Born 1972
Current Artistic Director of AAADT since 2011
• Robert Battle was born in Florida and

showed artistic talent early. He studied
dance at a high school arts magnet
progr...
• In 1994 Robert Battle joined Parsons

Dance Company just after graduating
from The Julliard School

• In 1998, he began ...
• Founded his own company ‗Battleworks‘ and

choreographed ‗The Hunt‘ which 10 years later
was put into AAADT repertory ju...
• Honored as one of the ―Masters of African
American Choreography‖ by the Kennedy
Center for the Performing Arts in 2005

...
• In/Side, performed during the December

2009 New York season to popular and critical
acclaim
• He is a sought-after keyn...
* high-energy
* leaps and spins
* physically demanding
* emotive
* contrasts
* driven
* hectic
* tense
* ritualistic

* rh...
This company (AAADT) has always been
about outreach before it was a buzzword to
raise funds—but really about reaching
out—...
* Do you ever feel the need to create work that will connect with your
audience members or do you focus on other goals whe...
* What draws your attention to a dancer in an audition room?

What qualities capture your eyes first? Also, what makes you...
* How important is it to keep the Ailey company's past alive as well as
combining it with a direction for the future and h...
* What music genre is your favorite to dance and
choreograph to and why?

Generally, I like percussion because it moves me...
* When choreographing a dance which
comes to you first, the music or the
movement?

Usually the music is the catalyst and ...
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Robert Battle info

  1. 1. Born 1972 Current Artistic Director of AAADT since 2011
  2. 2. • Robert Battle was born in Florida and showed artistic talent early. He studied dance at a high school arts magnet program before moving on to Miami‘s New World School of the Arts and finally to the dance program at The Juilliard School
  3. 3. • In 1994 Robert Battle joined Parsons Dance Company just after graduating from The Julliard School • In 1998, he began choreographing for the Parsons Dance Company 4 years after joining. • In 1999 he was commissioned to create Mood Indigo for the popular young Ailey II company.
  4. 4. • Founded his own company ‗Battleworks‘ and choreographed ‗The Hunt‘ which 10 years later was put into AAADT repertory just before Battle took over as Artistic Director. • In 2002 Battleworks Dance Company premiered in Düsseldorf, Germany as U.S. representative to the World Dance Alliance's Global Assembly. • In 2003 he choreographed Juba his first commission for AAADT and choreographed sideby-side with Judith Jamison and Rennie Harris for Love Stories.
  5. 5. • Honored as one of the ―Masters of African American Choreography‖ by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2005 • Artist in residence at AAADT in 2006 & 2008 • Received the prestigious Statue Award from the Princess Grace in between his roles as Artist in residence at AAADT in 2007
  6. 6. • In/Side, performed during the December 2009 New York season to popular and critical acclaim • He is a sought-after keynote speaker and has addressed a number of high profile organisations including the United Nations Leaders Programme in Turin, Italy 2010 • Whilst never being a company member he was invited by Judith Jamison to become Artistic Director of AAADT, making him only the third person to hold this role
  7. 7. * high-energy * leaps and spins * physically demanding * emotive * contrasts * driven * hectic * tense * ritualistic * rhythmic * athletic * contrasts between use of humour and more serious episodes * moments of slow lyrical, soft and gentile movement
  8. 8. This company (AAADT) has always been about outreach before it was a buzzword to raise funds—but really about reaching out—and that‘s something that‘s important to me, because as a young boy from Miami, I saw the company because we were bused there from our school as a form of outreach, and that did something for me that is very tangible and very obvious. And so I really see the importance in continuing that.
  9. 9. * Do you ever feel the need to create work that will connect with your audience members or do you focus on other goals when you work? I always want to make work – and to see work – that connects with the audience. I think one of the cornerstones of the Ailey company is that we connect with our audience; that‘s why we have had such a vast audience for so many years. To me, the single most important thing about being a choreographer or dancer is communication. If the work does not communicate, to me it is not successful. That‘s how I view it. It doesn‘t mean that the audience has to love everything that you do, but just feel and experience what you do in a way that is visceral. * Where does your inspiration come from? For me, inspiration comes from my dancers. These are some of the most marvelous dancers in the world that I get a chance to work with, and that inspires me to choose repertory I want to see them do. As a choreographer, I‘m interested in what they think physically, and what their experiences are physically – that inspires me. So the inspiration really is, once again, people. Rather, it‘s people doing some courageous act; that human quality is always what I connect with.
  10. 10. * What draws your attention to a dancer in an audition room? What qualities capture your eyes first? Also, what makes you turn your eye away from a dancer in the audition room? I really look for a dancer that has the technical proficiency to do what they are asked to do, of course. But I also try to look at a dancer, like Alvin Ailey said, that can express what is strange and different and unique, or even ugly, about the dance itself. Dancing is a vehicle to express oneself. So if all I see is movement and not the person moving, then that doesn‘t interest me. I‘m really interested in how this dancer is able to communicate through the movement. This goes back to the notion that we do all of this to speak to one another. So if the only thing you can do is execute the steps, then it won‘t hold my attention. Sometimes you can draw that out of a dancer, and sometimes that‘s just not that dancer‘s particular interest. And that‘s okay too.
  11. 11. * How important is it to keep the Ailey company's past alive as well as combining it with a direction for the future and how do you try and achieve this? It‘s important to keep the past of the Ailey company alive, because the past is the present. I don‘t see any distance between then and now. When I think about a great work of art, it endures, and it is timeless. If it was true then, then it is true now, and it speaks to the audience as it speaks to me. The past is not a burden; it‘s the reason why we are here in the first place, so I embrace this rich history of this marvelous company. How do I achieve that? By always challenging and engaging the audience, challenging and engaging the dancers, and finding work that falls in line with that mission. And, by certainly remembering the oft repeated quote by Mr. Ailey himself, who said that ―Dance comes from the people and should always be delivered back to the people.‖ Judith Jamison carried that torch, and now I carry it. I try to do things that come from my own instinct and heart, and that‘s how I achieve it. But as for the future, the story hasn‘t been totally written yet – I‘m still living it. So we‘ll see. Ask me in 20 years.
  12. 12. * What music genre is your favorite to dance and choreograph to and why? Generally, I like percussion because it moves me. It‘s very much in your face – you have to deal with percussion in a way that‘s very immediate and I love that. But I love all types of music, from classical to experimental. For one dance I choreographed, Takademe, the music is very different – it‘s set to Indian Kathak rhythms. One time, an audience member said to me, ―Your music is everything from Bach to bongos.‖ I like that! And I find that that is true – different types of music challenge me in different ways. I started as a musician by playing piano when I was very little, so I had an appreciation for music at an early age. So music is really what moves me, but all types.
  13. 13. * When choreographing a dance which comes to you first, the music or the movement? Usually the music is the catalyst and the movement sort of pours out of that. Generally, I don‘t choreograph in silence; it‘s a response to a piece of music. And I try not to just imitate the music – I try to add my own voice through the dance as if I were another musician performing the score.

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