Battery Dance Company worked and performed here in 2000.
Battery’s was the only performance of the 40 presented by Festival Feta that was staged indoors. In rainy cold Gdansk, this was the only way and the Festival organizers didn’t want to risk the possibility of cancelling Battery’s performance for several reasons. We were the only American group participating; the first dance company ever presented by the Festival; and were billed as a headline act. Given the fact that the preponderance of the Festival events were of an extremely avant-garde style in a very large scale (ie. Acrobats suspended over the market square by hot air balloon, tight-rope walkers, actors on stilts, etc.) we worried that our show would appear too tame and conservative to the huge and mostly young audience.
In this respect, our worries were unfounded: we enjoyed numerous curtain calls and “bravo’s” from an overflow audience. It was a heartening experience in every way. We had a superb guide called our “pilot” who was totally invested in making us comfortable and supported. We were put up in a first class hotel and shuttled around the city by taxi. Last minute requests for rehearsal space for our dancers and musicians were fielded successfully. One of the most incredible, touching events of Battery’s history took place here: when we made our initial tour of the theater, we spied some beautiful, natural canvas or linen fabric draperies hung as borders and drops in the enormous space. We assumed they were for some opera or theater production. However, we were informed that they were made especially for us!
Our elation was slightly tempered when we found out that our tech schedule would be interrupted for four hours during the day of the performance while the resident theater company held a previously unannounced rehearsal on stage.
Tributes also go to our dancers, who performed that night without having rehearsed previously in the lighting cues (they were being loaded into the lighting board as they rehearsed.) The show was one of our best despite the shaky preparation process, in large part because of the commodious stage, but even more of a factor was the electricity emanating from the enormous audience.