Robert Battle, Artistic Director

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 repertory includes his ballets Ella, Juba, The Hunt, In/Side, No Longer Silent, and Mass.

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 Announces Programming For New York City Center Season December 1-19, 2021

NEW YORK – UPDATED October 19, 2021— Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, New York City Center’s Principal Dance Company and America’s beloved cultural ambassador to the world, returns to the stage for a much-anticipated annual season in their “home” theater December 1–19, 2021. Marking a decade of leading the Company forward, Artistic Director Robert Battle will present Ailey’s renowned artists in a diverse repertory of premieres, new productions and Ailey classics. The repertory features two world premieres adapted from video to stage by Robert Battle and Ailey Resident Choreographer Jamar Roberts as well as four new productions.

Ailey All Access Returns With A Fall Series Of Free Digital Broadcasts August 25 - November 17

New York, NY – August 25, 2021 – The Ailey organization resumes Ailey All Access with a fall series of free programs from August 25 – November 17 in advance of the much-anticipated return to the New York City Center stage for live performances this December. The online initiative, which has built community and celebrated the indomitable human spirit through dance since March 2020, features presentations of performance broadcasts, Ailey Extension dance and fitness classes, and more.

$20 Million Gift From Mackenzie Scott To Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater To Fund The Company's Transformative "Dancing Forward" Initiatives

NEW YORK, NY — June 22, 2021 — Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater today gratefully acknowledged an exceptional gift of $20 million from MacKenzie Scott—one of 286 donations the philanthropist and author made last week to non-profit organizations across the United States—and announced that the company will use the funds to support its “Dancing Forward” initiatives.

Featured Press Coverage

NewYorkTimes_AAADT_BAANDTogetherDanceFestival_RobertBattle_Feature_Print_8.15.21

The New York Times - Troupes Discover Their ‘Collective Strength’

Last summer, Jonathan Stafford, the artistic director of New York City Ballet, was feeling isolated and anxious. It was a few months into the pandemic, and the strangeness of lockdown and the turmoil and urgency of the Black Lives Matter protests were on his mind. City Ballet’s performances, programs and plans had come to an abrupt halt — as they had for performing arts organizations across the country. No one knew when or how theaters would open again. Stafford called Robert Battle, the artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, to chat. “This is great,” Battle said after they had spoken for a while. “I wish we were talking to other artistic directors.”

NewYorkTimes_AAADT_NYCC2021SeasonAnnouncement_RobertBattle_Print_Feature_8.12.21

The New York Times - Alvin Ailey Dance Theater Announces Its Fall Season

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s coming season at New York City Center will celebrate Robert Battle’s 10 years as artistic director, the company announced Wednesday. After the difficulties of the past 17 months, Battle is more open to embracing the occasion than he might otherwise have been.