The absolute gold standard of American dance, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is renowned for celebrating the human spirit through the African-American cultural experience and the American modern dance heritage. Their mission to further the pioneering vision of the choreographer, dancer, and cultural leader Alvin Ailey by building an extended cultural community allows them to play a crucial social role using the beauty and humanity of the African-American heritage and other cultures to unite people of all races, ages, and backgrounds. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater grew from a now-fabled New York City performance in March 1958. Led by Alvin Ailey and a group of young African-American modern dancers, that performance forever changed the perception of American dance. Since then, the Ailey company has gone on to perform for an estimated 25 million people at theatres in 48 states and 71 countries on six continents—as well as millions more through television broadcasts, film screenings, and online platforms.