Born in Germany and raised in Washington, DC, and New York City, Battle began dancing and acting at the age of nine. After three years of studying ballet at the Jones & Haywood School of Ballet, he received a scholarship to the prestigious School of American Ballet, where he studied under the renowned George Balanchine. At the age of fifteen, Battle made his Broadway debut in the starring role of The Scarecrow in The Wiz. His subsequent theater credits include Dancin', Dreamgirls, and the role of Billy Flynn in Chicago. His performance as Coalhouse Walker Jr. in the Chicago production of Ragtime garnered raves from the local press and brought Battle an Ira Aldridge Award from the Black Theatre Alliance. Battle also showcased his comic talents in his one-man show, Shine, presented at HBO's U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado.
In 1995, Battle performed Elton John's Circle of Life at the Academy Awards, leading to a record deal with Interscope Records. He later co-starred with Elizabeth Taylor, Shirley MacLaine, Joan Collins and Debbie Reynolds in the telefilm These Old Broads, and earned acclaim for his portrayal of the legendary Bill Bojangles Robinson in the ABC biopic Child Star: The Shirley Temple Story, on which he also served as the choreographer. Battle's other television appearances include performances at the Kennedy Center's 25th Anniversary, Gregory Hines' Tap Dance in America, and the role of the evil dance master, Sweet, on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Hinton has been sought-after as a choreographer for numerous stage, screen, television and commercial projects. His most recent success is his work on the film Idlewild starring Terrance Howard and the pop duo Outkast. In this movie, he bridged the gap between swing and hip-hop and invented the dance Swop. Because Hinton's work received so much attention on Idlewild, he choreographed a musical number utilizing Swop on Dancing With The Stars. He has also been the associate choreographer on the Academy Awards, working with Debbie Allen twice. Battle recently directed and choreographed the Off-Broadway production of Evil Dead.
In addition, he is the founder and artistic director of The Hinton Battle Theatre Laboratory (HBTL), a non-profit organization dedicated to producing thought-provoking, original theatrical works that engage both economically and ethnically diverse audiences.
Hinton Battle Facts
|November 29, 1956 (67)
|Alamo: 13 Days To Glory
|These Old Broads