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'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.

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.

Ailey Extension Brings Dance To Future Generations With Summer Workshops & Weekly Classes

(New York) July 11, 2018 – This summer, Ailey Extension is offering a variety of unique dance programs for young, aspiring dancers. With one or two-week performance intensives and weekly training classes taught by New York City’s premiere choreographers and instructors, kids and teens can enjoy developing technique, enhancing musicality, and releasing creative expression. All classes take place at The Joan Weill Center for Dance – home of the world-renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ailey II, and The Ailey School.

Featured Press Coverage

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Town & Country - Inside Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Annual Gala

On December 4, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater opened its holiday season at New York City Center with a gala benefit performance and party. The evening was chaired by Emily and Len Blavatnik, Paulette Mullings Bradnock and Howard Bradnock, Mellody Hobson and George Lucas, Daria and Eric Wallach, and Joan and Sandy Weill, and honored the contributions of Elaine Wynn and The Elaine P. Wynn & Family Foundation to Ailey and its mission.

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Amanpour & Company - Robert Battle

The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater was born out of the civil rights movement and has continued celebrating the African American experience for 60 years. Hard Sreenivasan sits down with its artistic director, Robert Battle.