Skip to main content

Update browser for a secure experience

It looks like you may be using a web browser version that we don't support. Make sure you're using the most recent version of your browser, or try using of these supported browsers, to get the full experience: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Edge.

Sea Change

Sea Change

World Premiere (2023)


Jamar Roberts


John Adams

In the world of dance, where every step tells a story, Jamar Roberts has carved a remarkable path. Born and raised in our vibrant dance community of South Miami, Jamar embarked on a journey that would take him from local dance magnet programs to the first Resident Choreographer in the history of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. In this blog post, we dive into Jamar’s background, pivotal career moments, and the creative process behind his latest commissioned work, Sea Change.

A Dance Odyssey: From South Miami to Center Stage
Jamar traces the roots of his dance journey back to the dance magnet programs around South Miami. Formal training commenced at Mays Middle School, followed by stunts at Southwood Middle School and Coral Reef Senior High, culminating in graduation from the prestigious New World School of the Arts. Additional training at the Dance Empire of Miami expanded his horizons, setting the stage for a remarkable career.

Milestones that Shaped a Career
Two pivotal moments stand out in Jamar’s illustrious career. The first came in 2001 when he joined the esteemed Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, a move that would be a stepping stone to greatness. The second milestone was in 2019, when Jamar was appointed as the first Resident Choreographer in the history of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. This accomplishment underscored not only personal success, but also a significant contribution to the dance community at large.

Jamar attributes a substantial part of his success to the guidance of mentors Angel-Fraser Logan and Peter London, emphasizing the profound impact teachers can have on shaping young artists.

Artistic Alchemy: Creating New Work
As a choreographer, Jamar approaches the process of creating new work with a nuanced perspective. Acting as a caretaker of the creative process, he poses questions that delve into the core purpose of the piece. Questions like, “what do I need from this work?” and, “how can this work be of service to the world?” build the foundation of his artistic expression. Jamar emphasizes the personal, interpersonal, and collective as integral components of the creative approach.

Sea Change: A Metaphorical Dance of Post-Covid Reflection
Jamar’s latest work, Sea Change, serves as a poignant reflection on the post-Covid world. Using water as a metaphor, the piece encapsulates the profound changes witnessed globally. Beyond the physical representation, the dance serves as an emotional journey, encapsulating the zeitgeist of the collective experience.

A Call to Awareness: What Jamar Hopes to Convey In Sea Change
Jamar seeks to evoke a sense of awareness in the audience. The dance serves as a mirror to the precarious state of the world, urging viewers to contemplate the shared challenges humanity faces. The hope is that the audience leaves with a heightened sense of consciousness about the interconnectedness of our world.

Bringing Dance Home: Excitement for South Florida Audiences
While Jamar frequently graces stages across the globe, presenting a major work in Miami holds special significance. The excitement stems from the rare opportunity for family and friends, including Jamar’s mother, to witness his artistry firsthand and show support.

Jamar’s journey from Miami to the global stage is an attribute of the fearless artistry he possesses. As he continues to create and choreograph, Jamar invites audiences to embrace the transformative power of movement and art in a world undergoing profound change.

Ballet Credits

Choreography by Jamar Roberts

Music by John Adams

Guest Pianist Ciro Foderé

Costume Design by Jermaine Terry

Lighting Design by Brandon Stirling Baker

Projection Design by Camilla Tassi, featuring artwork by Rebecca Stenn

Programmer Michael Commendatore

Assistant Projection Designer Benji Arrigo

Associated Music Publishers, Inc., copyright owner. 

Q&A With Jamar Roberts

We sat down with choreographer Jamar Roberts (pictured) to learn about his process ahead of the world premiere of his new work, Sea Change.

Tell us a bit about your background. Where did you begin dancing?

The early years of my dance background started in the dance magnet programs in and around South Miami. I first started formal training at Mays Middle School. From there I transferred to Southwood Middle School, then started my freshman year of high school at Coral Reef Senior High and eventually graduated from New World School of the Arts. I also received additional training after school hours at the Dance Empire of Miami.

Can you pinpoint a milestone that shaped your career as an artist?

There are actually two milestones that shaped my career as an artist. The first milestone, when I became a member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 2001; and the second, in 2019 when I was appointed the first Resident Choreographer in the history of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. I would also like to add that my wonderful teachers and mentors, Angel-Fraser Logan and Peter London, were also very instrumental in shaping my career as a young artist.

As a choreographer, how do you approach the process of creating
new work?

I am often asked how I approach the process of creating new work. This, for me, is a very loaded question, because as we know, inspiration and the creative impulse can come from a multitude of sources. To put it simply, my approach is very much that of a caretaker, often asking questions such as, “what is it that I need from this work?”, “what is it that the dancers and/or company need from this work?”, and, “how can this work be of service to the world, or ‘dance world’ at large?” The personal, the interpersonal, and the collective. I don’t always lead with this approach, but I do think that they work as a sort of foundation for anything that I put out into the world.

Tell us a bit about your new work. What is your inspiration behind the piece?

The new work that I am creating for MCB is titled Sea Change. The work is very much inspired by our post-COVID world. In the work, I use water as a metaphor for the changes that we are all bearing witness to. This metaphor also illustrates on an emotional level the overall zeitgeist of the moment that we are all experiencing collectively.

What do you hope the audience takes away?

In this new work, I hope that the biggest take away for the audience is a sense of awareness. The awareness that the world is on a precipice. And for better or worse, we are all in it together.

What most excites you about bringing your new work to South Florida audiences?

Because it is so rare that I ever present any major works in Miami, what most excites me about bringing this new work to South Florida is that my mother, and all of my family and friends will be able to come out and show their support.