Robert Battle Biography
Robert Battle (born August 28, 1972 in Jacksonville, Florida, USA) is a dancer, c*ographer and the former Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Early life and education
Originally from the Liberty City community of Miami, Florida, Battle was raised by his great uncle Willie Horne and his cousin Dessie Horne in economically poor living conditions. He studied at the New World School of the Arts before graduating from the Juilliard School, where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1994. At Juilliard, former Paul Taylor dancer Carolyn Adams became his mentor.
Upon graduation from Juilliard, he joined the Parsons Dance Company. In 1998, he began c*ographing for the group. He founded his own Battleworks Dance Company in 2001. The Battleworks Dace Company debuted at the Global *embly of the World Dance Alliance as the American Representative, and went on to perform at the American Dance Festival and Jacob's Pillow Dance. He began working with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1999, when he was commissioned to create a dance for the Ailey II troupe.
Battle was named one of the Masters of African American C*ography by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2005.
In 2015 Battle was named a Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellow.
He began the directorship on July 1, 2011, and is its third director since the company's 1958 inception. When receiving the position Battle says, "I hope to be worthy of this tremendous responsibility that I've been given, and to honor it in the only way Alvin Ailey would have accepted: by keeping it now, alive and moving forward". Although Battle was never formally part of the Ailey company prior to his appointment, making him the first artistic director with no direct connection to the company or to Ailey himself, he contributed a number of works to the company's repertoire, and had long been recognized as the anointed successor to Judith Jamison. As Jamison was in an interview she says, "that Battle's c*ography has the ability to draw audiences into his work, and it reminds her of Alvin". He served several terms as artist-in-residence with Ailey.
In 2015, Battle created his first work for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Awakening.
In November 2023, Battle announced his retirement as Artistic Director, due to health reasons.
- Archival footage of Battleworks Dance Company performing Robert Battle's Strange Humors in 2003 at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.