Battery Dance Company peformed and worked here in 1999.
See the narrative for lessons learned.
Battery Dance was presented in three concerts at the MU Theatre in Budapest, Gerzson Peter Kovacs, Artistic Director. The Company presented a mixed-bill, comprising 6 songs from the Songs of Tagore production, Moonbeam, and Layapriya. The Tagore songs were performed with live musical accompaniment by vocalist Sharmila Roy, a world-renowned Bengali singer and her regular tabla accompanist John Boswell of the U.K.
Two of the performances, on Saturday and Sunday evenings, were marketed to the MU Theatre's substantial dance subscriber list and the general public via advertisements and listings in Budapest's arts & events magazines and daily newspapers.
The performances were sold-out and the audiences were noticeable for their multi-generational character. Rhythmic clapping at the end of the program attested to the audience's enthusiastic response to the work. A write up by Dr. Gedeon Dienes, dean of Hungarian dance writers, was further indication of the Company's reception.
The third concert, presented on Monday evening and followed by a reception, was arranged with the support of the American Embassy and Citibank. The audience was extremely international and included Ambassadors and diplomats representing the U.S., Mexico, Portugal, India, Hungary, the U.K. and Finland. The American Ambassador, gave an impassioned introduction prior to the performance, and hosted the reception afterwards.
Battery Dance Company sought out opportunities to teach young people in schools and local dancers in Budapest to take place during its residency. Though this type of activity is not common in the region, we found a partner in Adrienn Szabo and her non-profit, non-governmental organization called The Workshop Foundation, based at the Trafo Center for the Arts. Adrienn set up a three-day workshop entitled "Yoga For Dancers", taught by Battery's Katherine McGowan, which was attended by a 12 dancers from Budapest's active dance scene. Having never before set up dance programs in public schools, Adrienn had a difficult time establishing the contacts and organizing Battery's lecture-demonstrations. However, she managed to set up programs at a public middle school, a public high school and the American International School. We learned afterwards that this was the first time any contemporary dance company (including locally based ones) have ever brought their programs into Hungarian schools.