Last night, a beautiful tribute was held to celebrate Ana Marie Forsythe, the recipient of the 2012 Balasaraswati Joy Ann Dewey Beinecke Endowed Chair for Distinguished Teaching. With an incredible career spanning more than five decades across the globe, Ana Marie Forsythe has made invaluable contributions to dance education and the preservation of important dance practices. On faculty at The Ailey School since 1973, she has served as the chair of the Horton department since 1979 and has tirelessly devoted herself to both the written and visual documentation of the Lester Horton Technique.
The evening featured remarks by leaders in the modern dance community, including Artistic Director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Robert Battle, The Ailey School Co-Director Melanie Person, and dancer Clifton Brown. ADF School Co-Dean Dr. James Frazier shared words by Dr. Thomas DeFrantz, Duke University Professor of African & African-American Studies and Dance, while ADF Director Jodee Nimerichter and ADF School Co-Dean Gerri Houlihan discussed her lasting impact on modern dance, as both a dancer and educator.
Ms. Houlihan states, “I have been aware of her work for a very long time, but never actually met her until the ADF Winter Intensive held at the Ailey Studios this past year. What a vibrant and joyful spirit! It is immediately apparent why she has inspired so many students and had such a profound impact on the legacy of the Horton technique.” Beyond “training exquisite dancers,” Dr. Frazier adds, “Ms. Forsythe has helped to maintain and to perpetuate the legacy of Lester Horton, through her teaching of the Horton Technique at the Ailey School and in the Ailey/ Fordham University BFA program, directly informing thousands of students, and through her artistic direction of an important series of instructional videos on the technique, touching thousands more. In this way, Ms. Forsythe’s commitment and excellence in teaching has fortified the living tradition of modern dance.”
A video tribute screened as part of the evening’s festivities, which we have included above for your viewing pleasure. Edited by the ADF Blog’s very own Cara Clark, the short film highlights the lasting legacy of Ana Marie Forsythe and her indelible impact on modern dance.