Ailey II Drops Director, Citing ‘Inappropriate’ Communications


Troy Powell was dropped as the artistic director of Ailey II, the junior troupe of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, after an outside investigation concluded that he had engaged in “inappropriate communications” with adult students in the company’s training program, a spokesman for the company said on Monday.

Mr. Powell was put on a leave of absence in June, when an investigator was retained to look into “troubling comments” made about the artistic director on social media, said the spokesman, Christopher Zunner, in a statement.

The investigator reported that Mr. Powell, 51, had communicated inappropriately with adults in the Ailey School, the educational arm of the troupe, who were interested in moving up to the junior company. The statement did not provide any details as to the nature of the communications.

“Because his conduct was inconsistent with the standards expected of Ailey’s staff, executive leadership concluded that Mr. Powell could not continue in his position with the organization,” the statement said.

In an Instagram video posted last month, Addison Ector, a former student at the Ailey School, said that during his time there, Mr. Powell messaged him and sent him an “unwanted picture.” Mr. Ector, who said that he later unsuccessfully auditioned for Ailey II, said he “ended it right there” with Mr. Powell.

Mr. Ector said in the video that he knew of other students who had received messages from Mr. Powell.

“He tries to get them to go out,” Mr. Ector said. “He tries to get them to go to his house.”

Mr. Powell did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Ailey School trains dancers, ages 2 to 25. Its students often progress to spots with Ailey II, whose dancers tend to feed into the main company (in 2014, the company said that nearly 70 percent of its members at that time had been in Ailey II).

Mr. Powell, who stepped into the role of artistic director of Ailey II in 2012, is the second person to lead the troupe since it started in 1974. He started at the Ailey School when he was 9 years old and moved up to Ailey II, and then the main company; next, he became a master teacher for the Ailey School and resident choreographer for Ailey II.

Mr. Powell was mentored by Sylvia Waters, who led Ailey II for nearly four decades. In the years since he became artistic director, the Ailey company has said, Mr. Powell, a highly acclaimed dancer in his own right, brought a “fresh dimension” to the junior company.

Mr. Powell’s biography has been removed from Alvin Ailey’s website.

Gia Kourlas contributed reporting.

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