Robert Battle on The Legacy and Future of Alvin Ailey

Artistic Director, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Robert Battle, Photo Credit: Andrew Eccles

Dancer, Choreographer, and Artistic Director, Robert Battle’s journey to the top of the modern dance world began in the Liberty City neighborhood of Miami, Florida. He showed artistic talent early and 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.

Robert Battle Alvin Ailey Chicago Defender
Artistic Director Robert Battle with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Photo by Dario Calmese

Robert Battle became Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in July 2011 after being personally selected by Judith Jamison, making him only the third person to head the Company since it was founded in 1958. Mr. Battle has a long-standing association with the Ailey organization. A frequent choreographer and artist-in-residence at Ailey since 1999, he has set many of his works on Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Ailey II, and at The Ailey School. The Company’s current repertory includes his ballets Ella, For Four, In/Side, Love Stories finale, Mass, and Unfold.

The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre returns for six performances March 2-6, 2022. The Battle 10th Anniversary program, which opens the Chicago engagement and features the Chicago premiere of Battle’s “For Four” adapted from video to stage; the return of hip-hop innovator Rennie Harris’s acclaimed “Lazarus” and an Ailey & Ellington program showcasing new productions of beloved works paying tribute to Duke Ellington. Alvin Ailey’s American Masterpiece “Revelations,” which has inspired generations through its powerful storytelling and soul-stirring spirituals since its creation in 1960, will serve as the finale for all performances.

Robert Battle spoke with the Chicago Defender about his journey and love for dance, why performing in Chicago brings him joy, and what it means to celebrate ten years as artistic director of the Alvin Ailey Dance Company.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performs at the Auditorium Theatre: Wednesday, March 2, at 7:30 pm; Thursday, March 3, at 7:30 pm; Friday, March 4, at 7:30 pm; Saturday, March 5, at 2 pm and 8 pm; and Sunday, March 6, at 3 pm.

Robert Battle Alvin Ailey Chicago Defender
Renaldo Maurice, Solomon Dumas, Belén Indhira Pereyra, Samantha Figgins- “For Four”    Credit Photo: ©Paul Kolnik

Tickets start at $40 and are available at, by calling 312.341.2300, or at the Box Office at 50 E Ida B Wells Drive in Chicago, IL. Click here for phone and in-person hours.  Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is part of the Auditorium Theatre’s International Dance Series offering a 20% discount that also includes Ballet Hispanico, March 26 & 27.  Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre may also be added to the Auditorium Theatre’s “Create Your Own” Series subscription offering a 15-25% discount. Discounted tickets for groups of 10 or more people are also available. The Auditorium Theatre offers $15 student rush tickets to full-time college students and $5 tickets to young people ages 13-19 with Urban Gateways’ Teen Arts Pass program. The Auditorium also offers a Student Savings Club for both college and high school students. The Auditorium Theatre’s ADMIT ONE program offers complimentary tickets to Chicago-area community groups.

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