"I choose to take you on a roller-coaster ride," Jamison explained, "and I choose dances that challenge the dancers but are also accessible to the audience. We're there to entertain, uplift, and educate. We're looking for a place that will touch you and move you and make you remember it for a lifetime.

"When you see a beautiful work of art," she added, "it changes you from when you came in the door."

During Jamison's 22 years at Ailey, she choreographed new dances, guided her dancers to become accomplished "citizens of the world," and built the largest dance community in the US, the Joan Weill Center for Dance, which opened in 2005 as AAADT headquarters.

Asked about future plans, Jamison replied, "I'll still be speaking for Ailey. It was given to me as a gift, and I'll still be in the pocket when it comes to celebrating Alvin and all he did for us so that we can do this."

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