Renee Robinson

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Renee Robinson is a retired American dancer from Washington, D.C., who performed as a Principal Dancer of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.[1] She began her dance training in classical ballet at the Jones-Haywood School of Ballet.[2][3] She also attended the School of American Ballet, the Dance Theatre of Harlem and The Ailey School.[2][3] Robinson was a member of the Alvin Ailey II, before becoming a member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1981.[2][3]

Before joining AAADT, Robinson was a student at New York University, majoring in dance and minoring in economics. She was torn between becoming a professional dancer or an attorney specializing in the arts.[1]

She has worked with many renowned choreographers, such as Alvin Ailey,[3] Lar Lubovitch, Donald McKayle, Judith Jamison,[3] Ulysses Dove, Jerome Robbins, Bill T. Jones, Garth Fagan, Katherine Dunham, Hans van Manen and Carmen de Lavallade.

Robinson has also performed at the televised Kennedy Center Awards. Other televised appearances include performing at President Clinton's first inauguration, American Express advertisements, the Bill Cosby Special on Alvin Ailey and on the PBS special "A Hymn for Alvin Ailey".[4] In 2003, she performed at the White House State Dinner in honor of the President of Kenya, Mwai Kibaki.[2] In 2008, while performing in the East Room of the White House during the first dance event hosted by Michelle Obama, Robinson hit one of the chandeliers while performing.[5]

In their 2006 season, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater celebrated Robinson's 25th year with the company; her tenure is the longest of any female dancer in the company's history. Upon her retirement (with her final performance with the company on December 9, 2012),[6] she was the last company member to have worked with its founder, Alvin Ailey, as well as being the only dancer to have performed with all three of the company's artistic directors (inclusive of artistic director emerita Judith Jamison and Jamison's successor, Robert Battle).[1]

Select performance pieces[edit]

(Choreographer, Title)

  • Alvin Ailey, Blues Suite
  • Alvin Ailey, Revelations [3]
  • Alvin Ailey, Maskela Langage
  • Alvin Ailey, Cry [3]
  • Donald McKayle, Rainbow ‘Round My Shoulder
  • Alvin Ailey, Night Creature
  • George Fasion, Suite Otis
  • Ulysses Dove, Bad Blood
  • Ulysses Dove, Vespers
  • Ulysses Dove, Episodes
  • Judith Jamison, Forgotten Time
  • Billy Wilson, The Winter of Lisbon
  • Judith Jamison, Hymn [4]
  • Ronald K. Brown, Grace
  • Carmen de Lavallade, Sweet Bitter Love [3]


  1. ^ a b c Michelle Martin (host) (May 6, 2009). "Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Turns 'Golden'". Tell Me More (NPR News). New York, NY, USA. 13:54 minutes in. National Public Radio (NPR). Transcript.
  2. ^ a b c d "Renee Robinson". biographic sketch. Alvin Ailey American Dane Theater. 2010. Archived from the original on September 24, 2010. Retrieved December 8, 2010. Renee Robinson began her training in classical ballet at the Jones-Haywood School of Ballet. She was the recipient of two Ford Foundation scholarships to the School of American Ballet and was awarded full scholarships to the Dance Theatre of Harlem School and The Ailey School. Robinson was a member of Ailey II and joined the Company in 1981.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Brazzel, Ashley (February 2009). "Dancing dreams: Alvin Ailey's Renee Robinson celebrates 27 years in the spotlight". Encore Atlanta. Atlanta Metropolitan Publishing. Archived from the original on July 10, 2011. Retrieved December 8, 2010.
  4. ^ a b Hunt, Mary Ellen (March 11, 2004). "Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater - 'Hymn': Why dance?". Ballet Dance Magazine. Retrieved December 8, 2010.
  5. ^ Kaufman, Sarah (September 8, 2010). "At the White House, dancers get room to move in East Room events". Washington Post. Retrieved December 8, 2010. But it was bound to happen at the Obama administration's first dance event, held Tuesday night in honor of Judith Jamison, the longtime artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, who is retiring next year ... It finally happened during the 'Wade in the Water' section from Ailey's churning gospel-fueled work 'Revelations,' when Renee Robinson, a dancer of penetrating, living power, clipped a glittering finial with the umbrella she was carrying.
  6. ^ "2012 New York Special Programs". November 30, 2012. Retrieved December 31, 2012. At the December 9th evening performance, join friends and fans as we pay tribute to Renee Robinson. A revered dancer for over three decades, she is the last remaining Company member selected by founder Alvin Ailey, the female dancer with the longest tenure in the Company's history, and the only dancer to have performed under all three artistic directors.