Robert Battle

Biography

Robert Battle became artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in July 2011 after being personally selected by Judith Jamison, making him only the third person to head the Company since it was founded in 1958. Mr. Battle has a long-standing association with the Ailey organization. A frequent choreographer and artist-in-residence at Ailey since 1999, he has set many of his works on Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Ailey II, and at The Ailey School. The Company’s current repertory includes his ballets In/Side and Strange Humors. In addition to expanding the Ailey repertory with works by artists as diverse as Kyle Abraham, Aszure Barton, Ronald K. Brown, Garth Fagan, Bill T. Jones, Jiří Kylián, Wayne McGregor, Ohad Naharin, and Paul Taylor, Mr. Battle has also instituted the New Directions Choreography Lab to help develop the next generation of choreographers. Mr. Battle’s journey to the top of the modern dance world began in the Liberty City neighborhood of Miami, Florida. He showed artistic talent early and studied dance at a high school arts magnet program before moving on to Miami’s New World School of the Arts, under the direction of Daniel Lewis and Gerri Houlihan, and finally to the dance program at The Juilliard School, under the direction of Benjamin Harkarvy, where he met his mentor, Carolyn Adams. He danced with the Parsons Dance Company from 1994 to 2001, and also set his choreography on that company starting in 1998. Mr. Battle then founded his own Battleworks Dance Company, which made its debut in 2002 in Düsseldorf, Germany, as the U.S. representative to the World Dance Alliance’s Global Assembly. Battleworks subsequently performed extensively at venues, including The Joyce Theater, Dance Theater Workshop, American Dance Festival, and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Mr. Battle was honored as one of the “Masters of African-American Choreography” by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2005, and he received the prestigious Statue Award from the Princess Grace Foundation-USA in 2007. He is a sought-after keynote speaker and has addressed a number of high-profile organizations, including the United Nations Leaders Programme and the UNICEF Senior Leadership Development Programme.

Repertory choreographed
by Robert Battle

 

News & Press

When Robert Battle, the artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, addressed the audience on opening night at New York City Center, he brought a prop along with him: a seat belt. "Next year," he joked, "we're going to sell them in the gift shop."
Last year, Robert Battle became the third person to head the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater since the company was founded in 1958. During the troupe's season in New York, which runs through Dec. 30 at City Center, Mr. Battle attends both the matinee and evening performances.
What will make an audience return to see the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater kick off another Spoleto Festival season? Will it be to see how Robert Battle, the newly anointed artistic director, will put his stamp on this cultural treasure of a company? Maybe.
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Video

Artistic Director Robert Battle talks about the history of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and what dance means to him.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Artistic Director, Robert Battle, dedicates the December 5, 2013 performance of Alvin Ailey's Revelations to the memory of Nelson Mandela.

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