The historic dance group Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater made its annual trip to the Wang Theatre in Boston last week. What many people don’t appreciate is that the group has a long history of working with schools in the Boston area.

It’s the soul, the movement, the power and rhythm that captivate audiences as dancers glide across the stage. Music and movement furnish a universal  bond -- no matter what age.

Twelve-year-old Nezi Francis-Humes, a dancer at Jo-Mé Dance Company in Jamaica Plain, came with her dance troupe to watch the performance, singling out "Wading in the Water," as one of the best dances.

The girls, as young as 8, sat with eyes glued to the stage. Francis-Humes loved the movement, and loves the history of the dance company.

“Alvin Ailey, he came from nothing and he used his talents to help others who could be great dancers," Francis-Humes said. "They were feeding off of his energy and that started Ailey as a productive company."

Francis-Humes’s dance instructor Maylisa Chandler made sure the girls not only understood the history of Alvin Ailey, but what the troupe represents to these Boston kids.

“I just wanted them to see people like themselves that actually made it and are successful and are doing their passion,” Chandler said.

Ailey dancers have a long history of teaching dance programs at schools in the Boston area. For decades they taught at my alma mater Cambridge Rindge and Latin. This year it was the Boston Arts Academy. It’s something not widely known, but something longtime follower Sheila Jahnle appreciates just as much as watching the performances.

“I love the story the Alvin Ailey dancers tell," Jahnle said. "They have such meaning and as beautiful as it all is, I also take away the deeper meaning of what the dancers are trying to tell us."

Part of that story, a walk through the 1960s with "Revelations," is a piece choreographed by the late Alvin Ailey himself, with bright yellow costumes and gospel music. It took Brenda McClellan's breath away. this is her first time attending.

“I thought it was totally different than what I was expecting," McClellan said. "I thought it was just dancing, but this is soul.”

For aspiring dancer Francis-Humes, knowing these dancers have graced the halls of public schools throughout Boston helps make her dream as real as its real inspiration. She hopes to dance with them one day.