Year » 2004


Warsaw, Poland

Warsaw, Poland
January 2004
guideposts

The Most Successful Programs are those that Build and Grow  

Battery Dance Company’s best results have been achieved by programs that build from a small launch (speaker program, cultural envoy, or two-person mini programs) into larger editions over a span of a year or two or even more.  

It is common sense:  You get to know your partners and they get to know you and your program, and both sides can take better advantage of the strengths of the other. Many of our programs (in Taiwan, Germany, Poland [shown above], India, in Sri Lanka) began as a single concept and then, over many years, took on new shape and dimension that we couldn’t have predicted at the onset.

Poland 2004

Warsaw, Poland
Warsaw, Poland
Poznan, Poland

Lost Luggage

Amman, Jordan
2004
guideposts


It scares me just to write these words.  Imagine how we felt in Amman, Jordan, when several of our personal bags and our COSTUME CASE didn’t arrive from Tunisia.  I still remember rummaging through the closets and chests of our extremely thoughtful and caring Embassy CAO and her husband, the dancers trying on various garments to see if they could find something suitable to perform in the next night at the Noor-Hussein Cultural Center.  Fortunately, the costumes ended up arriving an hour or so before the show so we looked a little wrinkled but appropriately attired.
 

"Converting Passivity into Action"

Frankfurt, Germany
2004



 

A personal connection with a friend in Southern Germany had impressed me deeply and inspired me to action in 2004.  The friend had mobilized her community around the saving of an historic building from demolition and restoring it.  The building had special significance to her as it was the last remaining emblem of Jewish life in the town.  Ultimately, a living museum was created that helped change the way people in the town thought about their traumatic past. 

The effort was modest but it spoke of a passion to address the scars of history and to convert passivity into action.  I thought that I could help bring attention to this worthy project by bringing Battery Dance Company to the town and staging a performance in the nearby amphitheater.  I was joined in this ambition by another New York choreographer, Aviva Geismar, whom I had met through the unlikely coincidence of her father’s family having been Jewish residents of the same town. _

 


Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, Hungary
June 2004

Battery Dance Company worked and performed here in 2004.


Dates

  • June 15 - 19, 2004

    Program Activities

  • 8 Hours of workshops at teaching Ballet, Modern, Pilates, Hip Hop and Repertory.

  • 1 x Performance to an audience of 252 spectators.

    Venues

  • Mozdulatművészeti Stúdió (Workshops)

  • Nemzeti Tancszinhas (National Dance Theatre, Budapest) (Performance)

  • Ask for Hotel Extras

    The dancer's stayed at a hotel that was all about location and budget. Being strictly 2-star, it was a boon that the hotel gave free access to its health club for our dancers, which they supplemented with visits to Budapest’s legendary spas.

    Arriving in the storybook architecture of Castle Hill, the essential tourist stop of this Middle European capital, sits the Nemzeti Tancszinhas, the National Dance Theatre. BDC would perform here during the visit to Budapest.
    Next-door neighbor to the President's Palace, it is a grand building which looks pretty special to us with its large Battery Dance Company poster displayed prominently in a vitrine on the front facade, next to a poster for Ballet Rambert. (The Rambert is England's oldest ballet company, former breeding ground of Frederick Ashton, Antony Tudor and Margot Fonteyn.) On the night of the performance, our dancers and lighting supervisor lived up to the billing in every respect. Rhythmic applause and multiple curtain calls testified to the strong audience response.

    On the second day in Budapest, having been welcomed with an elegant dinner at the residence of Ambassador on the night of our arrival, our dancers each taught a workshop for the local dance community. From 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., six BDC each brought their specialty (ranging from ballet to modern to Pilates, hip hop and repertory) at the atmospheric Mozdulatművészeti Stúdió.

    Hungary , 2004

    Budapest, Hungary
    Pécs, Hungary

    Pécs, Hungary

    Pecs, Hungary
    June 2004

    Battery Dance Company worked and performed here in 2004.


    Dates

  • June 19-23, 2004

    Sponsors

  • Christine Elder, Cultural Affairs Officer of the U.S. Embassy

    Program Activities

  • 1x Performance by BDC

    Venue

  • Tettye Amphitheater (Performance)

  • Make Sure Scheduling is Understood

    When BDC arrived in Pécs, they were prepared to lead workshops immediately. However, after some sort of miscommunication, nobody in Pécs had organized this happening. It is important to ensure that both the hosts and visitors have a clear understanding of the agreed schedule as workshops that were supposed to happen did not.

    After a late night of hanging and focusing lights (and negotiating in Hungarian) with a professional technical crew at the Tettye Amphitheater, we were forced to cool our heels the next day when rain stalled our momentum. Communications were problematic – our liaison here was an 18-year-old who has just graduated from high school and confesses, sheepishly, that he was “hung over” from the various parties going on each night. How, we wondered, would we negotiate through all of the issues of food, logistics, technical set-up and the like.

    We were to have performed the evening of June 20 among the Roman walls of the Tettye Amphitheater on the mountain overlooking this town. By mid-day, it appeared prescient that we had insisted on scheduling a rain-date months ago, and allowed for it in our travel schedule, though we still hoped that the squall outside would pass. Unfortunately, with mud all over the "backstage" area and intermittent showers all day, that was not to be. Our “sponsor” finally emerged from his inaccessibility at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday and demanded that we go ahead with the performance.

    We were supported by Christine Elder, Cultural Affairs Officer of the U.S. Embassy who had come down from Budapest with the Embassy driver, Attila, to see how our performance went over in the provinces. Attila served as interpreter in the meeting and we explained why dancers could not safely dance under the circumstances. Though we held tight to our decision to postpone, our “sponsor” gave us the distinct impression that he thought we were prima donnas, spoiled New Yorkers. And his final words (in Hungarian) were: “Well, it will probably rain even harder tomorrow!”

    The next day, Monday, was gloriously sunny, and we managed to get the stage area cleaned and to do our afternoon rehearsal. Putting the dancers through their paces on this particular stage was vitally important because 16th century monastery walls do not provide the easiest way to enter, exit and cross-over as you would do on an ordinary stage; and even more confusing, there wasn't a right angle in the place! "Where is center???” "Where is front?” “Where the audience is sitting, or perpendicular to the back wall?” (NOT the same, in this case!)

    The funniest and most emblematic moment of our stay in Pécs occurred during our rehearsal in the afternoon on Monday. The “cleaning lady” had finally arrived by bus to mop the stage and do her best to clean the offstage run-ways of mud. None of the technicians had agreed to do this, their body language and grumblings making it crystal clear that cleaning was not in their job descriptions. Mike Riggs, our intrepid technical director, and I were pretty much reconciled to doing it ourselves but the “cleaning lady” appeared and … cleaned. Then she sat in the audience and watched the dancers warming up, and engaging in their usual chatter. At one point, when someone uttered a rhetorical question, and an answer emanated from the seats, in English, we had a Eureka! Moment: the “cleaning lady” speaks English! And what’s more she’s smart. And what’s more, she’s nice, and friendly,!

    From that moment on Kata, a.k.a. “The Cleaning Lady”, was our constant companion.

    At any rate, back to Monday and the business for which we were there: darkness fell as did the temperature -- translation: audience wearing furry vests and woolens; dancers in skimpy leotards! Fortunately, the choreography kept the dancers warm enough on stage, and when off, they rushed for the changing rooms (trailers equipped with heaters.) "Mother Goose"... in its white satiny costumes, was more dreamlike than ever in the moonlight against the stone walls of the monastery ruins. I wonder what the monks would have thought of the eroticism in the piece! The local newspaper photographer zeroed in on a particularly graphic moment, and we found a large photo in the paper on Wednesday. "Secrets of the Paving Stones" with its austere beginning and quasi - theatrical nature was another highlight of the performance and earned repeated curtain calls.

    After the performance, the company had an unexpected day off – no one in Pécs had organized the “workshops” that were on the schedule. So Kata, “The Cleaning Lady” made a call, engaged a mini-van with driver, shuttled us up to the lake at the top of the mountain, called another friend who runs a kayak and canoe rental business, organized free boats for us, guided us to a secluded dock from which diving and swimming was perfect; found a country inn where we could have espressos and local wine, and delivered us safely back to Pécs afterwards.

    Hungary , 2004

    Budapest, Hungary
    Pécs, Hungary

    Warsaw, Poland

    Warsaw, Poland
    June 2004

    Dates

  • June 24 - July 2, 2004

    Venues

  • Studio Theatre

  • Palace of Culture (Plac Defilad 1, Warszawa, Poland)

    Services

  • 2 performances at New New Yorkers Festival in Warsaw

    Sponsor

  • U.S. Embassy, Warsaw

  • Take-aways:

    1. Thoroughly research the safety and security of “different” modes of transportation. Trains and motor vehicles can have special dangers associated with them in certain countries. We should have borne the expense of an extra night’s hotel room in either Budapest or Warsaw and of the airfare between the two cities. Instead we opted to save money both ways by taking the night train. The detailed description below reveals what a bad decision that was. And to make matters more infuriating, many people told us afterwards, “EVERYONE knows that people get gassed on night trains in this region; especially targeted are “rich Americans” who book sleeping compartments” … Too bad no one told us that “common knowledge” beforehand.

    2. No remote research into the technical specifications, staff and operations of a theater can truly prepare one for the real thing. If there is a possibility to do a site visit a month or two before the performance, a lot of agony can be avoided (unfortunately in this case we were unable to do so and suffered the consequences).

    3. Local partners, consultants and friends can do wonders to improve the chances for a good performance. In the case of Poland, we have many friends to thank and never would have reached so much success without their selfless support.

    Battery Dance Company returned to Poland in June, 2004, with a team of 8 people: 6 dancers, artistic director and technical director. The Tour constituted Battery’s 6th visit to Poland since 1996. The raison d’être behind Battery’s 2004 tour was two-fold: to participate in the New New Yorkers Festival in Warsaw and the Malta Festival in Poznan; and to present “Secrets of the Paving Stones” and “Between Heaven & Earth”, two works that had been created over the previous months to music by the Craców Klezmer Band, for Polish audiences.

    When we arrived in Warsaw, we loaded into the Studio Theater, that occupies a quadrant of the massive Soviet-era Palace of Culture. On previous tours of Poland, I had looked at this pile that dominates central Warsaw from the safe distance of the Maly Theater, a lovely and intimate haven of drama and dance across the street. This time we are the featured performance on the inaugural evening of the New New Yorkers Festival presented by the U.S. Embassy, and have a second evening as well.

    We were pictured in Polish Newsweek, adjacent to an article on Daniel Libeskind, who was also a part of the Festival! In the end, full houses and repeated curtain calls feel awfully good!

    Our dancers restored themselves on two mornings with a ballet class given by Warsaw’s prima ballerina and international ballet competition judge Ewa Głowacka, who came to our performance on the second night with her husband, a conductor. They rushed backstage afterwards and hugged and kissed all of us and thanked us for our performance. What an honor!!

    Mention must be made at this point of Pawel Pniewski, who currently serves as technical director for one of Warsaw’s most prominent theaters. Pawel had accompanied us on our previous Polish tours, in 2000 and 2002, serving as co-technical director, interpreter and guide. Busily engaged with his own projects this summer, he nevertheless found time to find lighting equipment to equip our theaters as well as intervening with intractable directors, and finding Ewa to teach us!

    Likewise, Multi-Communications President Malgorzata Bekier and her daughter Judyta welcomed us in Warsaw, helped interpret in the theater, and soothed our ruffled feathers afterwards. The person-to-person aspect of their friendship, loyalty and generosity helped us regain our balance.

    Poland 2004

    Warsaw, Poland
    Warsaw, Poland
    Poznan, Poland

    Poznan, Poland

    Poznan, Poland
    June 2004

    Battery Dance Company presented two performances as part of the 14th International Malta Festival. Because the Festival focuses on street theater, the performances were staged out-of-doors.


    Dates

  • June 24 - July 2, 2004

    Services:

  • Two performances at the 14th International Malta Festival

  • Social Issues:

    This Festival, like several others in Poland, becomes part of the fabric of the City. Events go on at unusual times (5 pm; midnight…) and in unusual places (courtyards, facades of buildings). To get into the spirit of the event, a visiting company has to adapt to the circumstances which are sometimes dangerous (dancing in the cold and rain) but tremendously rewarding given the strong integration with the public and other artists.

    Cultural Adaptation:

    BDC has worked in Poland extensively and the special feeling of the performing arts in the Polish milieu is one which we understand and embrace. This means that there is a multi-generational audience, plenty of young people, and the audiences don’t dash for the exits before the show is over. They seem to savor the performances, extracting every drop – and discuss and argue over the value and meaning of everything they see during lengthy post-performance gatherings at clubs and cafes.

    The take-away:

    Be prepared for the special conditions that govern a festival. Decide in advance, with all members of the company, the rules of the game – who will make a decision if a performance is to be cancelled or curtailed in the middle – at what point does adventure become reckless endangerment. Having these issues agreed upon in advance will mitigate problems among the group when rain begins to fall or the temperature drops.

    Battery Dance Company returned to Poland in June, 2004, with a team of 8 people: 6 dancers, artistic director and technical director. The Tour constituted Battery’s 6th visit to Poland since 1996. The raison d’être behind Battery’s 2004 tour was two-fold: to participate in the New New Yorkers Festival in Warsaw and the Malta Festival in Poznan; and to present “Secrets of the Paving Stones” and “Between Heaven & Earth”, two works that had been created over the previous months to music by the Craców Klezmer Band, for Polish audiences.

    Our first performance at the 14th International Malta Festival took place on a special covered stage erected for us in the courtyard of the Zamek (castle). Cold weather was a hardship for the dancers, only somewhat offset by electric heaters in the changing tents on either side of the stage. However, they danced magnificently and were rewarded with a sensational response from the audience.

    The next day thunder clouds blew in during the afternoon and there was torrential rain and lightning. Huddled in an arcade amongst the old central market square buildings in the old town, we thought….”not again!!!” We were determined to go on, but the temperature was also dropping fast (I think it must have been about 50 F by curtain time, with blustery winds and intermittent rain). A conference was held and our dancers, affected by the sight of the large and intrepid audience waiting patiently in the courtyard (without covering), decided to perform “Notebooks” and two solos (Sean's and Stevan's.) The extended applause from the drenched audience assured us that our efforts were appreciated.

    I wish to express the entire Company’s appreciation to Izabella Szarek for her expert, sensitive and effective handling of our tour of Poland. We shall all miss Andy Koss and appreciate his vision and support. Magda Wacisz, Renata Czerw and Jolanta Kepinska were all involved in helping us in the preliminaries and on the ground for the tour in various respects, and we are deeply grateful to all of them.

    Poland 2004

    Warsaw, Poland
    Warsaw, Poland
    Poznan, Poland

    Casablanca, Morocco

    Casablanca, Morocco
    March 2004

    Battery Dance Company Performed here in March, 2004.


    Dates

    • March 8-18, 2004 (March 8 – Barry Steele arrival; March 10-arrival of the company)

    Sponsor

    Venues and Services

    • Performance: Complexe Moulay Rachid, Casablanca (المركب الثقافي مولاي رشيد, Casablanca)
    • Workshop and Performance: Sidi Belyout Theater, Casablanca (Rue Leon L'Africain, Casablanca, Casablanca-Anfa, Grand Casablanca, Morocco)

    Workshops/MasterClasses:

    • Rabat American School, Rabat (1 Bis Rue Emir Ibn Abdelkader Agdal, 10000, Rabat, Morocco)
    • Mars-Venus Club, Rabat (Mars Venus Club Ar-Ribat, Morocco)
    • Conservatory of Music, Dance, and Theater of Rabat, Rabat (33 rue Tansift-Agdal, Rabat Morocco)
    • Circus School, Sale (Ecole du cirque de Salé Sale 11000, Maroc)
    • Performance and Master class: Sofitel Diwan Hotel, Rabat (Place de L'Unite Africaine, Rabat
    • Performance, Mohammed V Theater, Rabat (Theatre National Mohammed V)

    Project Activities

    • 11 x 3 Hour Dance Workshops Lead in Casablanca, Rabat and Salé. Roughly 20 youth attended each workshop.
    • 4 x 3 Hour Music Workshops Lead in Casablanca, Rabat and Salé. Roughly 20- 25 youth attended each workshop.
    • 1 Press Event at Dar America, Casablanca
    • 1 Solo Showcase in The Studio at Villa Mirador, Casablanca
    • 1 Performance in Casablanca at Rachid Moulay Cultural Complexe to an audience of 600
    • 1 One-hour long concert at the Sofitel Diwan hotel in Salé
    • 1 DVC interview with journalists and dancers of Amman, Jordanx
    • 1 Performance in the Mohammed V Theater in Rabat to an audience of 1600

    Social Issues & cultural adaptation:

    In advance of the program, this being our first venture in North Africa, we were perhaps over concerned with what we had been counseled as to “appropriate” garments for women – minimizing the exposure of skin. We’d had our costume designer create long sleeves and tights to match some of the costumes that had been thought to be too revealing. After the fact, we realized that European companies, primarily French, had performed frequently in Morocco and had exposed plenty of flesh. All in all, we managed to preserve the character of our costumes and avoided any possibility of offending the more conservative sectors of the community.

    Having said that, the women in our Company were not terribly comfortable in Casablanca. They felt leered at by the groups of men who hung out on street corners around the hotel; as opposed to the capital, Rabat, where they were more at ease on the streets.

    Take-aways:

    1. On this tour, we were dealing with one of the most professional Embassy teams we have encountered anywhere. They knew that technical assessment of the theaters was an essential ingredient in a successful program – and thus they requested that BDC’s production designer, Barry Steele, arrive before the Company and do site visits at the theaters in Casa and Rabat. In both cases, the performances went off beautifully and some portion of credit must go to the advance planning.

    2. The programs in Casablanca and Rabat included workshops with local street, hip-hop, and break dancers; as well as modern dancers. The inclusion of a semi-staged dance jam by these groups and BDC dancers as a surprise encore after BDC’s big concert at the Mohammed V Theater in Rabat proved to be a sensation and earned the Company an essay by renowned author and political pundit Robert Satloff, Director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in his book "The Battle of Ideas in the War on Terror: Essays on U.S. Public Diplomacy in the Middle East".

    3. Including our small band of 3 musicians, all of whom are trained as teachers as well as first-rate performers, added another dimension to our tour. The performances were enhanced by the live music in the pit; and the outreach was expanded since the musicians were programmed in conservatories while the dancers worked in dance studios.

    4. Don’t ever give up: While in Morocco, we had one of the most devastating security issues we have ever encountered; one so serious that it could have destroyed the programs in Tunisia and Jordan that followed. One of our dancers was pick-pocketed in the few steps between the hotel front desk and a taxi waiting outside in Rabat. Had he been a U.S. citizen, the issue would not have been so grave (we always carry multiple Xerox copies of passports and a temporary replacement could have been generated by the Embassy rather quickly.) However, this dancer was a native of the former Yugoslavia and had come to the U.S. and been granted political asylum. His original Yugoslav passport (a country that by that time no longer existed) as well as his U.S. travel documents were stolen. This theft threatened his ability to travel on with us to the next countries on the tour, and also made it possible that he would be denied re-entry into the U.S. The lesson learned was: Leave no stone unturned and ask everyone you can think of for advice. Someone may come up with what others see as an insoluble problem. The superb FSN in Rabat and I located an Embassy of what was then the Nation of Serbia and Montenegro. The interim Ambassador proved to be a young and friendly chap who thought nothing of generating a new Yugoslav (!) passport overnight and delivering it to us after the performance the next evening. By the time we completed our tour in Amman, Jordan, Homeland Security had managed to expedite replacement U.S. travel documents and though he had to do his warm up in the lobby of the specially opened U.S. Consulate (it was a Saturday) while waiting for the papers to be produced, he was able to return to New York with the rest of the company.

    Battery Dance Company showcased for Moroccan audiences the best of the best of America’s modern dance scene with two public performances. One in Casablanca, and another in Rabat. During the trip, the company worked with the U.S. Mission to reach out to a “younger, wider, deeper” audience through an intense series of workshops with young Moroccan dancers and musicians in Casablanca and Rabat during the March 10-17 visit.

    Top-notch professionals, the Company members (most in their 20s) also demonstrated their unsurpassed human touch by working with both budding ballet and “urban cool” hip-hop dancers with equal enthusiasm. Embodying at once self-discipline and focus, as well as openness and an egalitarian spirit, the young Americans impressed and disarmed their initially skeptical counterparts, breaking down barriers of language, religion and class to reach the shared common ground of art and human expression.

    In the first Dancing To Connect workshop in Casablanca, approximately 50 dancers, ages 18 – 30 attended (all male except for one young woman). Some were from Casablanca and others had traveled several hours to get there. BDC dancers invited the students to demonstrate their own dance routines (break dance was the universal medium). After about 45 minutes of demonstrations, BDC took over.

    BDC Dancers Lauren Alzamora and Kyla Ernst-Alper led a group of about 25 interested participants in a class based on Pilates and various dance stretch techniques. Fellow BDC Dancer, Sean Scantlebury, followed with exercises across the floor including jumps and turns. There was a good feeling in the room – of mutual respect and sharing of new ideas.

    Ballet, Hip-Hop, Modern and Injury-Prevention master classes were lead by BDC dancers the following day at Moulay Rashid Cultural Complexe in Casablanca. The dancers also presented studio showings of Solo's during this time. The trip to Moulay Rashid concluded with a performance that was attended by approximately 600 people. This included the Mayor of Casablanca and U.S. Embassy officials. The Company was accorded a standing ovation and 50+ audience members and VIP’s waited 30 minutes after the performance to greet and thank the performers.

    BDC then traveled to Rabat, where after a lunch meeting and tech rehearsal - the company lead Urban Dance, Ballet, Jazz and Music workshops. BDC musicians felt it was a successful interaction; new ideas were shared on both sides.

    The company then moved on to the Circus School in Salé (twin sister to Rabat), where they lead three dance workshops. These workshops went extremely well. The school was very anxious to participate and everyone cooperated in setting up the space appropriately, moving tumbling mats, laying down Marley floor (BDC supplied the tape to adhere the Marley which belongs to the school).
    The students worked very hard in each workshop and showed excellent concentration and ability to digest new techniques. Similarly, three music workshops at the Music Conservatory of Rabat also took place with jazz musicians and ganaouas, who are also conservatory students or teachers. The workshops were held by the three BDC musicians; Frank Carlberg, Christine Correa and Yousif Sheronick.

    BDC's trip to Morocco Concluded with a Performance at the Mohammed V Theater in Rabat; a Full-house including Ambassador & Mrs. Riley, DCM, Mrs. Bush and various leaders of the government and arts community of Morocco attended.
    Hosted by the Ambassador, the Rabat program opened with a widely-appreciated moment of silence in memory of the victims of the recent tragedies at Al Hoceima (earthquake) and Madrid and closed with two groups of Moroccan dancers (one “hip-hop”) joining with BDC in a surprise performance of two pieces prepared at workshops only a day before. The audience was delighted to see “their” boys and girls literally on an equal footing with the American “stars.”

    The Rabat performance was a sold-out show (recorded for local Moroccan Television) to an audience of 1,600 spectators, who ranged from young Moroccan “urban cool” street dancers, to two government ministers.

    2004 Morocco

    Casablanca, Morocco
    Rabat, Morocco
    Salé, Morocco

    Rabat, Morocco

    Rabat, Morocco
    March 2004

    Battery Dance Company worked and performed here in 2004.

    Please see Casablanca, Morocco for more details on the trip.


    2004 Morocco

    Casablanca, Morocco
    Rabat, Morocco
    Salé, Morocco

    Salé, Morocco

    Salé, Morocco
    March 2004

    Battery Dance Company worked and performed here in 2004.

    Please see Casablanca, Morocco for more details on the trip.


    2004 Morocco

    Casablanca, Morocco
    Rabat, Morocco
    Salé, Morocco

    Tunis, Tunisia

    Tunis, Tunisia
    March 2004

    Battery Dance Company worked and performed here in March 2004.


    Dates

  • March 17-23, 2004

    Sponsors

  • U.S. Embassy Tunisia

    Partners

  • National Circus School of Tunisia
  • Modern Dance Company of Syhem Belhoja

    Project Specifics

  • Press Conference With Battery Dance Company and Local Tunisians
  • BDC Performance at the Municipal Theatre Tunis to over 500 people (also aired on Tunisian TV)
  • Question and Answer Session With BDC Director, Jonathan Hollander

    Venues

  • Municipal Theater, Tunisia

  • In March 2004 the Battery Dance Company gave two dazzling performances and conducted several workshops in Tunisia.

    In Tunis, the group ran workshops over two days with the National Circus School, and the modern dance company of Syhem Belhoja. They gave a performance on March 19 at the Municipal Theatre, a beaux-arts jewel built in 1906, for over 500 people. A mix of invited and paying guests, the Tunis crowd was particularly appreciative of the mix of live music with dance. Students in particular were very enthusiastic about the performances.

    In Tunis, BDC's percussionist Yousif Sheronick met with some of Tunisia's leading musicians. The group began their stay with a press conference, and the Artistic Director Jonathan Hollander also gave several interviews during the March 19 performance. The diverse origins of the group were often noted.

    Battery Dance Company was covered widely in the print media, and was featured on the radio and TV. Tickets were given away on the new private station Radio Mosaique, and a tape from the March 19 performance was aired on a special cultural program on Tunisian TV on March 22. Ambassador Hudson hosted the group for a farewell reception on March 22, at which diplomatic, artistic and media contacts all congratulated BDC for their role as cultural ambassadors.

    Tunisia 2004

    Sfax, Tunisia
    Tunis, Tunisia

    Sfax, Tunisia

    Sfax, Tunisia
    2004

    Battery Dance Company worked and performed here in 2004.


    Dates

  • March 17-24,2004

    Sponsors

  • U.S. Embassy Tunisia

    Partners

  • National Circus School of Tunisia
  • Modern Dance Company of Syhem Belhoja

    Project Specifics

  • Press Conference With Battery Dance Company and Local Tunisians
  • BDC Performance at the Municipal Theatre Sfax to 350 people
  • Question and Answer Session With BDC Director, Jonathan Hollander

    Venues

  • Municipal Theater, Tunisia

  • In Sfax, Battery Dance Company performed for around 350 people at the Municipal Theatre, as the first event celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the theater. The crowd was again largely young, and they whistled, clapped and stomped their approval. The excitement generated by the group was captured in one article with the headline (in English) "Go, Go, Go!" that reviewed their performance.

    Several told PA afterward they had never seen anything like it. The size of the audience in Sfax was noteworthy in that BDC performed on a Sunday during a national holiday. The response of audiences to the group was fabulous. For example, in Sfax, just announcing that the group was coming from New York City produced applause.

    In Sfax some of the musicians with the group led to BDC holding a workshop with 25 students at the Higher Institute of Music.

    Tunisia 2004

    Sfax, Tunisia
    Tunis, Tunisia

    Amman, Jordan

    Amman, Jordan
    2004

    Battery Dance Company worked and performed here in 2004.


    Dates

  • March 23-27, 2004

    Sponsors

  • US Embassy Jordan

    Partners

  • Ahliyya School

    Program Specifics

  • 2 Mater Classes with 50 young ballet and modern students from Amman.
  • 1 BDC Performance to 300 students from the Ahliyya School.

    Venues

  • Ahliyya School

  • Security

    Battery Dance had to cancel two of their major performances due to breaking events in Amman. However, this did not discourage them from providing masterclasses, in order to give local dance students the opportunity to learn and connect with American Artists.

    Jordan hosted 11 members of New York's Battery Dance Company (BDC) for performances and workshops March 23-27, 2004. Although breaking events (the assassination of Sheikh Yassin by Israeli forces) precipitated widespread agitation in Amman and led to the cancellation of two major performances for security reasons, the BDC members distinguished themselves by their openness and willingness to engage with the Jordanian public of all ages and backgrounds.

    The group conducted two very successful master classes with approximately 50 young ballet and modern dance students, while the musicians led a workshop with 25 mostly elementary school students drawn from schools in Amman.

    In one of the most stimulating events, five of the dancers presented solo and duo modern dance routines to a rapt audience over 300 teenager girls at the Ahliyya School in downtown Amman, followed by a spirited discussion of the role of art in modern life and the importance of bridging cultures and backgrounds to reach the universality of the human spirit. The group integrated easily with local artists, musicians and dancers, sharing in after hours activities with them and trading emails for follow-up. At the one full matinee performance BDC was able to get approved by RSO and the Amman Municipality, and drew in an audience of over 200 people who had been contacted individually by phone from the PA offices, with only 18-36 hours notice. Local co-sponsors report that ticket sales were headed for a full sell-out before the plug was pulled, while Embassy phone lines were clogged with disappointed invitees and ticket holders who couldn't believe the show had been cancelled.