Artistic Director Robert Battle Resigns from Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation
The Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation confirmed Nov. 16 that Robert Battle has resigned due to health reasons.
In a surprising announcement, the Board of Trustees of the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation confirmed on Nov. 16 that Robert Battle, who has served as the organization’s artistic director since 2011, has resigned due to health reasons, according to BroadwayWorld.com. The Board expressed regret over accepting Battle’s resignation and disclosed that he will remain available for consultation until Dec. 31, 2023.
Battle’s journey in modern dance began in Liberty City in Miami. He danced with Parsons Dance from 1994 to 2001 and founded his own Battleworks Dance Company in 2002. Battle has received numerous honors, including the “Masters of African American Choreography” designation by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2005 and the prestigious Statue Award from the Princess Grace Foundation-USA in 2007.
Daria Wallach, chair of the Ailey Board of Trustees, commended Battle’s contributions, stating, “Robert Battle has served the Ailey organization with talent, verve, and distinction over the past dozen years. The Board, the Company, the staff, and the dance world recognize and applaud the contributions he has made to expanding the repertoire, fostering the work of choreographers, supporting Ailey’s wide-ranging education activities, and serving as an ambassador for dance. We offer him our warmest gratitude.”
In response to his resignation, Battle conveyed his appreciation for the personal and professional bonds he formed during his tenure, stating, “The personal and professional bonds I’ve forged at Ailey working with the Company’s exceptional dancers and so many other great artists will always mean the world to me, but I know this is the right moment for me to move on and focus on my health. I look back on these past twelve years with warmth and gratitude.”
As a transitional measure, Associate Artistic Director Matthew Rushing, supported by Ailey’s artistic team, will lead the Company in its upcoming holiday engagement at the New York City Center.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, recognized as a vital American “Cultural Ambassador to the World,” has been a transformative force in American dance since its founding in 1958 by Alvin Ailey. Guided by Judith Jamison in 1989 and led by Robert Battle since 2011, the Company has garnered international acclaim, performing for an estimated 25 million people in 71 countries on six continents.
Battle’s departure marks a significant turning point for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, as the Board begins searching for a new artistic director. Despite the organizational transition, Ailey enters an exciting 65th-anniversary season from a position of strength.