Jefferson, a longtime director of the Ailey School, died in Manhattan, New York on Saturday (17Jul10) after losing her battle with ovarian cancer. She was 65.
Jefferson trained generations of world-class performers at the Ailey School, the official training academy for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
A member of the Ailey School faculty since 1974, she was served as its director from 1984 until her death.
Alvin Ailey, the late dancer and choreographer who founded the company in 1958, is often credited with revolutionising African-American participation in concert dance in the 20th century and popularising modern dance.
Jefferson is survived by her mother, Irma Jefferson; her sister, Margo Jefferson; and a daughter, Francesca Harper.