WMU News

Former Ailey dancer to work with students as visiting artist

March 20, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- A former member of the renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre is coming to campus March 26-27 to work with dance students at Western Michigan University.

Since his departure 13 years ago from the Ailey dance troupe, a company dedicated to the preservation of unique black cultural expression and the enrichment of the American modern dance heritage, Christopher Huggins has worked as a freelance artist. As a dancer, teacher and choreographer, he works in five European countries, Japan, and across the United States.

Born and raised in Boston, Huggins attended State University of New York at Purchase and the Julliard School. While studying at Julliard, he maintained a merit scholarship at the Ailey School. Ailey invited him to join the company, where he remained for six years, staging several of Ailey's works in Italy, Norway and the United States.

Huggins has appeared as a guest with several companies, including the Fred Benjamin Dance Co., Donald Byrd/The Group and played "Porgy" for Dallas Black Dance Theatre's ballet version of "Porgy and Bess" in 1994. He was a featured performer for Broadway's "A Few God Men," the Essence Awards 2000, and most recently Debbie Allen's "Soul Possessed" at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta. He is a 2002 recipient of the Ira Aldridge Award for Best Choreography awarded by the Black Theatre Alliance in Chicago for his work "Enemy Behind the Gates" for the Philadelphia Dance Company, better known as PHILDANCO.

While in Kalamazoo, Huggins will teach jazz technique and Experiencing Dance, the department's introductory dance history course.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 269 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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