Robert Battle

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 Ella, The Hunt, In/Side, No Longer Silent, and Mass – a 2017 Company premiere. 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 DANCE: Robert 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's 60th Anniversary Opening Night Gala Benefit Performance And Party - Wednesday, November 28 at 7pm

October 25, 2018 (NEW YORK CITY) – As a centerpiece to its yearlong Ailey Ascending 60th Anniversary celebration and a kickoff to its five-week holiday season, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will host a star-studded gala benefit on Wednesday, November 28th at 7pm, complete with a performance for the ages at New York City Center and party at the New York Hilton Midtown Grand Ballroom. The Honorary Chairs for the evening are screen icons Angela Bassett and Cicely Tyson. Bassett, a Golden Globe Award winner, stars in the hit television series 9-1-1, and was most recently featured in the 2018 blockbusters Black Panther and Mission: Impossible – Fallout. Tyson – known for a myriad of roles across television and film, including Roots, Fried Green Tomatoes, and most recently How to Get Away With Murder – has received three Emmy Awards, a Tony Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and on November 18th will make history as the first black woman to receive an Honorary Academy Award.

Ailey Ascending 60th Anniversary Celebration Honors Groundbreaking Founder While Taking Bold New Leaps To Elevate Organization's Reach And Impact

August 1, 2018 (NEW YORK CITY) —When Alvin Ailey and a small group of African American modern dancers first took the stage in 1958, appearing at New York City’s 92nd Street Y, the engagement was for one night only—but it turned out to be the start of a new era in the performing arts. Mr. Ailey became one of the groundbreaking greats in African American history, while the work of his Company grew beyond the limits of the stage to encompass education at all levels, community outreach and cultural diplomacy. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater now embodies six decades of achievement, celebrating the human spirit with performances that unite and inspire all.

Step Up Your Dance Moves This Summer At Ailey Extension With Performance Workshop Series & Master Classes

(New York) July 20, 2018 – Ailey Extension invites dancers to find their summer groove with exciting workshops and master classes. In addition to its annual Summer Performance Workshop series, Ailey Extension will offer an Alonzo King LINES Ballet Master Class with Meredith Webster and a “Werk That Twerk” workshop with famed hip-hop instructor TweetBoogie. These opportunities allow students to refine their technique, boost stage presence, and perform movement highlighting their personal style while learning from some of New York City’s top instructors at The Ailey Studios.

Featured Press Coverage

ABCNightline_AAADT_60thAnniversary_NYCC_Lazarus_Broadcast_12.28.18

ABC Nightline - The Legacy Of Alvin Ailey, Celebrating The Company's 60th Anniversary

In 1958, dancer and choreographer Alvin Ailey created a home for dancers to explore identity and self-expression through their art and the dance theater remains a culture institution. ABC's Zachary Kiesch goes behind the scenes of Ailey's 60th and the creation of Lazarus, the Company's first ever two act ballet by hip hop choreographer Rennie Harris.

AP_AAADT_NYCC_60thAnniversary_AileyLooksBackAtFounder_Broadcast_Feature_12.20.18

Associated Press - Ailey Troupe Marks 60 Years By Looking Back At Its Founder

NEW YORK (AP) — It was March 1958 when an African-American dancer named Alvin Ailey, then making his living on the Broadway stage, gathered up a group of fellow dancers and presented a one-night show of his own works. In the audience at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan was 18-year Sylvia Waters, who was studying dance across town at Juilliard. She had never seen anything like it. “It was absolutely riveting,” she says now. “I had never seen men dance like that.” Most exciting to Waters was seeing people dance “who I could relate to,” she says. “There was something so visceral about the experience. We didn’t know at the time that it was history, but it was definitely special.”