My Story, My Dance: Robert Battle's Journey to Alvin Ailey
My Story, My Dance: Robert Battle's Journey to Alvin Ailey
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Annotation: In a picture book portrait of the artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, a boy discovers his passion for dance, overcomes a childhood disability, and becomes a modern hero.
Genre: Biographies
Catalog Number: #109255
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
No other formats available
Copyright Date: 2015
Edition Date: 2015
Illustrator: Ransome, James,
Pages: 48
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-481-42221-9
ISBN 13: 978-1-481-42221-5
Dewey: 921
LCCN: 2014007181
Dimensions: 29 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
Robert Battle's journey to become artistic director of the renowned African American dance company Alvin Ailey is an inspiring story, filled with lessons on following one's passion. Born in Florida, Robert was raised by his aunt Anna, uncle Willie, and their daughter, whom Robert called "Mama Dessie." His was a loving home filled with music and poetry. Despite wearing painful braces on his legs until he was six, Robert longed to dance and perform. By age 13, he had traded karate lessons for ballet, eventually gaining the notice of his high-school dance teacher, who helped him get into Miami's New World School of the Arts. Robert would go on to study at Juilliard and form his own critically acclaimed dance company, Battleworks, before joining Alvin Ailey. Ransome's rich, pastel illustrations are filled with expression and movement, showcasing individualized faces and dancers in motion. Occasionally text heavy, this is a picture book for independent readers, though younger kids will certainly enjoy hearing Robert's story and admiring the beautiful artwork.
School Library Journal
Gr 25 The latest collaboration from this talented husband-and-wife team spotlights the childhood and career trajectory of the current artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. When Battle was "'no bigger than a loaf of bread,'" he was adopted and raised by his loving aunt and uncle and their adult daughter. Surrounded by spirituals at home and church, the boy was initially prevented from moving to the music due to painful, metal braces worn to straighten his legs. When the braces were removed, he gained strength and confidence through martial arts and then ballet and other styles. Cline-Ransome charts the young man's progress from an arts high school in Miami to Juilliard. Her narrative conveys salient details, such as the names of teachers, dance companies, and pieces, as well as Battle's emotional highs and lows. Evoking the master of the dance painting, Edgar Degas, Ransome's deft use of acrylic strokes makes readers aware of key moments in Ailey's signature piece, Revelations . Interspersed among full-color scenes of Easter bonnets and the Miami neighborhood are spreads depicting energetic studies of the dancer in motion, first as a child and later as a muscular, toned adult. This informative yet concise package includes a foreword by Battle (accompanied by photographs) and author and illustrator notes. VERDICT This story of the man who went on to assume the mantle of dance leadership will motivate aspiring dancers or choreographers and will be particularly meaningful to boys of color. Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (11/1/15)
School Library Journal (10/1/15)
Word Count: 1,761
Reading Level: 5.4
Interest Level: 2-5
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.4 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 177375 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:9.5 / points:3.0 / quiz:Q66802
Lexile: 970L

“In James E. Ransome’s realistic pastel portraits, Battle, his family and his teachers all seem lit from within.” —The New York Times Book Review

“An ongoing success story for all readers and especially Ailey’s worldwide legion of fans.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

A boy discovers his passion for dance and becomes a modern hero in this inspiring picture book biography of Robert Battle, artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

When Robert Battle was a boy wearing leg braces, he never dreamed he’d study at Juilliard. Though most dancers begin training at an early age, it wasn’t until Robert was a teenager that his appreciation for movement—first from martial arts, then for ballet—became his passion. But support from his family and teachers paired with his desire and determination made it possible for Robert to excel. After years of hard work, the young man who was so inspired by a performance of Alvin Ailey’s Revelations became the artistic director of the very company that motivated him. Today, under Robert’s leadership, Alvin Ailey continues to represent the African American spirit through dance.

Featuring illustrations brimming with vibrant color and swirling motion, this biographical picture book from husband-and-wife team James Ransome and Lisa Cline-Ransome includes a foreword from Robert Battle himself as well as a bibliography, suggested further reading, and an author’s note.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater was founded in 1958 by choreographer Alvin Ailey. He envisioned a company dedicated to enriching the American modern dance heritage and preserving the uniqueness of the African-American cultural experience. When Mr. Ailey began creating dances, he drew upon his “blood memories” of his home state of Texas, the blues, spirituals, and gospel inspiration, which resulted in the creation of his most popular and critically acclaimed work, Revelations. Since its founding, the company has performed in seventy-one countries on six continents. It’s repertory includes works by Mr. Ailey and ninety other choreographers, and new works are commissioned each year. Judith Jamison succeeded Mr. Ailey as artistic director, and in 2011, she selected Robert Battle to be her successor. Learn more at AlvinAiley.org.


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