Robert Battle

Robert Battle
Please Credit Photo: Artistic Director Robert Battle. Photo by Andrew Eccles

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 The Hunt, No Longer Silent, and Awakening, a 2015 world premiere – his first since becoming Artistic Director. In addition to expanding the Ailey repertory with works by artists as diverse as Kyle Abraham, Aszure Barton, Ronald K. Brown, Christopher Wheeldon, Rennie Harris, Hofesh Schechter, Jiří Kylián, Wayne McGregor, Robert Moses, 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. In 2014, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of the Arts and visited the White House to accept from President Obama on behalf of Alvin Ailey the National Medal of Freedom – the nation’s highest civilian honor. Mr. Battle was named a 2015 Visiting Fellow for The Art of Change, an initiative by the Ford Foundation. In October 2015, Simon & Schuster published MY STORY, MY DANCERobert Battle’s Journey to Alvin Ailey, an inspiring children’s book based on Mr. Battle’s life. 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.

Featured News Releases

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Artistic Director Robert Battle Announces Programming For Lincoln Center Engagement June 14 - 18

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, beloved as one of the world’s most popular dance companies, will return to Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts for a seven-performance engagement at the David H. Koch Theater June 14 – 18, 2017. Today, Artistic Director Robert Battle announced repertory for the season, which features the work of seven choreographers and recent premieres on three exciting programs, along with the Company debut of Battle’s 2004 work Mass, set to an original score by John Mackey performed with live music.

Los Angeles Times - Melange Of Moods From Ailey Troupe

Endurance, survival, getting through troubled times: the program that the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater presented at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Wednesday focused on crucial life lessons - some of them grim.

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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's 2017 U.S. Tour Reaches 19 Cities From February 3 - May 14

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will share its unparalleled artistry with audiences from coast to coast during a 19-city U.S. tour starting this Friday, February 3rd, in Philadelphia, PA. On February 7th, a week-long engagement at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. kicks off as part of JFKC: A Centennial Celebration of John F. Kennedy, the Kennedy Center’s yearlong programming initiative marking the 100th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s birth and legacy.

Featured Press Coverage

Miami Herald - Passion And Power Mark Ailey Troupe's Annual Miami Run

The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is based in New York, but in Miami it's had a hometown aura since Liberty City-raised artistic director Robert Battle took the helm in 2011. The company just finished its annual visit to the Adrienne Arsht Center on Sunday, and - with a spotlight on "Moonlight" and its Liberty City creators - this seems like a good time to look at what the troupe's performances say about Battle's leadership.

Miami Herald - An Iconic Black Troupe Keeps Wrestling With Race

Robert Battle, artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, was prepping for an interview a few years ago and figured that, as head of a storied African-American troupe, he'd be asked yet again about black dance. So he called longtime mentor Carolyn Adams, one of modern dance's few black performers during her time with the Paul Taylor Dance Company.