As always, the festival features international dance troupes. This year, the virtual festival brings together 52 performances including 28 premieres from 19 countries, and several dance troupes from New York City.
This year’s featured artists include a curated selection of NYC-based dance companies as well as video dance makers from Belgium, Canada, Curaçao, France, Greece, Hungary, India, Iran, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, Netherlands, Palestinian Territories, Romania, South Africa, Switzerland, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States and Zimbabwe.
Themed evenings include World and U.S. film Premieres from the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Japan and North America.
The centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which recognized the woman’s right to vote, serves as a focus for a program by women choreographers.
Works that focus on Black voices in dance, the resiliency of New York City and the Festival itself and a special program celebrating India’s Independence Day round out the Festival.
For the past several years, the performances have been held live, outdoors, at Robert. F. Wagner Jr. Park in Lower Manhattan, and a finale indoors at the Schimmel Center at Pace University.
Battery Dance Festival 2020 Virtual Schedule
Friday, August 14
Black Voices in Dance
Featuring D (NYC), Will Ervin (Illinois), Jamal Jackson Dance Company (NYC), Kofago Dance Theater (NYC)
Ervs Works Dance kicks off the Festival with I-will I-Will I-WILLLLL, investigating the complications of one’s relationship to the self by choreographer Will Ervin. Festival favorite Jamal Jackson Dance Company presents grEeneR grASsEs exploring the impact of migration. Kafago Dance Ensemble, steeped in traditions from West Africa and the Caribbean, presents CROSSROADS, with the deity Eshu as its guardian.
D, founded by director Dorchell Haqq, presents the Company’s work tenderheaded…, examining the process of rediscovering ourselves.
Saturday, August 15
Celebrating India Independence Day
Featuring Rajika Puri (Narrator), Aakash Odedra Company (India/UK), Aditi Mangaldas Dance (India), Bijayini Satpathy (India), Kapila Venu (India), Pradeesh Thiruthiya (India), Sadhya Dance (India), Sooraj Subramaniam (Australia/Belgium), Sophia Salingaros (U.S.), Sreelakshmy Govardhanan (India), Zoya Akhtar (India)
Acclaimed Indian dance artists perform ancient rituals, classical dances and contemporary works, moderated by dancer/scholar/curator Rajika Puri on India Independence Day.
New York-based Bharatanatyam dancer Sophia Salingaros opens the program with a dedication to the God Shiva.
Kathak/contemporary artist Aditi Mangaldas takes us into an interior monologue while Aakash Odedra and Hu Shenyuan share moments from Samsara whose European and U.S. engagements were halted by the pandemic. A haunting melody suffuses a garden in Bijayini Satpathy’s version of a classic Odissi work by Kelucharan Mohapatra, performed by her two disciples.
Kuchipudi dancer Sreelakshmy displays the storytelling aspect of the Kuchipudi form in a forest setting.
A Festival commissioned film reveals the painstaking makeup of Theyyam artist Pradeesh Thiruthiya in timelapse as he transforms into the goddess Bhagawati; and Koodiyattam prima donna Kapila Venu personifies the tortoise avatar of the Hindu God Vishnu by lamplight.
Sadhya Dance’s Grapple explores darkness and light with three contemporary male dancers; while Sooraj Subramaniam presents a danced miniature against the Ghent skyline. Director Zoya Akhtar’s uproarious Gallan Goodiyaan from the film “Dil Dhadake Do” provides a rousing Bollywood finale.
Sunday, August 16
From the Middle East including Ayman Safiah Memorial Tribute
Featuring Ayman Safiah (Palestinian Territoriesin memoriam), Hoedy Saad (Lebanon), Project TAG (Iraqi Kurdistan / U.S.), Tanin Torabi (Iran), Yaa Samar! (Palestinian Territories)
dance-makers from Iraqi Kurdistan, Palestinian Territories, Iran and Lebanon challenge stereotypes and encourage the deepening of trust and mutual understanding through art.
In the U.S. premiere of The Dérive, Tanin Torabi moves among the people in an old bazaar in Tehran where dance is prohibited.
The world premiere of Project TAG’s A Call for Prayer encourages the making of peace with our own conflicted selves. Hoedy Saad, a choreographer and voguer from Lebanon performs TBD, a world premiere. Battery Dance remembers the life of Ayman Safiah, a 29-year-old Palestinian dance artist born in Galilee, who tragically died in May.
A selection of films prepared by choreographer Samar Haddad King reveals the impact Ayman had on a generation of Palestinian and Israeli dancers as a choreographer, director, mentor, and role model.
Monday, August 17
From Europe & Japan
Featuring Ana Maria Lucaciu & Razvan Stoian (Romania/U.S.), Emiko Agatsuma (Japan), Emma Evelein, (Netherlands), Ludivine Large-Bessette (France), Odos Productions (Greece), TranzDanz/cie. Gerzson Péter Kovács (Hungary)
Future Temple by Japanese choreographer Emiko Agatsuma imagines the changing perception of the soul from past to future. Commissioned by the Romanian Cultural Institute, Ana Maria Lucaciu and Razvan Stoian present Almost, a story of two echoing universes that aim to align; the air between two bodies resonate with what could have been.
Sisters, an award-winning dance film choreographed by Emma Evelein, portrays three sisters growing up in a broken family, revealing their inner world and unbreakable relationship. In the U.S. premiere Trans-tánc Budapest by TranzDanz / cie. Gerzson Péter Kovács, young dancers repeat a sequence inspired by Hungarian folk dances as they traverse the emblematic sites of Budapest.
Strikingly filmed on sand dunes in Greece, the U.S. premiere of Anasa is contributed by Odos Productions, the work of Swiss choreographer Maja Zimmerlin and French filmmaker Thomas Delord. Ludivine Large-Bessette’s Drop Out Bodies questions the fatality of the human body and our individual and collective responsibilities in this complex time.
Tuesday, August 18
Celebrating the Centennial of U.S. Women’s Right to Vote
Annalee Traylor (Alabama/NYC), Ashley Menestrina (NYC), Doris Humphrey danced by Meggi Sweeney Smith (NYC), Futorian Dance Theatre (NYC), Jean Erdman (in memoriam) through Nancy Allison (NYC), Kathryn Posin Dance Company (NYC), Lori Belilove dancing Isadora Duncan (NYC), RGWW (Los Angeles, California)
Battery Dance Festival honors female choreographers in a program co-curated by Catherine Tharin. Combative Echoes by Ashley Menestrina investigates the role of memory and transient energy in the human experience. Annalee Traylor’s the nearness of you metaphorically depicts four vignettes universally connected through aspects of relationships.
Inspired by the Persian tale of Shahrzad, Rosanna Gamson’s Layla Means Night reveals our insatiable desire to be entertained. Set to Steve Reich’s Pulitzer-winning Double Sextet, Kathryn Posin adds a third sextet of dancers to the polyrhythmic interlocking musical network. Futorian Dance Theatre presents a world premiere suite with the theme of compassion, nurturance, and dedication.
With choreography by Jean Erdman, a dancer rehearses alone in a studio enchanting herself back into the forest as a wood nymph, while Isadora Duncan’s Revolutionary, as danced by Lori Belilove, and Doris Humphrey’s Quasi Waltz as danced by Meggi Sweeney Smith round out Tharin’s legacy suite.
Wednesday, August 19, 2020
Featuring Abdul Kinyenya (Uganda), Dunia Dance (Zimbabwe/Belgium), Luthando Dance Academy (South Africa), Moving into Dance (South Africa)
Moving Into Dance Company performs Road and Everlast, fusing African and Western contemporary movement, ritual and music. Thina, created by Phumlani Nyanga and performed by the dancers of Luthando Dance Academy, portrays a young South African family as they struggle to maintain harmony. Abdul Kinyenya’s Twete attracted worldwide attention when shown on Battery Dance TV in May, earning a reprise in the Festival.
Thursday, August 20
From North America
Featuring Cornfield Dance (NYC), Dancing Earth Indigenous Contemporary Dance Creations (Indigenous territory, occupied New Mexico and California), Dancing Wheels (Ohio), Delfos Danza (Mexico)m Kaeja d’Dance (Canada), National Ballet of Canada
Toronto-based Kaeja d’Dance presents 22 dancers improvising one-minute solos in an urban glade at the edge of Lake Ontario with the skyscrapers and harbor of Toronto in the background. National Ballet of Canada’s offers Gratitude, choreographed by the dancers of the company who perform on balconies and in homes, yards, woods, gardens and parks.
Cornfield Dance’s Portal denotes the passageway from one state to another-agitation into peace and quotidian into sacred. Choreographed by David Dorfman, Imagine, If You Will… is performed by Dancing Wheels, the first professional physically integrated dance company in America, uniting dancers with and without disabilities. <
Mexico’s Delfos Danza presents Telempathies, a U.S. Broadcast premiere of an experimental work using dance on Zoom.
Friday, August 21
From Battery Dance and its Resilient Festival
Featuring Art-a-Hack (NYC), Battery Dance Company (NYC), Reuel Rogers (Curaçao)
This evening’s works explore the past, present, and future of Battery Dance and the Festival.
Based on Greek mythology, Battery Dance Company’s world premiere Icarus, choreographed by company member Razvan Stoian, reflects on hubris as our society’s demise. Partnering with artist/technologist Ellen Pearlman and Thoughtworks Arts, Art-a-Hack joins Battery Dance’s Stoian and Hussein Smko in collaboration with 25 international art hackers exploring the intersection between dance and cutting edge technologies.
Curaçao-based dancer/choreographer Reuel Rogers, mentored by Battery dancer Sean Scantlebury and a highlighted performer in last year’s festival, presents his new work
Hero, a motivational piece about how to become your own personal hero.
Saturday, August 22
From NYC with Love and Hope
Featuring Accent Dance (NYC), Dolly Sfeir (NYC), Fractal Collective (Netherlands), Pony Box Dance Theatre (NYC/Los Angeles, California), Tom Gold Dance (NYC)
Battery Dance Festival dedicates its final day to New York City.
The world premiere of Tom Gold Dance’s Plan & Elevation, set to Caroline Shaw’s string quartet, imagines an encounter among four individuals on a summer day in a garden. hi are you like me choreographed by Dolly Sfeir is an ironic presentation of the finance world and its inhabitants. Pony Box Dance Theatre’s No Man is an Island explores the feeling of isolation arising from the virus lockdown of 2020 as four dance artists of color reach out to one another in the cleared streets of NYC.
Fractal Collective presents From the Streets to the Seats, with breakdance hitters around the globe from Amsterdam to the NYC subways in a documentary and performance story about hustle, hope & hierarchy. Accent Dance’s Naranjo en Flor crafts an abstraction of the tango form, blending ballet and contemporary vocabularies set against a live performance of the most traditional song in the tango canon.
Battery Dance Festival is available online nightly 7pm – 8pm via YouTube.
- For more information, visit http://batterydance.org/battery-dance-festival/.
- Films will remain online for ten days after their premiere.
About Battery Dance Festival
Established in 1982, the Battery Dance Festival (BDF) is New York City’s longest-running free public dance festival and one of its most wide-ranging. Its annual live audience of over 12,000 will be multiplied many times over with the ability to attract viewers from the entire world this year.
Constricted by the pandemic and uncertainties over how to safeguard both performers and audience members, we’ve decided to go virtual in our 39th year. In doing so, our curators have discovered a wealth of beautiful material on film, most of which has never been seen before by our audience. So let’s celebrate silver linings and look forward to nine nights of rare and inspiring dance across a world of genres,” said Battery Dance founder and Artistic Director Jonathan Hollander.
Battery Dance created its outdoor festival in 1982 in lower Manhattan, the community where it was founded in 1976. As one of America’s leading cultural ambassadors, Battery Dance connects the world through dance. The Company pursues artistic excellence and social relevance by creating vibrant new works, performing on the world’s stages, presenting dance in public spaces, serving the field of dance and teaching people of all ages with special attention to the disadvantaged and areas of conflict.