Battery Dance Company worked and performed here in 2002.
Collaboration and Coordination
Battery Dance Company's Swedish program gained immeasurably in scope, meaning and impact due to its timing in several ways:
The tour happened less than a year after 9/11 when memories of the attack on the World Trade Towers were still fresh in minds of people around the world. The fact that BDC was a lower Manhattan dance company, located blocks from Ground Zero, was not lost on Swedes. It was regarded as a very touching and vivid demonstration of the resiliency of Americans in the post-trauma context that Battery Dance Company was out on the road, performing and bringing its artistry to public audiences.
Be Prepared for Large Audiences
Stockholm was celebrating its 750th anniversary and there were tremendous, city-wide events going on. Battery Dance Company performed in large, public performances that were part of the formal program of Stockholm 750 and were therefore more broadly publicized than would otherwise have been possible.
BDC benefited from the fact that a dancer from the Royal Swedish Ballet, Mariella Rietschel, had joined BDC for a 3-year posting during a sabbatical from the Stockholm company. Having a Swedish 'star' in the company, who was then invited to be a featured performer for Stockholm 750, added even more lustre to an already lustrous tour.
Use your contacts
BDC had experienced a very successful partnership with Citibank in Finland in 2000. Through the Helsinki office, contact was made with the Stockholm colleagues who agreed to serve as the prime sponsor for BDC's tour. Citibank needed a focus for its support of Stockholm 750 and as an American bank, they embraced the opportunity to join with the US Embassy, whose Ambassador opened his residence for a very upscale reception in which Citibank was invited to participate. Ogilvy also joined in, having worked with BDC previously in India -- and with this strong team of corporate and government sponsors, working in perfect harmony, and the cooperation of the weather (perfect sunshine), the entire event was a huge success.
Magnificent weather, hospitable Swedish audiences, and a feeling of elation at the unexpectedly grand success of its first stop on the Company’s Baltic Tour, all produced a determination among Battery’s Dancers. They want Stockholm to be a regular stop on their international itinerary.
On the first day of the tour to Stockholm, Battery’s Swedish dancer Mariella Rietschel ascended to a height of 18 feet, atop the towering Festival stage at the “King’s Garden”. She danced silhouetted against the sky overlooking Stockholm’s palace and harbor, as a featured Stockholm personality of the City’s 750th Anniversary. Following her solo performance, choreographed especially with the vertiginous platform in mind by Jonathan, Mariella (attended to by her own private fireman), lit the fuse that set off a glorious series of fireworks.
This was a big night for BDC, as it was reported that a 10,000-person audience tally may in fact be an understatement!
On the second day of the Stockholm 750 festival, Battery Dance Company presented an outdoor concert on the huge stage at Skeppsholmen, an island in central Stockholm that is home to the world-famous Moderna Museet, the Oriental Museum and, as its name implies, various majestic sailing vessels. A public audience of over 1,500 gave the Company their riveted attention as the dancers presented “the anyones ballet”, “Used Car Salesman” and “Mother Goose”. The evening sun bathed the entire performance in amber light, which provided a completely unique dimension to the choreography and emphasized every nuance of emotive and physical output by the dancers.
Before the performance, the dancers were treated to a pre-show reception hosted by Citibank and the American Embassy at the stately residence of Ambassador and Mrs. Charles Heimbold. They were even ferried by boat to the venue! Afterwards the Performance the dancers were feted at the debut party of “Life as a Boy”, meeting Hugh Grant, and tasting of the Mid-Summer magic spirit of Stockholm.
On the third day of BDC's Stockholm visit, the company unveiled its Solo Project in a white tent complete with blonde wooden dance floor (this is Scandinavia, after all) in the bustling center of the King’s Garden. Several hundred on-lookers, ranging from little children to senior citizens, formed concentric rings of a perfectly courteous and approving audience in the round.
The deep colors of BDC dancer Katrin Schnabl’s solo costumes (Maurizio in golden yellow, Adrianna in fuschia and burgundy, Tadej in forest green, Mariella in turquoise, Kevin in purple and Virginie in flame orange) stood out like bold strokes of paint against the Festival’s white tent, creating an unforgettable image and a perfectly satisfying cap to Battery’s three-day Stockholm premiere.
Concluding the trip, a cocktail party at U.S. Public Affairs Officer Viktor Sidabras’ residence on Strandvagen, and dinner at Mariella’s parents Margareta and Bjore Rietschel’s apartment afterwards. It warmed the hearts of the entire Company, including Battery Board Member Robert Anker and his wife Enid.