NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).-
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theaters coming season at New York City Center will celebrate Robert Battles 10 years as artistic director, the company announced Wednesday. After the difficulties of the past 17 months, Battle is more open to embracing the occasion than he might otherwise have been.
Being a part of the problem solving that has taken place and kind of making our way through this has actually made me in a way own that 10 years a little bit more fully, he said. Theres something about going through that makes me think Hey, if Im going to go through this, then Im going to definitely take the good and Im going to go with it.
During his tenure at Ailey, Battle has founded the New Directions Choreography Lab, an initiative to support emerging and midcareer dancemakers, and named Jamar Roberts as the companys first resident choreographer. When I was first starting to create, I was fortunate to have David Parsons, who gave me the floor, Battle said. Ive always wanted to pay that forward.
His support has paid dividends. Roberts has created several critically acclaimed dances, including Members Dont Get Weary and Ode, since taking up the post in 2019. And now, to concentrate on his choreography, Roberts is retiring from dancing; his farewell performance, on Dec. 9, was announced along with the seasons slate.
Two dances that had their debuts online will be performed live for the first time during the three-week City Center engagement. Battles For Four, a piece for four dancers set to a jazz score by Wynton Marsalis, will receive its full stage debut alongside Roberts Holding Space, on Dec. 3.
New productions of older works will also be featured throughout the season: Aileys Pas de Duke, which was performed by Jacqueline Green and Yannick Lebrun at the top of the Woolworth Building for a dance video in 2020; The River, Aileys collaboration with Duke Ellington from 1970; an Ailey solo, Reflections in D; and Unfold, a newer work by Battle.
Looking to the future, Battle said he would like to focus more on preserving and sharing works by underappreciated choreographers: The notion of being a repository for historic works, Im really interested in really mining that.
Tickets go on sale Oct. 12. More information is at alvinailey.org.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times