Battery Dance Company returns to France after the success of its Dancing to Connect program in Maubeuge, 2013, to conduct workshops and a performance in Trappes.
Fresh from the experience of conducting Dancing to Connect in the Nord Pas de Calais towns around Maubeuge in 2013, arrangements were made by the US Embassy in Paris for Battery Dance Company to have a follow-up program the next year in Trappes en Yvelines in the Île de France region. Trappes has a certain notoriety in France due to the manifestations that occurred there in years past between the immigrant population and the police; but is also known as the home of the popular comedian Jamel Debbouze.
The target group was to be composed of teenagers and young adults with an emphasis on the immigrant population. Discussions also included the possibility of involving a group of senior citizens, either in their own group, or mixed in with teens in a multi-generational approach. Various departments of the City Government of Trappes were called into play and initially it seemed as if we would have a diverse group with a full complement of participants including a small group of adults and senior citizens. Likewise, we were to have participants and trainers from the local, very renowned hip-hop group, Black Blanc Beur. In reality, the 3Bs were uninvolved with the exception of one very talented and motivated young man, Youss, who was a valuable contributor to the program. Likewise only 1 senior, 2 adult moms and 1 young adult male social worker joined with the 40 teen participants. There was a notable reluctance to participate among many of the teens who appeared to be in vacation mode and uninterested in exerting themselves; and drop-outs were aplenty. From the plan of having 5 separate groups, it was decided to consolidate 4 of the groups into 2, with Robin and Mira forming one team; Carmen and Sean forming another; and Clement maintaining his own group.
Choreography was assembled and eventually resulted in finished works of 8 – 10 minutes in length.
A final performance was staged at La Merise, a theater located in the center of Trappes. Benoît Hamon, then Minister of Education, attended the performance with a full complement of officers from the US Embassy Paris including Phil Breeden, Minister Counselor for Public Affairs and his wife Laurence; Cultural Affairs Officer Jennifer Rasamimanana who addressed the audience at the beginning of the show, alongside Deputy Mayor Phil Gueroult. The performance was a standing-room-only event. Battery Dance Company performed three works from its repertoire and the 4 student groups presented their completed choreographies, with custom made projections that incorporated the natural and historical scenery from Belfast and Northern Ireland. The production received numerous curtain calls from an enthusiastic public audience that gave a standing ovation.