The salient characteristics of Battery Dance Company’s 1994 can be summarized as follows:
1) This was the Company’s first big international tour that was unconnected from Fulbright . BDC had sought financial support from the Embassy in Delhi but were turned down. However, two Foreign Service Officers went out of their way on a personal basis to help the company. One of them managed to get posters and playbills designed and printed by the Embassy and hosted a dinner in her residence in New Delhi; the other organized a reception for BDC in Chennai. ICCR sponsored the companies performance at Kamani Auditorium in New Delhi and local arts organizations hosted all of the others. Battery Dance were met with tremendous success which helped counter-balance the pain of maxing out the company credit cards. (Despite having many of the expenses covered in-kind by local sponsors, and airlines sponsorship from Air-India, there is no substitute for cash.)
2) BDC's engagements in 6 cities were promoted by friends and colleagues within the Indian dance and performing arts community. These relationships had been established during Jonathan Hollander's Fulbright posting in 1992. The Company’s rigorous tour that year gave the company the opportunity to locate good-hearted individuals within local Indian institutions that gave BDC the wherewithal to do the tour “on their own”.
3) In 1994, BDC had to rely on faxes, airmail letters and phone calls (kept short because they were expensive) in order to set up the tour. E-mail was up and running for some people but it hadn’t reached Battery Dance Company yet. When it did, shortly after this tour, everything changed – the speed of organizing and building international programs accelerated rapidly.
4) A very important point that the company is only recognizing now after all these years: In 1993, after having witnessed so many great Indian dancers in situ during my Fulbright posting, BDC organized cross-country American tours for two Indian dance companies under the umbrella of Battery Dance Company. The two companies – Jhaveri Sisters Manipuri Dance and C.V. Chandrasekhar’s Nrityashree of Vadodara – were highly respected by their peers in India and their debut American tours, organized by BDC, resonated throughout the South Asian dance community. As a result, it is likely that Hollander and company treated as a VIP and people did more for me than they would have, knowing that reciprocity was a concept BDC understood and respected.
5) Another important aspect of the tour was that Hollander had choreographed a new work, “Seen by a River”, to a score composed by Indo-American tabla player Badal Roy who joined BDC for most of the engagements on the tour. Badal was a famous name in India, having been the first Indian to make it in the mainstream American jazz world. He had performed with Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman and many others; so, in a sense, Battery Dance were riding on his coattails in India.