Black News, Entertainment, Style and Culture - HuffPost Black Voices
iOS app Android app More
September 20, 2014

Tennis Coach Hopes New Center Will Become A Hub For Minority Players

Kamau
XS Tennis/Facebook

Life Just Got A Whole Lot Better For This Vet, Cancer Survivor

Home Depot Vet
Fox10

The High Moral and Economic Cost of Child Poverty in America

Child Poverty
olesiabilkei via Getty Images

Queen Latifah: Domestic Violence Is A Problem In 'Every Part Of Society'

Queen Latifah
The Queen Latifah Show

In Georgia, Politics Moves Past Just Black And White

Atlanta Georgia
Comstock via Getty Images

As Ebola Outbreak Spreads, Here's How You Can Help

Ebola Aid
SIA KAMBOU via Getty Images

Archbishop Tutu Calls For 'End Of Fossil Fuels Era'

Desmond Tutu
Didier Baverel via Getty Images

Cory Booker Has A Great Take On NFL Firestorm

Goodell Booker
Getty

Liberian Boy Who Had Ebola Does Delightful Dance During Treatment, Has Since Recovered

Mamadee
YouTube/Doctors Without Borders

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Admits Failure 'Starts With Me'

Roger Goodell
Elsa via Getty Images

This Guy Is Running For The Senate Just To Make The World More Anti-Semitic, Racist

Ransdell
Ransdell campaign ad/YouTube

Cops Shoot And Kill Suspect 5 Miles From Ferguson Scene

Crime Scene
JaysonPhotography via Getty Images

Conflicted Congress Passes Obama's New War Funding

Capitol
Michael McAuliff

Former NFL Player Retires So He Could Donate Kidney To Brother

Kemoeatu
Jamie Squire via Getty Images

A Chance to Go From Hard Lives to Healing

Black Male Doctor Hands
Mark Edward Atkinson via Getty Images

Warrior in the Fight Against HIV/AIDS: Photographer Duane Cramer

Duanecramer
Nicholas Snow

Drinking Baileys In This Country Could Mean You're Gay -- And Going To Jail

Baileys Irish Cream
Jason Kempin via Getty Images

Bodies Found After Ebola Health Care Workers Go Missing

Ebola
Getty

Almost All Obamacare Enrollees Are Paying For Coverage

President Obama Smiling
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Adrian Peterson's Mom Speaks Out

Adrian Peterson
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Chicago Won't Have A Barack Obama High After All

Obama Chicago
JEWEL SAMAD via Getty Images

What It Means To Be A 'Real Mother' In 21 Gorgeous Photos

Real Mother
Alyson Aliano

Bloomberg: Detroit Is Just Like 1970s New York, And That's A Good Thing

Detroit Skyline
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Even Supporters Of Spanking Think What Adrian Peterson Did Should Be Illegal

Adrian Peterson
Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery via Getty Images

White Officer Kills Innocent Black Girl; Jury Told To Disregard Ferguson

Aiyana Stanleyjones
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ohio Business Groups Push Schools To Drug-Test Students

Marijuana
David Ramos via Getty Images

Punishment Or Child Abuse?

Child Abuse
New York Times

DEA Chief Michele Leonhart Struggles To Explain Position On Drug Sentencing Reform

Michele Leonhart
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Police: NFL Player Head-Butted Wife For Refusing Sex

Jonathan Dwyer Cardinals
Christian Petersen via Getty Images

The NFL Domestic Violence Firestorm: "There Are No Sidelines, Only Sides"

Drphil Blog
Dr. Phil

How A Police Officer Shot A Sleeping 7-Year-Old To Death

100518130198
ASSOCIATED PRESS

In New York, Justice 'Only Available To Those Who Can Afford It,' Says Report

Jail
Caspar Benson via Getty Images

4 Black People Receive the MacArthur ‘Genius' Grant

Steve Coleman Jazz
Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images via Getty Images

Follow HuffPost

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

Gospel Stars Go On Tour After Recent Operations

Fred Hammond Donnie Mcclurkin
AP

Orlando Jones Fights 'Apathy' On Race Issues With 'Bullet Bucket Challenge'

Actor Orlando Jones
Alberto E. Rodriguez via Getty Images

R&B Star Keyshia Cole Arrested On Suspicion Of Battery

Keyshia Cole
ASSOCIATED PRESS

'Love & Basketball' Director Explains Hollywood's Excuse For Not Casting Black Actors

Gina Princebythewood
HuffPost Live

Listen To Michael Jackson And Freddie Mercury's Unearthed Duet

Freddie Michael
YouTube

Shonda Rhimes Takes Down NY Times Critic Over Offensive Article

Shonda Rhimes
Todd Wawrychuk via Getty Images

Trouble For Revolt TV?

Pdiddy
Manny Hernandez via Getty Images

Andre Leon Talley: 'There Are Ceilings That I Have Not Broken That I Should Have Broken'

Andre
Getty Images

Why Television Needs A New Cosby Show

The Cosby Show
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Jon Stewart Sings Goodbye To New SNL 'Weekend Update' Anchor Michael Che On The Daily Show

Jon Stewart Michael Che
Comedy Central

Darling Nikki: The Most Revealing Look At Les Miserable's Tony Award Winning Starlet

Nikki M James
Bruce Glikas via Getty Images

WATCH
Key And Peele Are Back In Action, And Funnier Than Ever

Key And Peele Alien Impostors
YouTube/Comedy Central

'A Different World' Cast Reunite 20 Years Later

Own Oprah Where Are They Now A Different World
George Burns/Harpo Studios

Attorney: Patti LaBelle Had Bodyguard Beat Cadet

Patti Labelle
RW/MediaPunch/IPx

Mathew, You ARE The Father!

Mathew Knowles
Carlo Allegri via Getty Images

Directors Guild Finds TV Diversity Hiring Stalled

Shonda Rhimes
Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

'Django Unchained' Actress 'Is Lying,' Says Cop

Daniele Watts
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Shinique Smith Is The Renaissance Woman Of Contemporary Art

Bright Matter

Apparently 'Blunt Roller' Is A Job And It Pays $50,000 A Year

Waka Flocka Flame
Chelsea Lauren 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