Travel & Lifestyle Conversations

Alvin Ailey

Client Name
February, 2013
Serial Film

From Struggle to Triumph: Alvin Ailey, Artistic Director reveals what drives him

What started off as a human-interest story for a sponsored series for CNN Airport turned out to be a powerful feature shared cross-platform for multiple CNN audiences.

Over the past few years, I’ve interviewed several dancers with the world-renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. In 2020, I decided to profile one of the company’s leaders – Artistic Director Robert Battle for a CNN Airport sponsored series called What’s Drives You.

To produce this story, I had to coordinate 2 days of filming with multiple CNN photojournalists. On day 1, I interviewed Mr. Battle inside Atlanta’s historic Fox Theatre. My second day of shooting took place 4-6 weeks later to capture B-roll footage of Mr. Battle in action with AA dancers and beyond the stage.


I did encounter multiple challenges with the production of this story including coordinating schedules, managing camera crews and filming restrictions, as well as gathering enough footage to help tell the story. The small fires slightly delayed the execution of the final piece, but it was completed in the appropriate time to broadcast in airports across the country in the sponsored time slot.

The feature story about Alvin Ailey’s artistic director Robert Battle broadcasted in roughly 60 US airports, on more than 2400 CNN Airport television screens, and with millions of potential air travel viewers.

I also collaborated with the CNN Style team to produce a special video of Mr. Battle’s story and wrote an article. The CNN Style team shared the video on its social platforms including Instagram, Facebook, and CNN’s YouTube channel (22,800 views, 150+ comments).