My Story, My Dance: Robert Battle's Journey to Alvin Ailey

by Lesa Cline-Ransome and James Ransome

As a child, Robert Battle wore heavy metal braces on his legs to straighten and strengthen... read more

As a child, Robert Battle wore heavy metal braces on his legs to straighten and strengthen them. Once they were finally removed, he felt lighter than air, and he began to dance. The great uncle who helped raise him always told him to pursue his dream of becoming a ballet dancer, even if it meant he had to also study karate to learn to defend himself from the kids who teased him about it. Robert’s goal was to be the first “black Baryshnikov,” and although he got a late start, he was recognized as a gifted student at the progressively more challenging schools he attended. A full scholarship to Julliard led him to a career as a professional dancer, culminating in his current position as the artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Lesa Cline-Ransome has consulted several primary sources, including interviews with Robert Battle himself, in order to recount his fascinating journey, and James Ransome’s pastel illustrations communicate the energy and grace of ballet dancing. (Ages 7–10)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2016

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