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

$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.

Ailey Spring Gala Virtual Broadcast Celebrates Hope, Promise And The Future On Thursday, June 24 at 7:30pm EDT

New York – June 8, 2021 – The Ailey organization springs into summer with the Ailey Spring Gala virtual broadcast celebrating Hope, Promise and the Future on June 24 at 7:30pm EDT, an exceptional culmination of the Ailey All Access online performance series inspiring millions around the world. Presenting a special homage to our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., appearances will include guest of honor Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III, Congressman James E. Clyburn and Former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama along with performances from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and gifted young dancers from The Ailey School.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Presents Ailey Forward - First-Ever Virtual Season Celebrating Six Decades Of Revelations December 2 - 31, 2020

New York – November 10, 2020 – This holiday season, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will continue a tradition of uplifting and uniting audiences across the globe with a free virtual engagement celebrating six decades of Revelations, thanks to the generous support of Bank of America. Nine special presentations extending from December 2 – 31 will each be available online for a one-week period and open to all. Ailey’s extraordinary dancers will elevate a legacy of innovation and excellence in artistry with a reimagined season featuring premieres by Ailey’s Resident Choreographer Jamar Roberts; and Associate Artistic Director Matthew Rushing, in partnership with Company member and Assistant to the Rehearsal Director Clifton Brown, and former Company member Yusha-Marie Sorzano; a variety of other distinct programs; and a series of BattleTalk conversations, moderated by Artistic Director Robert Battle.

Featured Press Coverage

WashingtonPost_AAADT_AlvinAiley_AileyDocumentary_Feature_Print_7.25.21

The Washington Post - Film Looks At What Made Mr. Ailey Mr. Ailey

The documentary “Ailey,” opening nationwide in theaters Aug. 6, is a long-overdue portrait of the modern dance pioneer. Alvin Ailey died in 1989 at age 58, but, significantly, much of the Insignia Films documentary was filmed in 2018 at a New York dance studio near a street named Alvin Ailey Place. As we watch a new generation of Ailey dancers taking direction from hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris, it’s as though Alvin Ailey never really left; he and his company have always evolved to meet the times.

FOX5_AAADT_RobertBattle_GoodDayCelebratesBlackHistoryMonth_Feature_Broadcast_2.25.21

FOX 5 New York - Good Day Celebrates Black History Month

The impact of COVID-19 has crippled the arts community, but art gives us the power to rejoice and has the power to unify. Robert Battle, the Artistic Director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater reminds us of the history of excellence in Black theater, and the healing power of the arts.