Battery Dance Company performed here as part of the 2010 African tour.
When the company arrived the Theatre Regional D'Annaba they feared they would have to dance on the old and gauged wooden stage floor. This would have been extremely problematic, had someone from the Alliance Francaise not appeared at the last minute. They brought with them a Marley Dance Floor that meant the dancers did not have to worry about splinters and possible accidents when performing.
Following Battery Dance Companies work in Algiers, the company left for the city of Annaba in the Eastern part of the country. It was hoped that the L’ONCI dancers would travel with BDC, to perform their new choreography for their fellow countrymen. However, the Ministry was unwilling to fund their transportation. BDC offered to pool their funds and cover the cost of a bus rental, and to share rooms in the hotel – but things don’t move that way in Algeria and the official answer was “thanks, but no thanks.”
Photos of Annaba on the internet are much more glorious than the city that Battery Dance Company visited, which looked as if it had been a French seaside resort and fish industry center many decades ago but had since fallen on hard times. The clock was already ticking when the company arrived in the morning with a full show to be staged that very same evening. The dancers were deposited at the hotel (grade C though advertised as 5*).
Ben, BDC's production director and BDC dancer Carmen made for the Theatre Régionale d’Annaba. What we found there caused fear in our hearts: a wooden stage floor deeply gauged from years of grand piano moving and/or productions of Aida. Not only that, but the lighting equipment and draperies were of a very old vintage and the technical crew didn't seem terribly motivated.
Someone turned up from the Alliance Francaise, despite the fact that it was a weekend and he was technically off duty. He brought with him a marley dance floor, ending the companies terror over the splintery surface. Hours of hard labor resulted in an amazingly polished show, attended by a full house and rewarded with a standing ovation.
The company was particularly astonished by the capacity attendance given the fact that Annaba was only added to BDC's itinerary a few days earlier and there had been no time to build up a p.r. campaign. Seemingly the large banner hoisted across the façade of the building had been adequate to bring in the crowds!