Written by | Ray Cornelius 

The Ailey Circle Atlanta hosted an exclusive reception for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Artistic Director, Robert Battle, on Wednesday night at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights Museum. The invitation-only affair was held in advanced of the Company’s Fox Theatre five-day engagement beginning February 11, 2015.

Camille Russell Love 2

Camille Russell Love

Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs Executive Director, Camille Russell Love, brought greetings on behalf of the city and introduced Mr. Battle to the esteemed attendees. Battle is not only a former Ailey choreographer but the founder of BattleWorks Dance Company. He talked to the audience about his new position and referenced a quote from former Ailey director, Judith Jamison, who would often say: “As director, I don’t feel like I am stepping into [Alvin] Ailey’s shoes as much as I am standing on his shoulders.”

Robert Battle

 Robert Battle

Battle also announced a few of the performances that will take place during the Atlanta run including the highly-anticipated debut of “Odetta” (a tribute to civil rights musical icon, Odetta) as well as the Alvin Ailey-Duke Ellington collaboration, “Night Creatures” and the American classic, “Revelations.

Hope Boykin, Doug Shipman, Robert Battle, Monica Tookes and Judith Service-Montier

Hope Boykin, Doug Shipman, Robert Battle, Monica Tookes and Judith Service Montier

Battle later dedicated a piece of art work to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights Museum, for its new found partnership with the Company.  Ailey Circle Atlanta member and world-renowned artist, Monica Tookes,created the beautiful piece just hours before for the reception during a children’s dance workshop conducted by Ailey dancer, Hope Boykin. The painting was graciously accepted by the museum’s CEO, Doug Shipman and VP of Marketing, Judith Service Montier.

Check out photos below from the reception and a sneak peek of “Odetta”:

Ciara Moraski and Loren Clifford

 Edelman’s Loren Clifford with Ciara Moraski

Camille Russell Love

 Camille Russell Love talking about her appreciation for Ailey and showing off a few dance moves

Robert Battle 78

 Robert Battle talking about his journey as the new Artistic Director of Ailey

Robert Battle presenting art work to Center

Robert Battle dedicating art work to National Center for Civil and Human Rights Museum

Robert Battle and Monica Tookes

Robert Battle thanking artist Monica Tookes

Doug Shipman, Monica Tookes and Judith Service-Montier

Artist Monica Tookes with Doug Shipman and Judith Service Montier

Monica Tookes with Hope Boykin 2

 Monica Tookes and Ailey dancer Hope Boykin

Diane Larche, Robert Battle, Margaret Kargbo and Hope Boykin

Robert Battle with PR mavens Diane Larche & Margaret Kargbo along with Hope Boykin

Theo Tyson and friend Lillie Mae and friend

Theo Tyson & guest/Lillie Mae & guest

Jovita Moore with Robert Battle

 WSB TV Anchor and Atlanta engagement host, Jovita Moore with Robert Battle

Christopher A. Daniel, Margaret Kargbo and Audrey M. Johnson

 The Burton Wire’s Christopher A. Daniels with Margaret Kargbo and Audrey M. Johnson

Doug Shipman and Monica Tookes

 CEO for National Center for Civil and Human Rights Museum, Doug Shipman with Monica Tookes

Imara Canady and friends

 UNCF’s Imara Canady (left) and guests

Darius McNair, Ray Cornelius and Thomas Harrison Margaret Kargbo with Ailey Bag

 Ray Cornelius with Thomas Harrison & Darius McNair/Margaret Kargbo holding Ailey Bag 2015

Christopher Zunner and Lori A. Mann

Ailey’s Director of Public Relations, Christopher Zunner and Ailey Circle Member, Lori A. Manns

Ray Cornelius and Hope Boykin

Ray Cornelius with Hope Boykin

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Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com