India


New Delhi, India

New Delhi, India

Battery Dance Company played an active role in a conference organized by EmancipAction and Ananta Aspen Centre focusing attention on the scourge of human trafficking and gender violence. Through Dancing to Connect workshops with young survivors, teaching training of dance movement therapists from New Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai, and a performance at the K.K. Birla Auditorium, Battery Dance shared the process and product of its youth outreach programs with hundreds of young leaders and stake-holders who share its mission.


Dates

  • April 17 - 24, 2014

    Project Activities

  • Catalyst Conference
  • 1 performance at K.K. Birla Auditorium including a revival of Jonathan Hollander's Voice Hearers, Mallika Sarabhai performing her "I Am Not That Woman and two groups of young women who have participated in the Dancing to Connect workshops led by BDC veterans Tadej Brdnik and Lydia Tetzlaff
  • 2 Dancing to Connect* workshops with 40 participants and 5 teacher trainees
  • 1 media event at the Taj Hotel

    Partnerships

  • EmancipAction
  • Ananta Aspen Centre

    Venues

  • FICCI Auditorium

  • 2014 Spring Tour - Belfast, France, and India

    Belfast, Northern Ireland, U.K.
    Trappes, France
    New Delhi, India
    Srinagar, India
    Kolkata, India

    Srinagar, India

    Srinagar, India

    Two Battery Dance Company teaching artists, Robin Cantrell & Sean Scantlebury, conducted Dancing to Connect workshops with 40 students from Delhi Public School in Srinagar, India, a region plagued by constant strife.


    Dates

  • April 24 - 28, 2014

    Project Activities

  • 2 Dancing to Connect workshops with 20 students in each for a total of 18 hours
  • 1 performance at Delhi Public School

    Partnerships

  • Delhi Public School

  • 2014 Spring Tour - Belfast, France, and India

    Belfast, Northern Ireland, U.K.
    Trappes, France
    New Delhi, India
    Srinagar, India
    Kolkata, India

    Kolkata, India

    Kolkata, India

    Battery Dance Company is honored to join in the 10th Anniversary celebrations for a ground-breaking institution -- Kolkata Sanved, founded by Sohini Chakravorty.


    Dates

  • April 28 - May 1, 2014

    Project Activities

  • Conference participation -- Kolkata Sanved 10th Anniversary of counterracting human trafficking at ICCR Rabindranath Tagore Centre
  • Performance -- Robin Cantrell & Sean Scantlebury perform People Get Ready at the Birla Sabhaghar where Battery Dance Company performed in 1994

  • 2014 Spring Tour - Belfast, France, and India

    Belfast, Northern Ireland, U.K.
    Trappes, France
    New Delhi, India
    Srinagar, India
    Kolkata, India

    Mumbai, India

    Mumbai, India

    Battery Dance Company worked and performed in Mumbai, in 2006.


    Dates

  • October 7-26, 2006

    Sponsors & Local Partners

  • Asia Society India Centre Mumbai

  • Citibank

  • Taj Group

  • Taj Mahal Hotel

    Venues

  • Nehru Centre (Performance)

    Program Activities

  • 1 matinee performance and 2 evening performances

    Media

  • Time Out Magazine

  • Take-aways

    Even if a performance is offered free to the public and there are no earned revenues derived overseas, there may still be an issue of taxes, fees, licenses and/or permits that need to be addressed.

    Bureaucracy

    India’s very complicated performance licensing procedures could have capsized BDC. The adroit handling of the situation by the companies local partner, Asia Society, saved the day (and night!)

    Matinee performance for Mumbai street children at Nehru Centre, October 7

    Battery Dance returned to India after a gap of five years, presenting a matinee for homeless children at the 800-seat Nehru Centre. The matinee was coordinated by Bunty Chand and her staff of the Asia Society India Centre, who obtained all the necessary permits and reached out to three charitable organizations whose clientele is the homeless community of Mumbai: Akanksha, Pratham and C.C.D.T. Performing for this ebullient audience was one of the highlights of the tour.

    Evening performance for the general public at Nehru Centre, October 7

    The same evening, BDC gave a performance for the public, sponsored by Citibank, Taj Group and Asia Society. The house was full with a very enthusiastic crowd, drawn by BDC’s reputation in India, enhanced by a full page feature in Time Out Magazine. Members of the professional dance, film, music and theater communities from as far away as Pune attended the performance and accorded the dancers a standing ovation. Considering the very difficult technical conditions encountered at Nehru Centre, BDC’s tour technical director David Bengali did an extraordinary job.

    India 2006

    Mumbai, India
    Kolkata, India
    New Delhi, India, 2006

    Kolkata, India

    Haora, India

    Battery Dance Company performed and worked here in 2006.

    See New Delhi and Mumbai for details on BDC's trip to India in 2006.


    India 2006

    Mumbai, India
    Kolkata, India
    New Delhi, India, 2006

    New Delhi, India, 2006

    New Delhi, India

    Dates

  • October 15, 2006

    Venues

  • Kamani Auditorium, New Delhi, India

    Services

  • Performance

    Hospitality Sponsor

  • Taj Mansingh Hotel


    Also see: Mumbai 2006

  • Take-aways

    There are two important lessons BDC learned on this very short engagement. The company were only in New Delhi for 2 days, but what an eventful two days they were …

    The first take-away is:

    Track your itinerary carefully and obtain visas to match. In this case, BDC were on an extensive tour of 6 countries and went through the obligatory visa process well in advance, noting that there were special conditions for those members of the BDC ensemble who were not Americans. When the company obtained their visas for India, they asked for multiple entry visas because the itinerary called for a stop in Mumbai; then hopping over to Sri Lanka; and then back to New Delhi... OK? Straightforward? Yes, but one of the dancers was only given a single entry and nobody noticed this until he was detained at the ND airport and nearly sent back to Sri Lanka! Fortunately, BDC were able to talk and buy their way out of the dilemma but had this not been the case, the performance would have been very cancelled!

    The second is:

    Make sure that, if you have several sponsors, they are all in agreement on the times/dates of the performance, and how many tickets they are permitted to have for their guests. Especially when your sponsors are not “equal” -- i.e., a government agency vs. a corporation -- you can get into serious trouble. Read on!

    Performance for the general public at Kamani Auditorium, October 15:

    The Indian Council for Cultural Relations coordinated with Battery Dance Company in hosting a performance for the general public at New Delhi’s Kamani Auditorium. BDC had performed on the same stage in ‘94, ‘97 and ‘01. The event was compromised by a miscommunication with ICCR, which sent out over 4,000 invitations and announced the curtain time as 6:30 pm. BDC had earlier established 7 pm with its sponsors – who had been promised blocs of tickets as a sponsorship benefit. Some of the guests of Taj Hotel, Citibank and Boeing were unable to find seats as a result of the hall’s being packed, every seat filled and hundreds of standees, by the time they arrived. The media coverage gracefully avoided mention of the chaos in the auditorium, focusing instead on the company’s dancing and the repertoire which received high praise.

    India 2006

    Mumbai, India
    Kolkata, India
    New Delhi, India, 2006

    2001 India Overview (plus Delhi)

    Delhi, India

    Battery Dance Company worked and performed here in 2001.


    2001 India Tour

  • 6 cities: Calcutta, Bangalore, Madras, Bombay, Ahmedabad, New Delhi

  • 7 Dancers, 3 musicians, 2 technicians, Jonathan Hollander and Aroon Shivdasani (IAAC Executive Director)

    Dates

  • April 2001

    Program Activities

  • 9 performances including 1 gala benefit in Calcutta

  • 6 Town Meetings with representatives of the press and cultural community (joint Battery Dance Company and Indo-American Arts Council initiative)

    Sponsors confirmed to date

  • Oberoi Hotels (housing & meals in 5 cities)

  • Taj Hotel (housing & meals in Ahmedabad)

  • Indian Airlines (domestic travel for 12 of the Company members)

  • Air-India (2 roundtrip international tickets on a complimentary basis and ½ price group discount on the others)

  • Mazaa Media (Event coordination in Bombay)

  • Ogilvy India (P.R. & marketing for all performances except Ahmedabad)

  • 2001 India Tour Overview

    How does a big international tour come together? Often, there is one person or one institution proffering one invitation that evolves into something much bigger. What it takes to build the tour from these exciting but modest beginnings depends on so many factors. Most dance companies are not in the category of fame and fortune such that offers routinely come in from international sponsors that include financially viable arrangements. More often, companies have to meet their international hosts half-way, by agreeing to cheap (camping?) accommodations, travel subsidies, corporate or foundation grants and individual donations (often from the artistic director’s pocket.) Before entering into one of these jig-saw puzzle arrangements, it is critical to assess the rationales for the tour and determine whether there are compelling reasons to go ahead. Clearly look at the possibility that a whopping deficit will greet you upon your return home.
    Taking Battery Dance Company’s 2001 India Tour as a case study, several rationales came together, promoting the concept of building yet another national tour of India:

    1) Artistic/program
    Jonathan Hollander created a piece in 1998 called “Layapriya” which provided him with the opportunity to grapple with the complexity of Indian rhythmic structures while staying true to his Western roots. The score for “Layapriya” (Sanskrit for ‘one who loves rhythm’) – had been composed by Eero Hämeenniemi on commission by the Helsinki Philharmonic. The 30 minute work drew on the forces of the full orchestra with 5 soloists, percussionists from Delhi- and In addition, Karaikudi Mani, one of India’s most celebrated percussionists, and his ensemble from Chennai as soloists in the concerto-type of form, also giving the Indian musicians freedom to improvise as Western musicians do in cadenzas. The score was brilliant and had received a 20 minute ovation at its one and only live performance at the Helsinki Philharmonic Hall – and luckily for BDC, the Finnish radio had recorded it – but because of the difficulty of bringing such disparate forces together, the piece was unlikely ever to be performed again. Response to the work in New York and in cities around the U.S. and Europe had been very strong, particularly among Indo-American audiences and institutions – and word had reached India, rendering interest high.

    CHRISTINE CORREA and FRANK CARLBERG – Another strong link with India and a compelling reason for Indian presenters to latch on to Battery Dance Company was our collaboration with the Finnish composer/pianist Frank Carlberg and his wife, the Mumbai-born Goanese jazz vocalist, Christine Correa. Christine had not toured India extensively since having made a name for herself in the U.S. Mother Goose was Battery Dance Company's latest collaboration with Frank and Christine – Frank had composed the score for the company in 2000 and it had been well reviewed in the New York Times. Touring India with a live musical ensemble (which also included percussionist Michael Sarin) was a coup given the Indian tradition regarding the inextricable partnership between music and dance. Thus BDC had two items in their repertoire with special appeal to the Indian audience.

    2) Personnel

    These were the years that the Martha Graham Dance Company was on furlough, with the rights to Graham’s works held up in a legal battle. Battery Dance Company had become a home for some of the terrific Graham dancers – Tadej Brdnik, Ariel Bonilla, Maurizio Nardi, Kevin Predmore, Virginie Mecene and Naiyu Kuo. Coupled with Mariella Rietschel from the Royal Swedish Ballet and Adrianna Thompson, a long-time Battery Dance Company member, and BDC’s long-time production designer Barry Steele, BDC had an all-star cast for the India Tour. With such a team, it was hard for Jonathan to consider cancelling when signs pointed to a financial loss. Whether this was a mistake or whether it was the “cost of doing business” was a moot question at this stage.

    3) Cross-cultural Synergies

    A few years earlier, Hollander had suggested the formation of an arts council in New York to celebrate and promote the artists and arts of India. The Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC) was formed and he became an officer of the Board, with Aroon Shivdasani , his co-founder, as President and Executive Director. Aroon and Jonathan felt it was time to introduce the IAAC to the arts community in India and she agreed to accompany BDC on its tour of the 6 largest cities of India and to co-host town hall meetings with cultural leaders in each. BDC invited a prominent local cultural leader (ie. a university vice-chancellor; the head of a national arts foundation; an actor – head of a public relations firm) as convenors and invested in them the responsibility for assembling a list of 100 representatives of the arts community to attend. The conversations were provocative and productive, each side (U.S./India) sharing its frustrations and challenges. The company hoped that by being an outside catalyst, they might inspire greater cooperation within each city’s arts community as well as demystifying perceptions of the American landscape and breeding trust and on-going communication. In retrospect, the company felt they should have done more to lay the pathway for follow-on activities; though the IAAC has done a credible job of improving the cultural traffic between the two countries over the decade since.

    4) Humanitarian Concerns

    In January, 2001, the Northwestern Indian State of Gujarat was hit by a devastating earthquake with tremendous loss of life and destroying over 600,000 homes. The tour could easily have been cancelled, coming only 3 months later. But instead, the BDC team agreed that it was important to show solidarity with the Indian people. The Company felt it would show respect and concern for them to carry on – most notably – with their performance in Ahmedabad, the largest city in Gujarat.

    5) Sponsorships -- the good, the bad and the good

    BDC director, Jonathan Hollander had managed, once again, to get major sponsorship's in place that covered one-half of the entire project budget: international and domestic airfare, hotel accommodations and half sponsorship of meals; and media relations support were all donated by Air-India, Indian Airlines, Oberoi Hotels and Ogilvy India respectively. The company also received grants from the Ford Foundation, Samuel Freeman Charitable Trust and several other Indian and American foundations, corporations and individuals that covered payroll, insurance and so forth. There was supposed to have been money coming in from each performance on the tour that would help BDC cover local expenses of the 4 weeks+ tour. Unfortunately, these local sponsorship's evaporated during the course of the tour. There was a meeting at the very glamorous Oberoi Hotel in Mumbai that Jonathan will never forget. Things had gotten so bad that BDC were close to cancelling their performances at the Homi Bhabha Auditorium because of the loss of sponsorship's that were to have covered the theater rental. Unbelievably, a young man, Imam Siddique, a friend of the arts but definitely no wealthy heir, jumped in to help the company. At the town hall meeting with leading cultural figures in Mumbai, Jonathan confided to the actress Lillete Dubey and Imam, while they were on a break, that he was broke and the Company might have to abandon its performances. They were shocked and Imam sprang into action: he called the room to attention and put out a plea for donations – of cash and of “things” including a grand piano (which the late Niranjan Jhaveri, prime mover of the Jazz Yatra Festival in Mumbai, donated.) Gerson Da Cunha, who had graciously agreed to convene the Town Hall Meeting, took over the role of auctioneer – auctioning off a performance by Battery Dance Company – and nearly everyone in the room pledged something. Imam appeared later that day and offered to collect all the funds – which he did over the course of the next 24 hours, presenting Jonathan with a packet that covered the rental of the theater. As a result, the performance was salvaged and BDC were able to continue the tour without other major mishaps.

    Kolkata, India

    Haora, India

    Battery Dance Company worked and performed here in 2001. 

    See India Overview for details on BDC's visit to India in 2001.


    Bangalore, India

    Bangalore, India

    Battery Dance Company worked and performed here in 2001.

    See India Overview for details on BDC's visit to India in 2001.


    Chennai, India

    Chennai, India

    Battery Dance Company worked and performed here in 2001. 

    See India Overview for details on BDC's visit to India in 2001.


    Mumbai, India

    Mumbai, India

    Battery Dance Company worked and performed here in 2001.

    See India Overview for details on BDC's visit to India in 2001.


    Ahmedabad, India

    Ahmadabad, India

    Battery Dance Company worked and performed here in 2001. 

    See India Overview for details on BDC's visit to India in 2001.


    Costumes

    Trivandrum, India


    Hangers, Woolite, Shout, white tissue paper, Fabreze and sewing kit.

    It sounds like the way Eloise at the Plaza would have packed, these things are essential. You need these items to maintain your costumes on a long (often dirty) tour.  And trust BDC, you cannot depend upon a theater anywhere in the world to provide plastic hangers.   Wrapping damp costumes in white tissue paper can mitigate the ill effects of packing after a show; and Fabreze can render a garment wearable even if there was no time to wash it between shows.

    Here’s a special secret for costume-heavy productions:  Find out if you can keep costumes hanging up to dry overnight in the dressing room of your theater after the performance (if you aren’t leaving on a 7 a.m. flight the next morning!).

    This way, you or the stage manager or delegated dancer can return to the theater and pack DRY costumes for your next show rather than throwing sweaty costumes into a case and digging through the moist malodorous garments upon arrival at your next destination.  

    If the dressing rooms are not an option, try to convince your dancers (or actors) to be responsible for their own costumes and hang them in the shower over night.   Another interesting option: get some large standing fans and direct them at the costumes on a rack during the performance -- as the dancers come off stage and change, instead of hurling the wet stuff into a corner, hang them up and blow them dry!  

    Once, in Trivandrum, India, where it was at least 95 degrees on stage, BDC were allowed to hang our costumes to dry overnight.  There was no garment rack per se, so the company tech director rigged a rope between two walls of the dressing room and all of the sweaty costumes were hanging there.  

    The next morning, the company was horrified to find the entire bunch of costumes in a disgusting pile on the floor:  the rope had broken and everything fell together on the filthy floor.  UGH!

    Ironing

    Lucknow, India


    One of BDC Director, Jonathan Hollander's favorite memories is of a performance in Lucknow, India.  

    With this particular costume-heavy production with lots of printed silk garments, the company had requested an iron and ironing board at every one of the 17 theaters they were touring.  

    Normally, a sputtering, rusted iron was provided, scaring the daylights out of BDC with the thought of scorches and rust stains.  

    Well, in Lucknow, an iron-wallah showed up, must have been about 80 years old, with a huge, heavy implement and a small board.  

    The implement turned out to be an iron and into it, he placed hot coals.  Well -- to the companies Western-bred minds, the combination of fine silks and burning coals did not go together at all.  But BDC was proved completely wrong.  

     This little man with his big iron produced the smoothest, most beautifully pleated costumes ever!
     

    Vadodara, India

    Vadodara, India

    Battery Dance Company worked and performed here in 1997.


    Please see New Delhi, India 1997 for Narrative.

    India 1997

    Vadodara, India
    Pune India
    Varanasi, India
    Chennai, India
    New Delhi, India
    Khajuraho, India