NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) --- Students from all over Hampton Roads enjoyed a performance by the world-renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Friday.

Around 2,000 students enjoyed a special matinee show at Chrysler Hall thanks to the Virginia Arts Festival.

“I believe we have a responsibility to educate but also entertain,” said rehearsal director Matthew Rushing from the Alvin Ailey Dance company.

It was a goal originally made by Alvin Ailey himself when he first started the multi-cultural dance company in 1958.

“Tradition is a very important thing to teach young people,” said Rushing.

“Not only are they amazing artists, but they are also bringing a culture message,” said Christine Foust, Director of Education and Community Engagement with the Virginia Arts Festival.

Many of the students got the chance to see a live performance for the first time.

It was also a chance for them to experience the art with a personal touch not usually offered to the crowd.

Choreographers led students in a crowd-wide dance lesson during the show.

The soul-inspiring show will allow many of the students to see themselves in a different light.