UNC Men’s Basketball, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Carolina Performing Arts launch “Artists Are Athletes / Athletes Are Artists” campaign

Iconic brands collaborate to showcase stars and celebrate common ground

(Chapel Hill, N.C. – Jan. 5, 2023) – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Men’s Basketball, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Carolina Performing Arts have partnered to announce a new campaign: “Artists Are Athletes / Athletes Are Artists.” To launch this initiative, the organizations are releasing a video featuring renowned Ailey dancer Michael Jackson, Jr., as well as Caleb Love, the Tar Heels’ versatile junior guard. The video, set to a stirring original score, uses dramatic cinematography to showcase the power and virtuosity of the two video leads.

“We launched this collaboration to demonstrate the parallels between our prestigious athletic programs and one of the most iconic dance companies in the world, coming together at our country’s oldest public university,” said Alison Friedman, the James and Susan Moeser Executive and Artistic Director of Carolina Performing Arts. “Greatness comes in all forms of artistic and athletic excellence. This runs through the fabric of Carolina, and we want to illustrate this union in a visual way.”

The video makes use of two Carolina landmarks: the Dean E. Smith Center and Memorial Hall auditorium. These iconic venues, both located in Chapel Hill, make the ideal backdrop for the video’s precision sequence of graceful spins and gravity-defying leaps.  

“When I arrived on Carolina’s campus, I was amazed by the passion for athletics,” said Friedman, who took the helm of Carolina Performing Arts last year after two decades working in Beijing and Hong Kong, making her mark with artistic cross-cultural exchanges. “I knew we had to juxtapose the leading artists Carolina Performing Arts brings to Carolina’s stages and classrooms with the athletic prowess the University is known for to help broaden the audience and appreciation of both artistic and athletic excellence.”

“Basketball and dance have much in common. Both are physically demanding requiring strength, agility and skill, and allow us to express ourselves as artists, as individuals and within teams and groups. I encourage our great fans to support Carolina Performing Arts and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater as enthusiastically as you do our Tar Heel basketball team,” said Caleb Love, who led the Tar Heels to the NCAA Championship game last season. 

“It’s a thrill to leap into the world of Carolina basketball through this video highlighting the skill, grace and power that athletes and dancers have in common,” said Ailey dancer Michael Jackson Jr. “This exciting collaboration will move and connect fans of basketball and the arts, sparking conversations between two sets of passionate audiences. What better way to start our national tour and fulfill Alvin Ailey’s belief that ‘the dance came from the people and that it should always be delivered back to the people.'”

The video will premiere at the upcoming UNC Tar Heels Men’s Basketball game vs. Notre Dame on Jan. 7, 2023, and will roll out on all partners’ social media platforms the same day.

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About Carolina Performing Arts

Carolina Performing Arts is the leading multi-arts presenter in the American South, housed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Our public service mission is to spark curiosity and inspire members of our campus and community to discover and more deeply engage with the world. We collaborate with artists from across the globe — the Bolshoi Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Tony Bennett, Big Freedia, and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra to name a few — to create performing arts experiences in partnership with our community. In under two decades, CPA has presented thousands of performances and master classes by more than 450 artists from 56 countries and territories, commissioned 69 new works and hosted 48 world and U.S. premieres. Our performances, outreach, and campus partnerships have reached hundreds of thousands of patrons, students, and faculty. Students comprise 25% of our annual audience on average — one of the highest percentages in the nation among our peer major university presenters. We also open our venues to others to explore, create and celebrate their own work.

About Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, recognized by U.S. Congressional resolution as a vital American “Cultural Ambassador to the World,” grew from a now‐fabled March 1958 performance in New York that changed forever the perception of American dance. Founded by Alvin Ailey, recent posthumous recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the nation’s highest civilian honor, and guided by Judith Jamison beginning in 1989, the Company is now led by Robert Battle, whom Judith Jamison chose to succeed her on July 1, 2011. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has performed for an estimated 25 million people in 71 countries on 6 continents – as well as millions more through television broadcasts, film screenings, and online platforms – promoting the uniqueness of the African American cultural experience and the preservation and enrichment of the American modern dance tradition. In addition to being the Principal Dance Company of New York City Center, where its performances have become a year‐end tradition, the Ailey company performs annually at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, The Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley, CA and at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark where it is the Principal Resident Affiliate, and appears frequently in other major theaters throughout the United States and the world during extensive yearly tours. The Ailey organization also includes Ailey II (1974), a second performing company of emerging young dancers and innovative choreographers; The Ailey School (1969), one of the most extensive dance training programs in the world; Ailey Arts in Education & Community Programs, which brings dance into the classrooms, communities and lives of people of all ages; and The Ailey Extension (2005), a program offering dance and fitness classes to the general public, which began with the opening of Ailey’s permanent home — the largest building dedicated to dance in New York City, the dance capital of the world — named The Joan Weill Center for Dance, at 55th Street at 9th Avenue in New York City. For more information, visit www.alvinailey.org.

About Carolina Men’s Basketball

The University of North Carolina is a member of the NCAA Division I and Atlantic Coast Conference. Seven-time national champions. Won NCAA Tournament championships in 1957, 1982, 1993, 2005, 2009 and 2017 (the Helms Foundation declared the 1924 team national champions). Won 32 ACC regular-season championships (12 more than any other school) and 18 ACC Tournament championships. Played in a record 21 Final Fours, including at least one appearance in nine consecutive decades beginning in the 1940s. Ranks No. 1 in NCAA Tournament wins, No. 1 in ACC victories and No. 3 in all-time wins. Produced more first-team All-ACC selections (79) and U.S. Olympians (14) than any other school and the second-most first-round NBA Draft picks (54). Tar Heels have won 36 NBA championships as players, more than any other college’s alumni. Twelve Naismith Hall of Fame players and coaches. Eleven Tar Heels have won National Player-of-the-Year honors in 13 seasons. Prominent players include Hall of Famers Michael Jordan, James Worthy, Billy Cunningham, Bob McAdoo, Charlie Scott and Bobby Jones, Tyler Hansbrough, the ACC’s all-time leading scorer, and Vince Carter, Brad Daugherty, Walter Davis, Phil Ford, Antawn Jamison, Bobby Lewis, Larry Miller, Mike O’Koren, Sam Perkins, Lennie Rosenbluth, Kenny Smith, Jerry Stackhouse and Rasheed Wallace. Jordan was named the Greatest Athlete of the 20th Century by ESPN. Jordan is one of 39 Tar Heels who have earned 63 first-team All-America awards. Tar Heels have won 10 first-team Academic All-America honors. Six Naismith Hall of Fame coaches, including Dean Smith, Roy Williams, Frank McGuire, Larry Brown, George Karl and Ben Carnevale. Smith won 13 ACC Tournament titles, took teams to 11 Final Fours and won 879 games, the all-time record when he retired. Williams won three NCAA titles, nine ACC regular-season championships and three ACC Tournaments and led UNC to five Final Fours. Williams retired following the 2020-21 season with 903 victories, the third-most Division I wins in NCAA history. Former Tar Heel captain Hubert Davis became the program’s first Black head coach in 2021, led UNC to the NCAA East Region title, becoming the fifth individual to lead his team to the national championship game in his first season as a head coach, and won two National Coach-of-the-Year awards.

About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 112 master’s, 66 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 15 schools, including the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty, staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 356,000 alumni live in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. Territories and 161 countries. More than 188,667 live in North Carolina.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Jana Jackson | jana.jackson@unc.edu | 415.405.5102

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