Ailey II’s Meagan King. Photo by Nir Arieli.
Hailed as “second to none” by Dance Magazine, Ailey II features innovative choreography and some of the nation’s best up-and-coming dancers. We are thrilled to welcome Ailey II to the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center on October 7–8, 2022. We asked dancer Meagan King a few questions about touring, dancing in a company, and what audiences should look forward to this weekend.
Meagan King graduated magna cum laude from the Ailey/Fordham BFA Program, receiving the Glorya Kaufman Scholarship. She has been featured in Dance Spirit Magazine, The Today Show, and at the Holland Dance Festival. Ms. King was a student at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. She was the 2019 and 2020 BLOCH Ailey Young Artist. She is also an alumna of the 2018 Contemporary Program at Jacob’s Pillow. Ms. King has choreographed for the Color Me Beautiful production in Virginia and LaGuardia High School’s 2021 Senior Graduation Dance Concert. This is her second season with Ailey II.
What is your most memorable moment as an artist?
My most memorable moment as an Ailey II artist was my first performance of Robert Battle’s Takademe solo in Boulder, Colorado last season. It is an iconic solo I had always aspired to perform as a young student in The Ailey School. I felt that the audience was so engaged and present — from the giggles I heard in every intentionally humorous moment to the lovingly overwhelming standing ovation at the end. It was an incredibly proud moment to hold the stage on my own as a first-year member of Ailey II.
How does Alvin Ailey inspire you as a dancer and the company as a whole?
Alvin Ailey and his extraordinary vision for the company is what drew me in to begin exploring the magic that dance can bring. In his works, the ability to be an open book that is a clear mirror of humanity is what makes me and my colleagues remain invested in carrying on his legacy. He made himself relatable and accessible through the works he left behind for us.
Mr. Ailey was also a firm believer that artists develop a rich depth in their work when they live their “non-dancer lives” fully. This has taught me how special it is to layer in life experiences to movement so that it feels true to you as the performer and relatable to those in the audience in need of a dose of inspiration.
What is the most rewarding part of performing as a dance troupe?
The most rewarding part of performing with Ailey II is that, because each year brings new dancers, we are so clearly able to witness each artist’s growth in just one season. Though we do not have the luxury of spending more than two years together, it makes the time we have all the more special. From witnessing apprentices step into the joy of their first professional contract and company members own their power in new roles, we learn from and encourage each other’s blossoming as artists.
What does the company do when they’re not performing?
On the days we are not performing on tour, we often have a travel day to the next city or tech rehearsal for the venue we will be performing in. The dancers also do community outreach, teaching master classes in public schools and universities to share the Ailey legacy with people who may not have access to it. However, on days off, we use the time as restorative days and often make some time to explore the cities we are dancing in.
Why is it important to support early-career dancers? What opportunities does the company give them?
Supporting dancers in their early career, specifically through mentorship, is crucial to building a strong, lasting foundation. Mentorship has been the most prominent aspect of my experience with Ailey II. Our directors Francesca Harper and Lakey Evan-Peña have greatly helped to hone our craft in a way that is personal to each individual artist — through coaching our technical prowess, crafting artistry, and guiding us to bring forth the qualities that make us unique as human beings.
Thank you to Meagan King for answering our questions! Make sure to get your tickets for what is sure to be an unforgettable performance by Ailey II this weekend.
October 7–8 at 7:30 p.m.
Ailey II is universally renowned for merging the spirit and energy of the country’s finest early-career dance talent with the passion and creative vision of today’s most outstanding emerging choreographers.