Battery Dance Company worked and performed here in connection with its program in Johannesburg.
Partnerships & Venues
For Lessons Learned in Pretoria, see Lessons Learned in Cape Town.
Youth in Trust Arts Initiative
Two BDC teaching artists worked with two large groups of students from the Youth in Trust Arts Initiative housed in the State Theatre of South Africa in Pretoria. The students, ranging in age from 18 – 22, were extremely talented, motivated and full of creativity. It was a joy to observe these groups at work, a pleasure we were able to share with the Assistant Secretary, DAS, and Director of Policy and Evaluation, whose visit to South Africa overlapped with our program.
State Theatre of South Africa
Jonathan Hollander, BDC Artistic Director, formed a collegial relationship with the newly appointed CEO of the State Theatre, Quinton Simpson. They met several times to compare notes and share information, resources and networks. Simpson will be taking part in a Voluntary Visitor Program in New York City in January and has called upon Hollander to help organize meetings with various cultural organization leaders to supplement appointments that are being made through the Department of State’s ECA Bureau in Washington.
Bafana Soloman Matea
The presence of the South Africa-born Bafana Matea, an 8-year member of Battery Dance Company, lent the Company’s South Africa program a special and deep resonance and solidarity with the local youth and dance communities as well as a critical hook for the media. Matea grew up in the township of Mamelodi and his mother Anna is an employee of the State Theatre where his training and exposure to the dance profession started. Matea won an Alvin Ailey Scholarship to study in the U.S. and went on to perform with Ballet Hispanico and Elisa Monte Dance Companies before joining BDC. The U.S. Mission to South Africa took full advantage of the unique opportunity of using Bafana as a magnet for publicity, scoring major attention in the mainstream press and television. Bafana’s wife, Amanda, also an accomplished dancer and teacher (who has been a member of the Alvin Ailey II Company) voluntarily accompanied the Company on its South Africa tour and was an important addition to the group, co-teaching with Bafana and even filling in for him when he was called away for media interviews.
Breytenbach Theatre, Tshwane Technical University
At the completion of the week in the Gauteng during which 80 Dancing to Connect participants logged approximately 20 hours of training, everyone gathered at the Breytie Theatre for a grand performance. The first 35 minutes of the performance featured the four student DtC groups presenting their newly created works. This was followed by a performance by the Battery Dance Company. The Ambassador and and Consul General were among the honored guests. In addition to thanking the Minister Counselor and Country Cultural Affairs Officer for their stewardship of the DtC programs, Jonathan Hollander made a special tribute to the Cultural Affairs Specialist, the linchpin of the program.