A native of Philadelphia, Judith Jamison made her New York debut with American Ballet Theatre in 1964. When she joined the company of Alvin Ailey the following year, she found her artistic home. Ailey created many important roles for her, including his classic Cry, and she remained with the company until 1980, when she left to pursue independent projects such as starring on Broadway in Sophisticated Ladies with Gregory Hines. In 1988, she established her own company known as The Jamison Project, administered and nurtured by Jacob’s Pillow. It was under the auspices of this project that Jamison commissioned Garth Fagan to create a solo for her, the last she would undertake in her performing career. The Jamison Project came to a natural conclusion in 1989 when Ailey asked her to take over as Artistic Director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Jamison retired from this role in 2011, selecting Robert Battle to succeed her.