Robert Battle’s Vision: Nurturing Creativity and Community in the Performing Arts

Robert Battle’s Vision: Nurturing Creativity and Community in the Performing Arts

By The Culture

“I think that creative people don’t just look at the landscape and say, oh no, what do I do? They look at it and say, ah”  Robert Battle, the former Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, has left an indelible mark on the world of dance and performance. Miami’s own has over the course of more than a decade, creatively modernized and revitalized the renowned dance theater, bringing it into a new century.

Recently, Battle engaged in a thought-provoking conversation at the Adrienne Arsht Center, where he discussed the crucial role of community and the challenges faced by the performing arts in a changing landscape.  During the discussion, there was a strong emphasis on providing opportunities for budding choreographers, particularly within the community. Battle expressed the idea that there are numerous individuals like himself in communities, and the perception that one must leave to be heard should be challenged. He sees performing arts centers as essential in breaking down the notion that success can only be achieved elsewhere. The belief in the potential of local talent and the importance of nurturing it at home emerged as a central theme.

Battle acknowledged the current challenges faced by the performing arts, with shrinking audiences for live performances. However, instead of viewing this as a setback, he sees it as an opportunity for creativity and innovation. Drawing inspiration from a teacher, Carolyn Adams, he emphasized the importance of seeing what is present rather than focusing solely on what is lacking. This perspective encourages artists and those who care about the arts to find innovative ways to use the available resources.

Throughout the conversation, Battle showcased his love for wordplay and the creative process. He encouraged creative individuals not to be deterred by challenges but to view them as opportunities for growth and exploration. By embracing a mindset that seeks possibilities within limitations, artists can discover new and innovative ways to express themselves.

The Adrienne Arsht Center, where the discussion took place, was highlighted as a key player in fostering creativity within the community. Battle emphasized the center’s potential to serve as a catalyst for breaking down barriers and expanding opportunities for local artists. The center’s commitment to the belief that talent can flourish at home aligns with Battle’s vision for the future of the performing arts.

February is rapidly approaching and in true Ailey form, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater of Harlem returns for a performance at the Arsht Center on February 2 and 3, 2024. This upcoming event provides a tangible manifestation of Battle’s dedication to bringing outstanding performances to the community and further underscores the importance of supporting and enjoying live performances.