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

Ailey Announces Programming For Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Performances At The Fox Theatre Feb. 15 - 19 & Activities For Ailey's "Destination Dance" In Atlanta Initiative

A long-beloved member of the Atlanta community with a 41-year history in the city, Ailey announces programming for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s performances at the Fabulous Fox Theatre February 15 – 19, 2017, as well as for the pilot year of Ailey’s “Destination Dance” partnership initiative in Atlanta. Destination Dance will allow Ailey to better serve the Atlanta community by deepening its commitment to the city’s cultural organizations – including Atlanta Ballet and Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education, AREA, Dance Canvas, ELEVATE, the Fox Theatre, Spelman College, the Center for Civil and Human Rights, Rialto Center for the Arts, and High Museum of Art – through diverse year-round programming, ranging from performances to dance classes to educational programs for students.

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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s 2017 North American Tour Reaches Nearly 20 Cities From February 3 – May 14

Following an expansive five-week holiday season at New York City Center from November 30 – December 31, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will share its unparalleled artistry with audiences from coast to coast during a 19-city North American tour beginning February 3rd in Philadelphia, PA. On February 7th, a week-long engagement at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. kicks off with a gala to benefit Ailey's D.C. programs, including the creation of new works, arts-in-education activities, and scholarships to talented young area dancers to attend The Ailey School in New York.

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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Launches Program to Inspire Young New Yorkers, Supported by The Wallace Foundation’s Building Audiences for Sustainability Initiative

The Ailey organization is launching a Young New York program in conjunction with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s annual holiday season at New York City Center (November 30 – December 31). Supported by The Wallace Foundation as part of a multi-year audience development project, the program will engage people between the ages of 21 – 30 through a series of special events and ticket offers.

Featured Press Coverage

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Dance Teacher Magazine - Lifetime Achievement: Robert Battle

There were many things we could have discussed with Robert Battle, whom we honor this month with the Dance Teacher Lifetime Achievement Award. For instance, there is the charming tale about the boy who wore leg braces and grew up to lead Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

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The Village Voice - Promised Lands

The formidable Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater closes its spring season at Lincoln Center this week with a challenging "21st Century Voices" bill that features new and recent work by four African-American choreographers, all mid-career award-winners deserving of their exposure.