Tag Archives: Robert Battle

Alvin Ailey’s genre-stretching adventure back in Berkeley

AAADT_General02_LSims&RMcLaren&AMack_Credit_AndrewEccles copy
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Is the juice worth the squeeze?

It’s the unexpected question Robert Battle, now in his third year as Artistic Director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, asks himself every day. The “squeeze” is the hard work of running a dance company and the dollars an audience spends to attend a performance. The “juice” is the legacy-upholding, future-building, legendary output of the company’s indelible dancers and choreographers.

Inheriting the heavy mantle of a dance company founded in 1958 by choreographer and activist Alvin Ailey, Battle succeeded former Ailey dancer Judith Jamison’s 1980 to 2011 term of leadership. As the troupe’s third artistic director, Battle says that during the first season, audiences showed up to see a spectacular season already fine-tuned by Jamison, a signature Ailey dancer. The second year, they were simply curious about the new leader’s imprint. In 2014, record numbers during the company’s New York City performances in December, have given him courage. … Continue reading »

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Alvin Ailey’s artistic director: Expanding dancers’ prowess

Alicia Graf Mack performs "Streams". Photo: Eduardo Patino
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The mighty ship that is the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater docked at Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall this week for a residency that begins tomorrow, March 13, and runs through March 18. The company’s Artistic Director, Robert Battle, stands as the captain of an organization that has known only two previous leaders.

Battle has choreographed on the company Alvin Ailey founded in 1958 and drove to a pinnacle of international acclaim, before passing the reins to dancer Judith Jamison in 1989, but he has never performed as a member of AAADT.

All of which has meant that the passing of the baton in July 2011 was preceded by a long, intricately planned transition. Battle has been groomed for the role with the same care that is poured into each movement the dancers execute. … Continue reading »

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