About Jamar Roberts
New York, New York
A dancer with the Ailey company since 2002, Jamar Roberts’ (CBA ’21) first full-length work for the company, Members Don’t Get Weary, premiered at NY City Center in December of 2016 to critical acclaim. In December of 2019, he premiered his next work entitled Ode, also to great acclaim, and in December of 2020 his new piece A Jam Session for Troubling Times premiered in Ailey’s first ever Virtual Winter Season. Roberts has also set his work entitled Gemeos on Ailey II.
Roberts is a graduate of the New World School of the Arts and the Ailey School and has danced for AAADT, Ailey II, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Roberts won the 2016 Bessie Award for Outstanding Performer and has performed as a guest artist with the Royal Ballet in London and made multiple television performance appearances. He has been commissioned by the Juilliard School Dance Division for both live and virtual works, New York City Ballet, the March on Washington Film Festival to create a dance on film tribute to the honorable John Lewis, and as a Works and Process Virtual Commissioned artist where he created the acclaimed short work on the film Cooped.
At CBA, Jamar Roberts created a dance for film, inspired by writer, anthropologist, and filmmaker Zora Neale Hurston’s 1928 essay, “How It Feels To Be Colored Me.” In her essay Zora states, “I feel most colored when I am thrown against a sharp white background…” It is these words, along with the idea of the ‘double consciousness,” a term coined by W. E. B. Du Bois, and the work of American artist, Glenn Ligon, inspired both the subtext and aesthetic for this solo work.
Watch Roberts discuss his creative process and the inspirations for his film, “COLORED ME,” with writer Alma Guillermoprieto (CBA ’18) here.
The Director’s Fellowship gives a CBA residency to artists, scholars, and practitioners who have made significant contributions to the field of dance. Director’s Fellows have access to CBA’s studio and office spaces, NYU’s academic resources, and a stipend to pursue projects of their own design. Director’s Fellows bring deep expertise and informed practical guidance to the residency, strengthening the work of CBA’s fellows, staff, and community at large. The fellowship is given at the discretion of CBA’s Founder and Director, Jennifer Homans.