Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation today announced that after two decades of accomplishments with the Ailey organization-16 of them as the organization's Executive Director-Sharon Gersten Luckman is planning to step down in 2013, in order to pursue new endeavors.
Over the past twenty years, Ms. Luckman has strategized and overseen the dramatic growth and success of the entire Ailey organization: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ailey II, The Ailey School, The Ailey Extension and Ailey Arts in Education & Community Programs, as well as the creation of the organization's state-of-the-art home and studio building, The Joan Weill Center for Dance, which opened in 2005. In so doing, Ms. Luckman has established one of the most remarkable records in American arts management for program development, marketing, promotion and branding, fundraising, financial stability and overall excellence.
In consultation with Ms. Luckman, a committee of the Board of Trustees has retained the executive search firm of Phillips Oppenheim to begin an international search to identify the next Executive Director of the Ailey organization.
"I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to work side by side with the superb staff and brilliant dancers of the Ailey organization, with two magnificent Artistic Directors, Judith Jamison and Robert Battle, with our wonderful Associate Artistic Director Masazumi Chaya, and with a deeply dedicated Board of Trustees under the invaluable leadership of Joan Weill," Sharon Luckman stated. "At Ailey, we often speak of ourselves as a family. I am very proud of what my family has accomplished over these past decades-and although I will now be moving on to other endeavors, I know I will always feel I'm a part of Ailey."
It is expected that the new Executive Director of the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation will be named by early 2013. Ms. Luckman, 66, will remain fully active for the next year and a half and will help facilitate a smooth transition to the company's new executive leadership.
"We are all deeply grateful to Sharon Luckman for guiding the Ailey organization with incomparable skill, strength and creativity," stated Joan H. Weill, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. "She has led us to a position of stability, prominence and public engagement that has truly set an extraordinary standard in the field of dance. The way she has planned this transition is entirely in keeping with her management style, making sure that we're able to stay on the course she has so expertly set. And on a personal level, it has been a great pleasure to work with Sharon all these years."
Ms. Luckman took an active role in the process of selecting Robert Battle to succeed Judith Jamison as Artistic Director of Ailey and planned her transition to begin now, after Mr. Battle had successfully launched his first season.
"Much like the Ailey dancers' extraordinary performances onstage, Sharon Luckman has been performing amazingly behind the scenes," Robert Battle stated. "She can execute three dozen managerial moves at once, all based on her own organizational choreography, and never lose her sense of absolute poise. I can't thank her enough for what she's built for our audiences and community, and for what she's enabled me to do artistically."
Sharon Luckman's tenure with Ailey began in 1992, when she was appointed Director of Development. In that role, she was responsible for planning and implementing all fundraising efforts for all of Ailey's programs, including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ailey II, The Ailey School, and Ailey Arts in Education & Community Programs. During her first season, the Company increased donations from corporations, foundations, government agencies and individuals by more than 50 percent. Since assuming her role as Executive Director in 1995, she has built a Board of Trustees of corporate and community leaders that has been praised as one of the most diverse and impressive boards among arts organizations in the nation.