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Judith Jamison: Art and Dance

Painting by Judith Jamison
Painting by Judith Jamison

In December 2009 Judith Jamison celebrated her 20th year as Artistic Director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. In addition to her long career as a dancer and choreographer, she is also a visual artist. She was introduced to art by Geoffrey Holder.

According to an article at

Jamison explained that she turned to painting as relaxation several years ago when “the great (dancer-choreographer-painter) Geoffrey Holder asked me to come to his studio to play.

“We were just going to play, like kids,” said Jamison, who in the 1960s became friends with Holder and his wife, dancer Carmen de Lavallade, who as a high school classmate introduced Ailey to dance in Los Angeles by bringing him to class with Lester Horton.

“We used markers,” Jamison said. “He would make an ‘M’ and I would make a ‘C’ and as we played we would make a face.”

Judith Jamison has now combined her artwork with dance. Her latest work Among Us (Private Spaces: Public Places) includes her paintings as part of the set, and characters based on her drawings.  Among Us, includes original jazz compositions by ELEW and costumes by designer Paul Tazewell.

See the Pop Life Art celebrity artists list for links to the artwork of more than 100 actors, singers, musicians, and other well known individuals.