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 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.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Invites Viewers To Enjoy Family Programs During Ailey Forward - First-Ever Virtual Season Celebrating Six Decades Of Revelations

New York – December 4, 2020 – Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater invites families around the world to gather for special family programming during Ailey Forward – the Company’s first-ever virtual holiday season. Led by Artistic Director Robert Battle, Ailey’s extraordinary dancers will elevate a legacy of artistic innovation and excellence while celebrating six decades of Alvin Ailey’s timeless Revelations. Nine presentations through the holidays, each available free online for a week, carry on the tradition of uplifting audiences and making dance accessible to all with engaging family-friendly programs and interactive experiences to uplift and unite across generations.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Opening Night Virtual Benefit, "Revelations Reimagined" Launches Season Celebration Of Revelations At 60 Wednesday, December 2 at 7:30pm ET

New York – November 25, 2020 – Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s holiday virtual season Ailey Forward celebrating six decades of the beloved American masterpiece, Revelations, will launch on Wednesday, December 2 at 7:30pm ET with a “Revelations Reimagined” Opening Night Virtual Benefit. The joyous program will feature a series of pièce d'occasion performances by Ailey’s extraordinary dance artists, along with planned appearances by special celebrity guests Sterling K. Brown, Jasmine Guy, Jillian Hervey of Lion Babe, Nigel Lythgoe, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Phylicia Rashad, Shonda Rhimes, Lynn Whitfield, Vanessa Williams, Jeffrey Wright and more. It will surely be a night to remember — one of celebration, dance, and love shared with people around the world.

Featured Press Coverage

TheWashingtonPost_AAADT_AileyForward_Testament_Revelations_Feature_12.06.20

The Washington Post - A Modern Response To 'Revelations'

As if Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater didn't have enough to deal with while creating a high-profile new work during the pandemic, there was the weather. Rain scuttled much of an outdoor shoot for its new dance film, "Testament," — a contemporary response to the company's signature piece, "Revelations."