Following the Footsteps: Robert Battle Preps to Lead Alvin Ailey Dance Co.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
The Grio/NBC New York

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By Alex Presha

In 52 years of performing for presidents, world leaders and dance connoisseurs, only two people have led the famed Alvin Ailey Dance Company. Robert Battle has now been named their new artistic director -- a title only held by Alvin Ailey protégé Judith Jamison, and Alvin Ailey himself.

In July when Robert Battle takes over as artistic director, it'll be the first time this company's leader hasn't had a direct link with Alvin Ailey himself. It’s something his predecessors, though, aren't worried about.

He's spent the last year working hand in hand with Judith Jamison, but outside of that members of the dance company say he understands tradition, but also understands chance.