The 18th Annual Alvin Ailey Opening Night Gala, held on Tuesday February 8th, raised more than $1 million for the first time ever. The grand total was announced by BET chief executive and longtime gala co-chair Debra Lee from the stage. Tuesday’s crowd was also the biggest in the event’s 18-year history, with more than 900 people heading upstairs for the dinner.
The black-tie performance party was designed by celebrity event planner Andre Wells, well known for his elaborate and elegant party designs. Having beautifully coordinated over 4,000 special events, Wells was named among the Top 35 Event Designers in North America by leading event industry publication BizBash. Wells is proud to have worked with the Alvin Ailey company on this ground breaking event.
The gala benefit was held at the John G. Kennedy Center For Performing Arts , as part of a week long engagement celebrating the birth centennials of jazz legends Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie. Proceeds will go to support Alvin Ailey Dance Theater programs in Washington, D.C. including youth scholarships to attend The Ailey School, arts-in-education initiatives and the creation of new works.