Robert Battle’s bravura work mixes humor and high-flying movement in a savvy deconstruction of Indian Kathak dance rhythms. Clear shapes and propulsive jumps mimic the vocalized syllables of Sheila Chandra's syncopated score.
For Battle, the work represents his modest beginnings as a dance-maker and reminds him of how far he’s come. He created Takademe while still a dancer with the Parsons Dance Company, in a living room in Queens, New York. “Most dances have a lot to do with restrictions and problem-solving,” he explains. “And one of the problems was that we didn’t have a lot of space, so the dance stays very stationary. But then when we finally got studio space… the movement travels on a long diagonal. Freedom. I’m always reminded of that as a metaphor for where I am now with Ailey, where there is a remarkable amount of space.”
It’s unlikely that the young choreographer in that Queens apartment could have imagined the distinguished company he’d find himself in when critics embraced his work. “…one can add Battle’s name to the list of brilliant solo choreographers such as Isadora Duncan, Ruth St. Denis, and Ted Shawn,” praised the Los Angeles Times.
Generous support for this Company premiere was provided by The Pamela D. Zilly & John H. Schaefer New Works Endowment Fund and the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey through the generosity of the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation and individual donors.