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Judith Jamison
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Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 9 to 10
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   9.05

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    choreography, choreographer, choreographers, thunderous, prestigious, restarted, doctorate, honorary, artistic, association, applause, appreciation, rejoined, semester, highlight, history-making
     content words:    Judith Jamison, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Judimar School, Marion Cuyjet, Delores Brown, John Jones, Fisk University, Philadelphia Dance Academy, De Mille, Four Marys
Judith Jamison

By Trista L. Pollard
1     On the stage stands a beautiful solitary dancer, tall and full of grace. The thunderous applause and shouts of appreciation erupt after her history-making performance. The dancer is Judith Jamison, and the moment is her performance of Cry in 1971. Jamison would perform this 15-minute solo many times during her career with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre (AAADT). It was one of many performances that would help Jamison become an international dance star.
 
2     Jamison's story begins in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on May 10, 1943. She was the younger of two children. As a child Jamison studied the piano and the violin. When she was six years old, she was very tall for her age. Her parents decided to enroll her in dance classes. They believed that learning to dance would help Jamison to develop grace and poise. Her early training was in classical ballet. She studied at the Judimar School of Dance in Philadelphia with Marion Cuyjet, Delores Brown, and John Jones who were all master teachers.
 
3     After graduating from high school, Jamison went to Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. She studied psychology at Fisk for three semesters. It was after her third semester that Jamison decided to study dance. She attended the Philadelphia Dance Academy to continue training in dance. Jamison's big break came in 1964 when she was discovered by choreographer Agnes de Mille. De Mille wanted Jamison to appear in her ballet The Four Marys at the American Ballet Theatre in New York City. So in 1964, Jamison made her American Ballet Theatre debut.

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