Battery Dance Company worked here in October 2010 as a part of its tour of Africa.
During the trip, two Battery Dance Company members were assaulted by two local youths. Fortunately, the two company members that were attacked managed to fend of the youths and perform later that evening. Perhaps this could have possibly been avoided if the company traveled in large groups.
The stage at Complexe Culturel was a strange semi-circle shape. This was something the dancers were not prepared for. The company managed to alter their performance to the stage- but it meant they had to completely change their performance program at the last minute. BDC managed to adapt the performance successfully in the little time they had.
One of the stops on BDC's 2010 Algerian Tour was the market town of El Eulma. Battery Dance Company was supposed to have performed in Sétif, a much larger and more cosmopolitan city. However the stage in Sétif was determined to be too small for the dancers needs. Unfortunately, when the company arrived in El Eulma (following a very long and truly dangerous bus ride) they discovered that the small stage of the rather grandly titled Complexe Culturel was shaped in a semi-circle with a low ceiling dotted with recessed multi-colored patio lights.
To complete the picture, there were swagged draperies and a photo of President Boutaflika against the curved back wall. The crew was more than willing to remove the draperies and photo, revealing an attractive trellised plaster wall (see photo below) Adaptability was BDC's mantra, and the dancers instantly switched the intended large-scale program for a series of solos, duets, a trio and one quintet, all of which could be accomplished on this cookie cutter stage.
During the afternoon, we suffered our only security mishap of the tour: Mira and Robin were assaulted by two teenage ruffians who knocked Mira off the sidewalk, onto the broken bricks of a back lot and attempted to steal her bags. Robin screamed bloody murder and both women used their best karate kicks to ward off their attackers, who laughed and ran away. Both women performed a few hours later and showed no lack of composure on stage.
BDC dancers were particularly touched by the audience in El Eulma. These were people who had never had the opportunity to see a modern dance performance before and who would have had no previous exposure to Americans. A group of high school students participating in an Embassy-sponsored English language program were thrilled to meet the dancers after the performance. The balance of the audience appeared to be merchants and others who were attracted by the novelty of a visit of a dance company from New York.