Point of View

May 18, 2010, 1:07 am
Filed under: At the Center

On April 28, 2010, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater announced that beginning June 2011, Miami-native Robert Battle will succeed Judith Jamison as Artistic Director of the most successful modern dance company in the world.  In perhaps the most thrilling and newsworthy statement of the decade for the dance world, the Ailey company designated Battle – who grew up in Liberty City and attended New World School of the Arts – as the next in line to carry forward the tremendous legacy of the great Alvin Ailey. 


Judith Jamison & Robert Battle, Artistic Director Designate. Photo by Paul Kolnik

Battle first saw the legendary Ailey company perform here in Miami on a school trip in ninth grade, and was struck with awe, wonder, and intense inspiration.  From his humble beginnings as a youngster with bow legs, Battle channeled his natural talent and fierce drive to succeed beyond anyone’s wildest expectations – first garnering a full scholarship to Juilliard, then dancing for the wildly popular Parsons company for seven years, and ultimately launching his own company, Battleworks, in 2001. 

Along the way, he forged a close relationship with Ms. Jamison and the Ailey, staging several new works for the company, beginning in 1999 and culminating with a critically acclaimed premiere during this past New York season.  His work as a choreographer has been described by The New York Times as high-energy, physically demanding and emotionally rich.  Meanwhile, homegrown Battle’s warmth and down-to-earth approach shines above all the dance steps, charming and enchanting dancers and non-dancers alike. 


Artistic Director Judith Jamison & Robert Battle, Artistic Director Designate with the Ailey company. Photo by Paul Kolnik

As a young 12-year-old dance student, Battle painted “Robert Battle Dance Boss” on the back porch of his Liberty City home.  But Battle will now be much more than just the boss, carrying the torch for one of the most beloved cultural institutions in the country, becoming a national leader and local hero!  The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performs at the Adrienne Arsht Center May 20-23, and AileyCamp Miami runs from June 28-August 7.


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