Battery Dance Company’s debut tour of Estonia was built around the concept of showcasing American culture in a very strategic area of the Baltic region: in a country where East and West converge, and where the mission of cultural diplomacy takes on a crucial significance. Battery Dance Company’s first visit to Estonia opened up a dialogue with many new partners, and allowed for true cultural outreach to the country’s people, who had immediately adopted us! The U.S. Embassy strongly supported this project, and facilitated the company’s visit on many levels, including grant monies and logistics. Additional funding was provided by the Trust for Mutual Understanding, The Samuel Freeman Charitable Trust and the SAS Radisson in Tallinn.
Battery Dance Company’s outdoor presentation of The Solo Project was facilitated by Tiia Hiie, a friend of Jonathan Hollander’s who had served as an interpreter for a variety of international events that took place in Estonia. Tiia negotiated adroitly with local authorities, gaining permissions and arranging for the City to erect a stage in the middle of Tallinn’s medieval main square. On that Sunday afternoon, hundreds of strollers and city visitors stopped by to watch. By the end of the performance, Battery had gathered an audience of over 500 around the stage, and had introduced a new face of American culture to the Estonian public.
Being in Tallinn provided an opportunity for meetings with members of the local dance community including Priit Raud, first dance presenter in Estonia. By coincidence, the dancers picked the same café for Jonathan’s birthday celebration that was chosen by Paavo Järvi and his colleagues from Estonia’s illustrious clutch of orchestra conductors to celebrate twin sister conductors Anu and Kadri Tali’s birthday the same night. Both groups noticed each other and formed one big joint celebration of performing artists and birthdays!