On July 1, 2011, Robert Battle succeeded Judith Jamison to become the third Artistic Director in the Ailey company's history. Ms. Jamison says of his appointment that "choosing Robert Battle is the giant leap I want to take to ensure that this company stays vibrant in the future."
Born in Miami, FL, Mr. Battle studied at the New World School of the Arts under the direction of Daniel Harder Lewis and Gerri Houlihan. He continued his education at The Juilliard School under the direction of Benjamin Harkarvy, where he met his mentor Carolyn Adams. Upon his graduation from Juilliard in 1994, he joined the Parsons Dance Company as a dancer. He began setting his own choreography on Parsons in 1998, which the company has now performed nationally and internationally. After leaving Parsons in 2001, Robert Battle founded his own company, Battleworks Dance Company, which made its premiere in 2002 in Düsseldorf, Germany as the U.S. representative to the festival. Battleworks subsequently performed extensively at venues including the Joyce Theater, Dance Theater Workshop, American Dance Festival and Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival.
Robert Battle began his association with Ailey in 1999, when he was commissioned to create Mood Indigo for Ailey II; they first performed his ballet Takademe in 2000. Battle began working with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 2003 when he created Juba, and he choreographed side-by-side with Judith Jamison and Rennie Harris for Love Stories, which had its world premiere in 2004. Other notable works by Mr. Battle in the Ailey repertory include Unfold, In/Side, and The Hunt. Mr. Battle also conducted workshops for The Ailey School as an artist-in-residence in 2006 and 2008.
Mr. Battle has also created new works and restaged his ballets for such companies as Hubbard Street Repertory Ensemble, River North Dance Company, Koresh Dance Company, Introdans, PARADIGM, Jeanne Ruddy Dance, and Ballet Memphis.
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.