For Four

Dance Magazine: Robert Battle At Full Throttle

Dance Magazine: Robert Battle At Full Throttle

When you’re enjoying the easygoing, joke-telling manner of Robert Battle as the welcoming emcee of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, you might not realize there is a ferocious choreographer underneath all that charm. To celebrate his 10 years as artistic director, at New York City Center on Tuesday night the company presented seven works Battle’s created over the last 22 years. Each one held bold surprises—even for those of us familiar with his work.

Dance Tabs - Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Jamar Roberts Farewell - New York

Dance Tabs - Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Jamar Roberts Farewell - New York

It is always interesting to see what happens when a dancer who is also a choreographer plans his or her own retirement performance. On Dec. 9, it was Jamar Roberts of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater who was saying goodbye to his dancing career, though he will stay on as choreographer-in-residence. Robert Battle, Ailey’s artistic director, was smart to bind Roberts to the institution; Roberts has proven himself to be a choreographer of substance who creates works that channel deep emotion without foregoing complexity and the power of beauty.

The New Jersey Star Ledger - The Last Dance: Jamar Roberts Takes Final Bow For Alvin Ailey Dance Theater

The New Jersey Star Ledger - The Last Dance: Jamar Roberts Takes Final Bow For Alvin Ailey Dance Theater

Perhaps you don't remember the exact steps or the story behind the dance. What's unforgettable, however, is the dancer the tall, commanding man whose strength and grace are barely contained on a stage. Jamar Roberts, the resident choreographer of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, has been a captivating presence with the company for nearly 20 years. His last dance with Ailey will be Thursday at the troupe's Manhattan home, New York City Center. The program, "Celebrating Jamar Roberts: Jamar Roberts Solo/ Holding Space/ For Four/ Revelations," is part of the company's annual residency at the New York City theater through Dec. 19.