“To touch, to move, to inspire, this is the true gift of dance.” ~Aubrey Lynch II
This quote, sprinkled all over the internet, captured many years ago, while still a student, is one Aubrey Lynch still lives by today. His life experiences and wide- career have taken him from Woodhaven Michigan and an unfinished University of Michigan Chemistry degree, well outside of the world of dance, through a deep understanding of music, theater, and visual design. As Dean of Students and Director of ABT Wellness & RISE with American Ballet Theatre, Aubrey works with the entire ABT organization, exemplifying that touching hearts, moving souls, and inspiring children and adults is the true gift of The Arts.
Before discovering his first language and love, ballet, at the Peg Harris School of Dance, Dancer’s Pointe, led by Olympic and World skating choreographer, Phillip Mills, and his wife Michelle Mills, and with Cecchetti teachers Lee Ann King and Jean Gloria Newell, he played the violin, clarinet, and flute until moving on to the richness of singing, theater, and visual design. Though he was ultimately one of the last dancers hand-selected by Alvin Ailey dancing with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, after performing with the Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble (now called Ailey II), Ailey’s junior company, his mentors pushed him to always strive to be more than a dancer.
Aubrey performed with the company until 1993, traveling to more than 20 countries and performing over 35 ballets, including some of Mr. Ailey’s greatest works, Reflections in D, Blues Suite, and Revelations. He had the honor of working closely with Judith Jamison, who succeeded Mr. Ailey as artistic director of the company in December 1989. Another aspect of Aubrey’s Ailey experience was the opportunity to work with young artists worldwide through the company’s outreach program, teaching master classes, and addressing audiences. During this time, he also performed as a principal dancer with Déjà Vu Dance Theater and served as its associate artistic director, working with friend and mentor, Barry Martin. Aubrey attributes much of the lyrical style that followed him through his career to the training he received working with Barry who pushed Aubrey hardest to hone skills outside of dance. Aubrey hopes that he is on the journey to becoming exactly who Barry had inspired him to be, a dancer who would ultimately understand and impact the entire industry.
Aubrey left the Ailey organization to pursue a career in film and television, appearing in TV commercials, print ads, and the movie The Next Step, an independent dance film choreographed by Donald Byrd. His performance credits also include live concerts and music videos with artists such as En Vogue and George Michael. Mr. Lynch also taught movement classes for deaf children and was a guest speaker at the Juilliard School, UArts, and other universities and arts institutions.
During his commercial pursuits, Aubrey taught himself to crochet and launched a line of wearable art. In her New York Times review, Constance C.R. White noted, “One of the most convincing creative fashion presentations put on recently was, not surprisingly, conceived by someone from the theater, Aubrey Lynch II.”
Aubrey continued concert work with Déjà Vu Dance Theater while being a guest performer with other companies including a tour to Japan with Virginia Johnson and dancers from Dance Theater of Harlem. He is also proud to have been an original company member of the now world-renowned and critically acclaimed Complexions Contemporary Ballet.
In 1997, Mr. Lynch was one of seven men and seven women chosen from the thousands of dancers who auditioned to be original cast members of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, Disney’s The Lion King. While performing in the cast, Mr. Lynch also acted as the production’s dance captain, dance supervisor, and ultimately as associate choreographer authoring the original dance manual that is still used by their creative team to remount the production today. In these roles, he no longer performed as a cast member, but restaged the work of Tony Award-winning choreographer Garth Fagan, working as part of a team responsible for casting, mounting, and maintaining all Lion King productions around the world. Aubrey mounted and maintained fourteen Lion King productions during its first ten years. As of 2023, The Lion King has been reproduced over twenty-five times since its 1997 debut.
Mr. Lynch is honored to have led a Lion King presentation for Oprah Winfrey, Gayle King, and the young ladies of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa in June 2007. Many of the philosophies and lessons Mr. Lynch teaches today, were born that afternoon with Oprah, Gayle, and those beautiful students.
Aubrey was brought in by Serino/Coyne Advertising as the creative and choreographic consultant for The Lion King ad campaign which included television commercials, print, and social media.
He returned to The Lion King in 2017 to work closely with Garth Fagan and help refresh the show for their twentieth anniversary, choreographing three new dances in the Broadway production. Aubrey worked on some of the early designs of Disney’s Cub School, a training camp for young Broadway hopefuls, ultimately mounting the program in scores of countries around the world. He also worked closely with the director of education and outreach, Peter Avery. He assisted with the initial development of the first child adaptation of The Lion King, a program bringing musical theater to schools, grades 3 through 8, including activities, curriculum, related learning, and performance. Now known as Disney Musicals in Schools’ The Lion King Experience KIDS/JR, he led their first workshops as well as piloted child adaptations of Frozen KIDS and Finding Nemo KIDS/JR. Aubrey is proud that many of the videos and photos featured in the website tutorials and printed material are the productions that he and his team at Harlem School of the Arts produced, piloted, directed, and choreographed. Click here to view the culmination of this project.
As the former Dance Director and Chief Officer of Education and Creative Programs at Harlem School of the Arts, ABT’s National Training Curriculum had a huge impact on his work, codifying the HSA’s school-wide interdisciplinary curriculum, exploring the power of an arts education in music, dance, theater, and visual arts. He has written, choreographed, and directed seven original productions, each with a unique life lesson, creating young, black, and brown heroes to inspire communities of every color. Furthering his conviction that children must see themselves onstage, he created The Harlemettes ®, a black and brown kick line. Radio City Rockettes provided Rockette Precision Technique classes and the Harlemettes participated in a pre-show performance at a Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Mr. Lynch has co-designed and co-led workshops and programs for the NYC Department of Education and mentored for YoungArts Week and Theater Development Fund’s Wendy Wasserman Project. He has shared this honor with other mentors including Thomas Schumacher, Alan Eisenberg, and Graciela Daniele among other high-level arts industry professionals.
As a former faculty member at The Therapeutic Arts Alliance of Manhattan and a certified life coach trained at the highly acclaimed Coaches Training Institute CTI, Aubrey continues to work with adults and creative arts therapists using dance, music, and art to explore often hidden deeper life issues. This movement series, a culmination of many of his life experiences, is currently held in Hudson NY at The Workshop Experience Weekend, produced by the Hillsdale Workshop Alliance in the Hudson Valley. Geared towards the non-dancer, these workshops allow anyone at any age to experience their birthright, the power of dance.
Mr. Lynch is the proud recipient of the 2009 Ailey School Apex Award presented annually to a member of the dance community who has had a profound influence on the world of dance and has impacted The Ailey School. Other awards include the Simply Positive Inc. Chery Byron Spirit Award 2017 for the scope of his career and the Wall Street Alphas Charitable Foundation’s Arts and Culture Award 2017 for his work with underserved communities. Aubrey was also honored by the White Plains Youth Bureau, which recognized his career achievements and the positive impact he has had on young people and the arts, at their annual dance benefit, where White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach and the Westchester Legislature proclaimed January 18 “Aubrey Lynch II Day.”
Aubrey has been on the faculty of The Ailey School and Steps on Broadway and is a frequent guest speaker and master teacher at schools and institutions around the world. Most notably, Aubrey has been a modern dance mentor at Miami’s prestigious Young Arts Week, an annual competition whose awards include a $10,000.00 scholarship and an opportunity to meet the President of the United States.
In collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center and Harlem Children’s Zone, Aubrey wrote, directed, and choreographed the event, Uptown Family Swing presented at the United Palace Theater for over 1500 audience members starring a very young Caleb McLaughlin. Nearly 100 students from nearly sixteen New York City academic and arts schools participated including Harlem Children’s Zone, The Ailey School, Steps on Broadway, and American Ballet Theatre’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School.
A firm believer that, “The arts aren’t extracurricular; they’re extra-essential,”®️ Aubrey launched Aubrey Lynch Extra Essential Arts AL-EEArts and Mr. Aubrey’s Show Kids MASK for which he is founder and Artistic Director. These organizations provide opportunities for children and adults to attain their highest level of excellence through artistic expression and commitment and a training ground and unique performance opportunities for the most gifted and passionate students. He believes that it is the responsibility of adults to ensure that every child finds the path to their grandest dreams.
As a mentor, Mr. Lynch has spent much of his career coaching and advising professional and pre-professional dancers, actors, and singers in dance, television, film, and Broadway including Aubrey Joseph, Netflix’s Cloak and Dagger, Eden Duncan-Smith, the motion picture Annie and Caleb McLaughlin from Stranger Things and Concrete Cowboy. He was also instrumental in the early careers of Shahadi Wright Joseph, Netflix’s Them and the motion picture Us, Brandon Victor Dixon, Hamilton, Ephraim Sykes, Ain’t Too Proud, Tony Award winner Renee Goldberry and coached kids who have gone on to book the Broadway shows Motown, Matilda, The House of Rock, Kinky Boots and others. Many of his alumni are studying at the world’s top universities, including Brown and The Juilliard School, and have danced professionally in Ballet Rambert, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, and Ailey II.
"ABT RISE articulates American Ballet Theatre’s belief that Representation and Inclusion will Sustain our Excellence,” and encapsulates ABT’s Diversity, Equality & Inclusion initiatives. Aubrey has received a DEI certificate from Cornell University’s prestigious eCornell program. Currently, as Dean of Students and Director of ABT Wellness & ABT RISE with American Ballet Theatre, he works closely with ABT’s DEI committees to hold ABT accountable to its DEI commitments. In this work, Aubrey encourages self-reflection and self-awareness as the first step towards a work culture of belonging and inclusivity. As there is a direct correlation between DEI and mental health, Aubrey is also passionate about pointing all ABT employees towards mindfulness.
Aubrey is also an ABT Certified Teacher, who has completed the ABT Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 3 of the American Ballet Theater National Training Curriculum and is on ABT’s Artistic Advisory Board of Examiners. Passionate about ballet being more accessible and inclusive, Aubrey is proudly on the Misty Copeland Foundation’s advisory council and an advocate for their BE BOLD program. Click here for more information.
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