performances;

  • Actively plan, budget and staff the annual Alvin Ailey galas to meet goals.


The ideal candidate will have the following experience and qualifications:

  • Senior-level management and leadership responsibility with a performing arts (preferably dance) organization known for artistic quality and organizational excellence, or as a professional or volunteer leader with significant business experience; an informed passion for the performing arts is a must;

  • Demonstrated skills to envision and set strategic direction, create and implement short-term and long-range business plans, and seek and obtain buy-in from all constituencies;

  • Strong financial management, business and analytic skills combined with a record of success directing people, ideally with dancers, arts educators or other artists in an institution of significant size and scope;

  • Experience negotiating union contracts, fees for touring and other programs;

  • Enthusiasm for, and a commitment to, fundraising with measurable success identifying, cultivating and soliciting major donors, and generating other sources of revenue;

  • A solid understanding of new media, marketing techniques and the use of emerging technologies; actively use these tools to effectively build new audiences;

  • A track record as an effective communicator; the presence and credibility to serve as an enthusiastic spokesperson for Alvin Ailey with outside communities, the media, government agencies, supporters and donors.


The ideal candidate will be:

  • Committed to Alvin Ailey’s artistic mission, with an informed passion for the performing arts and modern dance, an understanding of the nature and needs of the committed artists who create it, and a sense of responsibility for the living tradition for which Alvin Ailey is so distinguished;

  • An individual with a naturally consultative and participative management style who also can act decisively;

  • A strong leader who is secure and self-confident; a person of impeccable integrity who engenders trust and confidence in all the constituencies with which he/she will deal;

  • Able to strategically manage a complex institution of international eminence with a hands-on approach to day-to-day operations;

  • A visionary – creative, inspirational and charismatic with the ability to collaborate with, and encourage, the best from others;

  • A diplomatic and skillful negotiator with an open-minded, patient and consultative manner; a leader who listens well, bends when appropriate and, yet, is firm and decisive when necessary;

  • Emotionally mature, with a sense of humor and the sensitivity to work with diverse personalities.

Nominations and applications should be sent to Susan Meade and Addie Jones at

Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation, Inc.

March 2012

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