Black News, Entertainment, Style and Culture - HuffPost Black Voices
iOS app Android app More
April 18, 2014

7 Lies We Need To Stop Telling About Young African-American Men

Kwasi
William Floyd School District

We've All Seen These Iconic Photos. Here's The Remarkable Footage That Brings Them To Life.

Black History Month

Meet The Preacher Behind Moral Mondays

Reverend William Barber Ii
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Half Of Americans Support Stricter Gun Laws, But Many Question Their Effectiveness

Gun
PM Images via Getty Images

How Segregation Has Crept Back Into U.S. Schools

51952105
STAFF via Getty Images

Even Babies Can Be Racially Biased

Two Multiracial Babies
JGI/Jamie Grill via Getty Images

Majority Of Americans Don't See Obama As Black

Obama Race
YURI GRIPAS via Getty Images

Blogger's Death Highlights Need To 'Redefine What Strong Is' In Black Community

Karyn Washington
For Brown Girls

WATCH
Bicyclist's Beating Caught On Helmet Cam

Beating
YouTube

Pressure Mounts To Investigate NYPD Killing Of Unarmed Black Teen

Ramarley Graham
Twitter/ChangeTheNYPD

Will The New SAT Be A) Shorter B) Harder C) Less Literary D) All Of The Above?

Sat Test
Joe Raedle via Getty Images

Obama, Biden To Announce Large Sum For Job Grants

Barack Obama Joe Biden
ASSOCIATED PRESS

WATCH
MLB Honors Jackie Robinson On 67th Anniversary Of His Debut

Dodgers
ASSOCIATED PRESS

These Maps Show Just How Segregated NYC Really Is

Nyc Segregation
Daniel Kay Hertz

Harvard Makes History!

Black Graduation
West Rock via Getty Images

You've Probably Never Heard Of This Pulitzer Winner, But You Should

Stephen Henderson
Kathleen Galligan/Detroit Free Press

Puffy Daddy Is Going To Be A Commencement Speaker

Sean Combs
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

RANKED: The 10 Fastest-Growing Cities In The Country

Follow HuffPost

    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    1. Most Popular on HuffPost
    2. Latest News
    3. Black Voices
    4. View all RSS feeds

This 'Partition' Parody Is The Best Thing We've Seen All Day

Tuition Student Loan Beyonce Partition Parody
YouTube/Chanel Carroll

Columbus Short In His Own Scandal After Allegedly Threatening To Kill Wife

Columbus Short Wife
Jason LaVeris via Getty Images

Proof That 'Brown Girls Do Ballet' Too

Black Ballerinas
BrownGirlsDoBallet Instagram

Why Filmmakers Chose Nas' 'Illmatic' Over Other Classic Albums

Nas Time Is Illmatic
Theo Wargo via Getty Images

Aasif Mandvi Reflects Upon The Time A Republican Said The N-Word On TV

Aasif Mandvi Republican N Word
Comedy Central

Jourdan Dunn Lands MAJOR Beauty Deal

Jourdan Dunn Maybelline
MaybellineNYUK Instagram

Rapper Severs Penis And Jumps From Balcony

Christ Bearer
YouTube

WATCH
Rapping Doctor Busts A Rhyme To Teach Little Girl How To Take Care Of Her Cast

Doctor
YouTube

Drake Reportedly Being Sued For Stealing Song Sample

Drake
Joseph Okpako via Getty Images

B.B. King Apologizes For Big Bust

Bb King
Steve Jennings via Getty Images

LOOK: Serena Williams Proves Curves Are Both Sporty And Sexy

Serena Williams
Jeff Olson/Fitness Magazine

Aretha Franklin Reveals The Truth Behind Alleged Fight With Patti Labelle

Aretha Franklin Patti Labelle
Paul Warner via Getty Images

Today's Rumor Mill Has Beyonce & Jay Z Going On Tour

Beyonce Jay Z
CBS Photo Archive via Getty Images

Alvin Ailey Announces It's New Season Under New Leadership

Comments (2)

Alvin Ailey, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Robert Battle, Judith Jamison

When Robert Battle moved to New York City from his hometown of Miami, Florida in 1990, his mother gave him a piece of advice: Don't look up at the tall buildings. Today, with sunshine pouring through floor-to-ceiling windows, Battle stood in the center of a dance studio on the fifth floor of New York City's largest, if not tallest, structure dedicated solely to dance, The Joan Weill Center For Dance, where he formally announced new works for his debut season as artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

The occasion marks a historic transitional moment in the history of the Ailey company. When he takes the reins officially on July 1, Battle will be only the third artistic director since the company was founded in 1958. Judith Jamison (pictured below), the company's second artistic director chosen by Alvin Ailey himself in 1989, will assume the role as artistic director emerita, a role which will allow her to be behind the scenes, but not as intimately involved as she is now. Before she introduced Battle, Jamison told the studio full of press, board members and dancers: "You will not see me hanging around, believe me. That is not why I asked this man to do this."

Battle's relationship with the Ailey Dance Theater began in 1999, when he was brought to Jamison's attention by Sylvia Waters, who currently directs the junior company, Ailey II. He has been a frequent choreographer and artist-in-residence at Ailey, choreographing 11 works for both companies and the Ailey School. But nothing he has done with the company is comparable to the responsibilities of his new role.

More than 20 different works will be presented during Battle's inaugural season, which begins on November 30 at New York City Center. At the press conference, Battle discussed six of those works, and featured a performance of 'Takedeme,' an engrossing, kinetic burst of choreography set to the a cappella prattle and scat of the English pop singer Sheila Chandra. The piece is a reprisal of the work that many say put him on the map. "I thought, what a great opportunity to show that work," said Battle, who created the piece in the tight confines of a living room in a Queens apartment. "It has something to do with little to nothing and now having a lot, but not forgetting where you come from."


Another sentimental work being presented will be the world premier of a piece by hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris. Harris and Battle worked together (along with Jamison) in 2004 for the work, 'Love Stories.' This time, the still-untitled piece choreographed by Harris, is inspired by poems, stories, and images about people living with or affected by HIV. The piece will premier on December 1, World AIDS Day, a day which has added significance because the company's founder died from AIDS-related illness on December 1, 1989. "This is a way of remembering, but also a way of saying we're moving forward," Battle said.

For the Ailey company, Jamison, and Battle, moving forward and continuing the company's rich tradition of being the torch-bearer for modern dance is especially important. As Jamison said in her opening remarks, one of the reasons Battle was chosen was because he is a young talent, a couple years shy of turning 40-years-old. "I emphasize young, because I want to see the company go on for another 50 years," Jamison said.

Battle has the same plan as he pursues his mission to preserve the legacy of Ailey. With an ear-to-ear grin, and the happy energy of a dancer eager to show off his best moves, Battle closed his speech by saying, "The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, over 50 years old? Yes, here we are. Another 50 years more? Yes, absolutely."

Comments: (2)

Add a comment

Page 1 of 1