Robert Battle: As a young child growing up in Miami, and we were bussed to Miami Beach, Jackie Gleason Performing Arts Center, to see a mini performance, as we called them. Of course, to us, as young people, it was a major performance, you know? We didn't know the difference. And I had seen Revelations and Cry and Mr. Ailey's masterpieces on videotape but never up close and personal. And I think that was just such an eye-opening, heart-opening moment for me, to see this live in that theater and to see this magic on stage, these larger than life dancers moving that way, such brilliance and eloquence. In a way, I learned more about my history through that movement than I could ever learn from a textbook or anything else because the dance says so much. It's brilliant. There's a reason why it still exists and people still break down the doors to see it and I think that that movement, that moment, moved me from Miami, Florida, to now the helm of the company somehow. And so, in a way, I don't even have to tell the story all the way through. I saw it. I was moved. I had my own revelations. Then I came to New York City and just made my way here to it. So I don't know. And I'm, you know, this is still so new for me that I'm still sometimes trying to examine what that is, you know? And maybe I'll never know and maybe that's the beauty of the whole thing. In some ways, it just feels right. It feels like I'm where I'm supposed to be. Judith Jamison chose me, she knew and now I know. And it fit. It fit.
Battle's path was set, and seeing the Alvin Ailey company perform proved to be another game-changer. In this excerpt from the podcast, he remembers that experience. [1:54]