Liberty City native Robert Battle currently serves as the Artistic Director of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater. Battle spoke with NBC 6's Joan Strader about his childhood and his rise to the top.
(WSVN) - The famous Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is performing at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in South Florida. The company's artistic director grew up in Miami and while he's in town, he is taking time to step off the stage and into the classroom. Fox 7's Craig Stevens shows us how he's making "All The Right Moves." New York City may be where he lives, but Miami will forever be home for Robert Battle, the artistic director for the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater.
NBC Nightly News - The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Celebrates 60 Years Of Modern Dance And Creative Expression
Dancer and choreographer Alvin Ailey gathered a handful of modern black dancers in 1958 to perform with him at New York’s 92nd Street YM-YWHA. It was here that the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, as well as Ailey’s vision for a more inclusive world of the art form, was born. Since then, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has grown to include 32 dancers who have gone on to perform more than 235 works for an estimated 25 million people across six continents. This season, the dance company celebrates its 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.
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.”
Modern dance is waning in popularity, and young people don't seem to feel as connected with the work anymore. So what's a 60-year-old ballet company like Alvin Ailey to do to seem limber again?
When Alvin Ailey and a small group of African-American modern dancers first took the stage at the 92nd Street Y in 1958, it was groundbreaking and revolutionary. Revelations captured the agony and triumphs of the African American experiences. Now six decades later, his multi-cultural dance company is still charting a new course in its 60th season at City Center.
We celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, a jewel in Manhattan’s artistic crown.
Newsweek - Alvin Ailey 60th Year Celebration: Judith Jamison, Robert Battle And More Honor The Legacy Of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
When Alvin Ailey set out to start his own dance company in New York City in 1958, he likely had no idea his passion and call to dance would result in a nearly 85,000-square-foot performance center bearing his name and thousands of students entering its doors day after day, while company dancers traveled to perform his choreography on stages around the globe. He certainly couldn't have known his effort to create a safe and esteemed place for dancers from all walks of life would extend well past his 1989 death, some 30 years.
As a master choreographer, Rennie Harris knows a thing or two about himself. He doesn't gravitate toward making works about a particular topic. And he doesn't plan his dances in advance. "The movement tells you what the piece is going to be," said Mr. Harris, a Philadelphia native who has deftly Brough hip-hop and street dance to the concert stage. "You close your eyes and see if you feel something. Maybe it's music - or maybe you've read something and a story starts to unfold in your head. That's what I often look for: That story. You create the movement and all of a sudden as they're doing it, you see the next movement."