Profile: Robert Battle, originally from Miami, Florida, is a graduate of the New World School of the Arts where he trained with Ms. Gerri Houlihan.
On July 1, 2011, Robert Battle will become the third Artistic Director in the Ailey company’s history.
The Early Years: Honored by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2005 as one of the “Masters of African-American Choreography,” Robert Battle was born in Miami, Florida, in 1972 and was educated at the New World School of the Arts and The Juilliard School.
Choreography: Upon his graduation from Juilliard in 1994, Mr Battle joined the David Parsons company as a dancer, and in 1998 he began setting his own work on the company, which now has performed his choreography nationally and internationally. Upon leaving Parsons in 2001, Robert Battle founded his own group, Battleworks Dance Company, which made its premiere in 2002 at the World Dance Alliance’s Global Assembly in Düsseldorf, Germany, where it was the U.S. representative to the festival. Battleworks has subsequently performed extensively at venues including the Joyce Theater, Dance Theater Workshop, American Dance Festival and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.
Relationship with Ailey: Robert Battle began his association with Ailey in 1999, when he was commissioned to create Mood Indigo for the popular young Ailey II company under the leadership of its long-time Artistic Director Sylvia Waters. He first worked with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 2003 when he created Juba for the company and choreographed side-by-side with Judith Jamison and Rennie Harris for Love Stories, which had its world premiere in 2004. The most recent work by Mr. Battle to enter the company’s repertoire is In/Side, performed during the December 2009 New York season to popular and critical acclaim. Mr. Battle has also conducted workshops for The Ailey School as an artist-in-residence in 2006 and 2008.
Commissions and other roles: Other companies that have commissioned new works from Mr. Battle or restaged his ballets include Hubbard Street Repertory Ensemble, River North Dance Company, Koresh Dance Company, Introdans, PARADIGM, Jeanne Ruddy Dance, and Ballet Memphis, among others.
In addition to his activities as a company leader and choreographer, Robert Battle regularly conducts residencies at universities throughout the United States and teaches master classes in New York and abroad. Among the honors he has received is the prestigious Statue award of the Princess Grace Foundation-USA, which he accepted in 2007.