Robert Battle

In July 2011, Robert Battle will succeed Judith Jamison as Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, becoming only the third person to head the Company since its founding by Mr. Ailey in 1958. In announcing her selection, Ms. Jamison said that “choosing Robert Battle is the giant leap I want to take to ensure that this company stays vibrant in the future.” Mr. Battle has already had a long association with the Ailey organization, as a choreographer and an artist-in-residence. Since 1999, he has set eleven of his works on Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Ailey II, and at The Ailey School — including three works being performed by the Ailey company this season: The Hunt, In/Side, and Love Stories (a collaboration with Ms. Jamison and Rennie Harris). 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. Upon his graduation from Juilliard, Mr. Battle joined the Parsons Dance Company and danced with them from 1994 to 2001, and he also set his own choreography on that company starting in 1998. Mr. Battle then founded his own Battleworks Dance Company, which made its premiere 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. He has also created new works and restaged his ballets for such companies as Hubbard Street Repertory Ensemble, River North Chicago Dance Company, Koresh Dance Company, Introdans, PARADIGM, and Ballet Memphis. He has regularly conducted residencies at universities throughout the United States and gives master classes around the globe. 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. This past July, he was a guest speaker at the United Nations Leaders Programme in Turin, Italy.