An interview with Francesca Harper | Why Dance Matters

Francesca Harper, Artistic Director of Ailey II, is back where it all began. She trained at the Alvin Ailey School, where her mother, Denise Jefferson, was director for 26 years. She has also choreographed for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and now leads Ailey II, which fosters new generations of shining talent and will visit the UK later this year. Francesca has enjoyed an astonishingly varied journey through classical and contemporary dance – notably as a principal dancer with William Forsythe’s Ballett Frankfurt – not to mention in music and theatre. What has sustained her, and what does she hope to pass on to her young dancers?

Francesca Harper is Artistic Director of Ailey II, the celebrated second company to Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She began her career with Dance Theater of Harlem and was a Principal with William Forsythe’s Ballett Frankfurt. She performed with designers Issey Miyake and Gianni Versace, and on Broadway in Fosse, All Shook Up, and The Color Purple. A writer and recording artist, she has choreographed for companies including Ailey, Ailey II, Dance Theater of Harlem and The Francesca Harper Project. She was ballet consultant for the film Black Swan and movement director for Nick Cave’s The Let Go.

Ailey II’s Dance Consortium tour of the UK begins September 2023.

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