Battery Dance Festival To Feature 40 In-Person Performances In Celebration Of 40th Anniversary
Battery Dance celebrates the 40th Anniversary of its free summer festival from August 12-20, 2021, in partnership with Battery Park City Authority. The 40th Annual Battery Dance Festival features 16 international dance films from August 12-14 at 7pm ET via YouTube. 40 in-person and livestreamed performances will be staged at Robert F. Wagner, Jr. Park, New York City, from August 15-20 at 7pm ET. In total, 32 premieres by 53 dance companies are offered to international audiences, promoting Battery Dance’s mission of connecting the world through dance. To register for live performances or to view virtually, visit https://batterydance.org/battery-dance-festival/.
Battery Dance Festival, New York City’s longest-running free public dance festival, was established by Battery Dance as the Downtown Dance Festival in 1982. Pre-pandemic, it drew audiences of approximately 2,000 people each night in its iconic setting. The Festival went virtual last summer, attracting 30,000 viewers across 206 countries. This summer, it will run as a hybrid model with six nights of staged performances for in-person and livestreamed audiences, preceded by three nights of virtual performances by International Artists.
“Dancing in the open air, with the river and sky in the background, is always a blissful Battery Dance Festival experience,” said Jonathan Hollander, President and Artistic Director, Battery Dance. “This year, it will be even more exhilarating as people come out of isolation to witness the entrancing performances at Wagner Park. Before the action starts on stage, three nights of truly riveting dance films from many corners of the globe will be screened. Creativity was running high during the pandemic, and we have harvested a heady mix from voguing on a mountaintop in Lebanon to swing dancing in South Korea; commedia dell’arte in Mexico to birdlike flocking in the Netherlands.”
International Dance Film Festival, ONLINE ONLY, at 7pm ET
August 12, 2021
We Arnhem, Chapter II, Introdans, Jurriën Schobben & Alberto Villanueva Rodríguez (The Netherlands)
Dancers Jurriën Schobben and Alberto Villanueva Rodríguez and colleagues of Introdans celebrate the resilience of their adopted city of Arnhem, The Netherlands, in a dance film about freedom and reconstruction.
Uninhabited Island, Dance Troupe Braveman (South Korea) – World Broadcast Premiere
Dancer/choreographer Jaewoo Jung embodies and reflects on the process, struggles and survival of all who enter and exit between the real world and the “Isle of Solitude”.
MI blanco, MI Negro, Chilaquiles Rojos Colectivo, Vladimir Campoy (Mexico) – World Broadcast Premiere
This film, made for the Battery Dance Festival, is a window into the soul and dreams of six different characters that live in their own version of México. Two hatted figures guide us on a journey in performances that involve the bodies, faces and gestures of the characters as well as the space that surrounds them.
A Moment – Wakati, Nantea Dance Company (Tanzania) – World Broadcast Premiere
Two male dancers explore the overlapping layers of an encounter, how a moment in time can change an individual’s attitudes, thoughts, experiences, and life in general.
Los Perros del Barrio Colosal, Boca Tuya, Omar Román De Jesús (Puerto Rico/NYC)
Through the exaggerated mannerisms of daytime television, the six characters of Los Perros del Barrio Colosal take us on a wild romp through the challenges of creative decision-making. Diving dramatically into the adventure of an imagination yet to be physicalized, they ask us to consider the far side of the moments when our ideas threaten, with disjointed urgency, to swallow us whole.
August 13, 2021
As Part of Lindy Hop Evolution, Team AJC, Andy Seo (South Korea) – World Broadcast Premiere
Team AJC shares the joy of the Korean Lindy Hop scene back to New York, where the form was born among the Black community in the 1920’s. Three performances include a creative choreographed performance meshing Lindy Hop and Vernacular Jazz, a smooth and rhythmical couple showcase, and a group partnered dance which is inspired by Whitey’s Lindy Hopper’s Big Apple performance.
WalkINN, Jiva Velázquez (Paraguay) – World Broadcast Premiere
Walking or riding the bike can be seen as a form of dancing in which pendulum motion appears and creates a rhythm. This video is a solo dancer’s ride across the trail of the ecological reserve in Buenos Aires, finding a new stage within which to move and express.
Downriver, Bollwerkfilm (Switzerland)
Water – Leonardo da Vinci called it ‘the blood of the planet’. A group of people emerges from the water. They try to resist the current of the river and the stream of people in the city, but have to surrender to the flow and are washed ashore. Stranded on the shore, they seek for hold and refuge. In the course of the film ‘against or with the flow’, ‘resistance and devotion’ manifest as primal instincts, as a survival strategy.
Our Stories, Arabesque Dance Vietnam (Vietnam)
Choreographed by Lim Sunyoung, Nguya??n Ta??n La??c, and Emeritus Ngô Tha??y Ta?’ Như, the viewer travels up the side of a building in Ho Chi Minh City, discovering different dances taking place on each floor.
The Circadian Cycle, Australian Dance Theatre (Australia)
Drawn upon choreography from Australian Dance Theatre’s award-winning mainstage work The Beginning of Nature, the dance is transplanted into the South Australian landscape. The Circadian Cycle examines morphology, biological rhythm, and animal behavior. The film charts a day from sunrise to evening, moving through cycles of nature, from nascence and awakening to predation and death.
August 14, 2021
The Bait, Chenglong Tang (China)
Inspired by a Chinese folktale, Jiang Gong (The Bait) is a short film centering on a metaphor of the hook-less fishing rod. The fisherman and the fish are both voluntary characters that rely purely on instincts and emotions. An intentional collaboration between dancers from two distinct cultures, the experimental dance film portrays a subtle relationship that can be a symbol of cultural assimilation, appropriation, or nothing at all.
Free Pita & Nilydna, Jill Crovisier (Luxembourg)
Free Pita (World Broadcast Premiere), finds its inspiration in the multiple faces of Israel. Aside from the territorial matter and the high political tensions around the disputed Holy Land is a nation of people who try to live a decent life, together.
Nilydna (the name of the featured dancer, Andy Lin, in reverse) explores gender identification and the beauty and strength of a young man who tries to find his place in a world of 7 billion humans.
Fall Back, Abhilash Ningappa (India) – World Broadcast Premiere
Created for the Battery Dance Festival during the lockdown in India, our kitchen became a stage and our terrace became a studio. When confined to the home, the imagination turns inwards, reliving many kinds of thoughts and feelings from the past, and sometimes celebrating the very minor things that you do at home, like cleaning the kitchen or playing with a ceiling fan.
Groundworks Alcatraz (excerpts), Dancing Earth Creations (United States) – World Broadcast Premiere
Groundworks Alcatraz is a multidisciplinary, mobile, site-responsive performance art installation that emerged out of long relationships with the land and peoples of the Bay Area; to honor and highlight the dreams, truths, and hopes of California’s Native cultural artists, who called in performing arts and media technology for activation of their aspirations. This film reflects the initiatory moment of shared contemporary ritual, just after the sunrise ceremony at Alcatraz, for Yelamu’s (San Francisco) first official Indigenous Peoples Day.
Goat & Al Jurd, Hoedy Saad (Lebanon) – World Broadcast Premiere
Dancemaker and voguer Hoedy Saad has created two short dance films that reflect different personal and complementary sides of his social and spiritual journey. Goat reveals his journey of self-discovery, searching for a deeper knowledge of beliefs, sources of comfort and strengths. Al Jurd (Barren Land) mirrors his struggle growing up as a feminine boy in Lebanon’s masculine society.
Näss (People) Excerpt, Massala Company, Fouad Boussouf (France) – World Broadcast Premiere
First there is rhythm, the sounds of immemorial time, unceasing and obsessive. From this rhythm is born the communion of seven dancers, a fusion of energies and bodies, the power of the community with its inherent violence and weaknesses. On the border between the sacred and the profane, between frenetic modernity and ancestral rituals, Näss challenges contradictory physical states and affirms the fusion between the popular and urban aspects of hip-hop. It questions its proper roots tracing their evolution until today.
In-Person and Livestreamed Festival Performances at 7pm ET
August 15, 2021 – India Independence Day
Kathak: Parul Shah Dance Company, featuring Parul Shah, Mohip Joarder with guest artist, Jin Won – “Yugal”, a duet choreographed by Kumudini Lakhia, and a world premiere choreographed by Parul Shah
Bharatanatyam: Kasi Aysola & SaiSantosh Radhakrishnan, “Water”, originally created as a solo by Kasi Aysolo and now premiered in its duet form
Kuchipudi: “Ananda Tandavam”, a solo adapted from choreography by Vempati Chinna Satyam in which Swathi Gundapuneedi-Atluri personifies both the male and female characters of Shiva and Parvathi in dialogue
Bharatanatyam: Choreographer Maya Kulkarni presents two world premieres featuring Mesma Belsare, Aishwarya Medhav and Aishwarya Sriram
Musical Interludes: Eventually Epic, musicians Sachin Premasuthan and Debarun Bhattacharjya perform original and song covers in Hindi and Tamil
Sutradhar (Narrator): Rajika Puri
August 16, 2021 – Young Voices in Dance, Tadej Brdnik, Artistic Advisor
The Stoic Bridge, Kate Louissaint & Nhyira Asante – World Premiere
An artistic journey that seeks to bring to life Norman Rockwell’s painting of Ruby Bridges entitled “The Problem We All Live With.” This is a story about fear, progress, and strength.
ニae??a??a?? (2:02), Imani Gaudin
This work explores the stages of grieving through research of the body in connection to the mind. What does grieving look like within different realms of musical genres, and how can these ideas be portrayed through a plethora of black bodies? Within the process, the use of the seven chakras aid in reaching an understanding of the emotions behind movement.
Repentino, Spencer Everett & Isabella Aldridge – NYC Premiere
Choreographers Isabella Aldridge and Spencer Everett present a new work about the resilience of the human spirit. Through integrating rubber bands into the choreography, boundaries, restrictions, and strength are experienced and reflect the innate human ability to bounce back and recover from extreme predicaments.
This is 22!, Brian Golden – World Premiere
Concepts of aging are explored and how we are shaped by milestones and the reality of time as we navigate our lives with others.
Shiva Panchakshara Stotram, Ramya Durvasula – World Premiere
Set to Uma Mohan’s modern vocal rendition of Shiva Panchakshara Stotram, this devotional piece in the Kuchipudi style is a prayer to the serene yet powerful Lord Shiva and a reminder of the eternal nature of life and death. Through the five verses of the song, the dancers embody each of the syllables in the sacred word Namashivaya. Upon completing the prayer, the dancers enter a meditative trance, dancing with complete abandon as though possessed by the god of dance himself.
Mine, Yours, Ours, Lily Summer Gee
Set to Nina Simone version of the Everly Brothers’ “Let It Be Me,” and beginning as an exploration of the choreographer’s Asian American heritage, the piece was built in dialogue with the dancers exploring concepts of complex heritage, lineage, and upbringing. The piece encompasses the duality of being both an individual and a branch from a family tree. How can we honor ourselves, our desires and beliefs, while still participating in and being tied to our ancestry?
Garden Tongues, Grace Yi-Li Tong
A trio made by and for Asian femmes satirizes the hyper-simplified (East) Asian-American experience, anti-Asian racism, and the fetishization of the Asian woman. With excerpts of popular choreography, text, and sound combined with performers’ personal stories and fantasies, Garden Tongues aims to re-appropriate and to interrogate the diminished identity of the “Oriental woman” historically written by a White, patriarchal system.
Untitled, Kanyok Arts Initiative, World Premiere
A collective choreographic response to the 15 months of pandemic and the political and social climates which the dancers face.
August 17, 2021
A Little Old, A Little New, Luke Hickey
Tap dancer and choreographer Luke Hickey presents a percussive revue highlighting the synergy of tap dance and jazz music from the swing era to modernity, with dancers John Manzari and Elizabeth Burke and a live jazz trio.
Warsaw, Graciano Dance Projects – World Premiere
A solo reflection on a city transformed by the cycle of destruction and rebirth, set to Olafur Arnalds’ composition quoting a Chopin Sonata.
Voila Viola, Company | E – NYC Premiere
Early 2021 brought the loss of choreographer Robert J. Priore’s grandfather, a loss that rocked his family and made Priore look introspectively at the marks his family has left on him and each other. “Voila Viola” explores the family’s intergenerational relationships, lineage, and rich traditions.
John 4:20, Baye & Asa
A duet that interrogates the performers’ shared histories and identities – New Yorker, Jew, Black youth, male dancer. Informed by the personal dynamics of their relationship, they create a physical vocabulary personifying political rage and the reality of violence juxtaposed with the need for empathy.
The Underground, Rohan Bhargava/Rovaco Dance Company
“The Underground,” interweaves pedestrian social dancing and contemporary movement to capture the physical and emotional experience of urban nightlife and the innate human desire to find connection and intimacy.
Solstice, Jon Lehrer Dance Company
An uplifting and joyous celebration of all things summer, showcasing artistry, athleticism, and accessibility. “Solstice” was created on commission at Artpark in Lewiston, NY for its Summer Solstice Celebration 2019.
Observatory, Battery Dance (2014)
Created on commission following Battery Dance’s national tour of South Africa, Observatory is named for the Cape Town neighborhood where its choreographer Theo Ndindwa resides with creative partner Tanya Arshamian. The piece has traveled worldwide on the Company’s various State Department tours.
August 18, 2021
Od:yssey, Dancing Wheels – NYC Premiere
Disabled choreographer Marc Brew was commissioned by Dancing Wheels Company of Columbus, Ohio, for “Reverse * Reboot * Reveal,” a landmark concert for which disabled choreographers were selected to create for the company in 2019. The Company makes its Battery Dance Festival stage debut after being featured in the Virtual Festival last season.
Donor, Will Ervin – Erv Works Dance – World Premiere
The name of the game is loss: loss of loved ones, loss of love, loss of opportunity, and loss of self. The piece maintains its identity in the in-between spaces of loss. Donor is about seeing the world around you without being able to interact with it or yourself, fighting to regain self-awareness, and navigating heartbreak.
Radio Days, Demi Remick & Dancers – World Premiere
A collection of tap dance vignettes embodies the nostalgia of an earlier time. Like the musical artists of the day, we strive to articulate the human experience through inciting optimism. Just for a moment, this series puts the myriad of emotions on pause, and invites us back.
On the Waterfront, MorDance
Choreographer Morgan McEwen highlights the symbiotic relationship between dance and music in this tribute to Leonard Bernstein, composer of the film score for which the piece is named.
The Liminal Year, Battery Dance – World Premiere
Following a 12-year tenure as a Battery Dance company member, Robin Cantrell returns as choreographer for this commissioned work that tells the story of New York during the pandemic, set to a specially composed score by Alexis Gideon.
Honky Tonk Angels, William Byram – NYC Premiere
What happens after midnight in the shadows of a dodgy alley or a small café? Set to the music of Patsy Cline, imbued with themes of forbidden love and the anxiety of time, the complex nature of relationships unfolds.
August 19, 2021
Virtuoso, CHR Project – NYC Premiere
The relationship between tap dance and musical instruments produces a combination of sounds and rhythms where there are no limits for creativity and exploration.
Deliver Us, Christian Warner
Originally created in 2015 to “Ave Maria” by Barbara Bonney, this duet was a choreographic response to inner frustrations with his faith and in an attempt to justify the chaos around him. Warner revisited the work in the pandemic context of 2020 with a more developed movement language.
846 (Rite of Spring), Jamal Jackson Dance Company – World Premiere
In a reinterpretation of the classic Rite of Spring in which a maiden is sacrificed in a primitive ritual, Jackson asks why must our nation rely on the sacrifice of black bodies to survive?
Rondo & Size of the Sky, New York Theatre Ballet
Rondo is Jerome Robbins’ pas de deux for two women choreographed in 1980 for New York City Ballet to music by Mozart. Original cast member, Kyra Nichols, staged this revival for NYTB.
Size of the Sky, choreographed by Nicolo Fonte to music by Kelly Moran, was commissioned by NYTB for its 2021 spring season of LIFT Lab Live. New York Theatre Ballet, then called The Dance Ring, performed at the first summer festival presented by Battery Dance in 1982 and in many iterations since.
Full Stop. Start Again. Akira Uchida, Maddy Wright, Joshua Strmic – World Premiere
Two movement artists and a percussionist share an interest in the roles played inside the creative process and the desire to experiment with the exchange and redistribution of those roles as themes of power, control, dependency, and dialogue emerge.
The Prayer of Daphnis, Christopher Williams – NYC Premiere
Excerpted from his reimagining of The Ballets Russe production of “Daphnis & Chloé” with Maurice Ravel’s 1912 score, Williams reappropriates themes of the second century novel by Greek romancer Longus on which it is based. This re-imagining of the original ballet’s dramatic scenario through a contemporary queer lens is performed by Taylor Stanley, principal dancer with the New York City Ballet.
It will happen again tonight, Dolly Sfeir
A strange society, at the mercy of god’s bratty daughter, is twisted through a series of dreamworlds: a birthday party, a clown nightmare, a street fight, a tidal wave. Fear, delusion, and anxiety fill the shifting fantasy, exploring the neurosis of a dream.
Ode to Yma, Battery Dance, Razvan Stoian & Jillian Linkowski
A miniature tribute to the exotic Peruvian diva, Yma Sumac, who entranced Hollywood and Soviet opera houses, entranced with her 4+ octave range and glamorous appearance. The Company thanks the New York-based artist Jaime Vasquez, Sumac’s nephew, for the inspiration to celebrate his aunt!
August 20, 2021
Alegrías, Flamenco Vivo II
Spanish for “joy,” Alegrías is a traditional flamenco palo (musical form) that originates from Cádiz, Spain. It has a 12 beat rhythmic cycle, playful mood, and often explores themes of the beach and ocean. This Alegrías is performed with flamenco complements including the bata de cola (long skirt train), mantón (flamenco shawl), abanico (fan), and castañuelas (castanets).
Maps, Ohiole Dibua – World Premiere
Choosing a path among the many options that lie ahead is about taking control of one’s own life.
Michoacán Suite, Ballet Nepantla
The solo “Nepantla,” performed to Anzaldua’s poem “To Live In The Borderlands Means You” explores what it means to live in physical and metaphorical in-between spaces. “Sones de Michoacán” is a joyous celebration of the beauty and culture of Mexico. “Danza De Los Viejitos,” an ancient dance with origins in the Andes region of South America, was danced for ritualistic and religious purposes during the season change on every solstice and equinox, honoring the elder God “Tata Huriata.”
Flower, Stasis – World Premiere
“Flexn”, a street style from Brooklyn, is the root movement for this work-in-progress previously sampled as “Introductory Projects.” The work is autobiographical, exploring the experience of both stagnation and flowering of a Hispanic male growing up in Brooklyn.
Cuesta Abajo, Galletto y Guzmán – World Premiere
Dardo Galletto and Alonso Guzman perform a duet to music by Adriana Varela, whose intensity is amplified through volatile Argentine Tango movement traditionally performed by a man and a woman. The two men navigate the seamless changing of leader and follower, as every step affects the other regardless of gender role.
Yemaya: Rebirthing to Existence, Beatrice Capote
The soloist regresses to the powers, strength, and spiritual aptitude of Yemaya, the Nigerian Yoruba people’s “mother of the salt-waters”. Guided through the spirit of the drum, the narrative explores the refining of one’s spiritual destiny through different paths.
Untitled, Battery Dance – World Premiere
Six Battery Dancers perform a world premiere choreographed by Ana Maria Lucaciu to a specially composed score by T.M. Rives. Following on last year’s dance film collaboration with fellow Romanian, Razvan Stoian of Battery Dance, Ana Maria demonstrates her deft treatment of calculated gesture and rich physicality to a series of overlapping duets and ensemble choreography that reveals profound secrets of human interaction.
For more information, visit https://batterydance.org/battery-dance-festival/.