Make Yourself Uncomfortable

Make Yourself Uncomfortable

Important Terminology

Important Terminology

The Truth of the Body

The Truth of the Body

Rangoon, Burma: Creating a stage on a basketball court

Rangoon, Burma:  Creating a stage on a basketball court
A dozen workmen, teak wood, rubber cushioning, linoleum flooring can combine to make a professional-quality stage on an outdoor basketball court!

Pre-tour Planning

Pre-tour Planning
Going through the day-to-day with Aviva Geismar and the teaching artists from Drastic Action and Battery Dance Company

Burma - working with FSN's

Burma - working with FSN's
Nyi Nyi was one of the terrific Foreign Service Nationals at US Embassies overseas who have made our projects go. Here he is shepherding us at the airport in Rangoon.

Luggage

Luggage
I recommend Fibrecases -- these were purchased a dozen years ago, and yes, they look like it, but they've held up and they don't attract pilfering because they look so distressed!

380 Broadway, 2003

380 Broadway, 2003
Tomek Wygoda, whom we met through the Silesian Dance Theatre in Poland, came to New York to work on a solo with Jonathan. This piece was ultimately performance in Krakow at the European Conference on Tolerance with live accompaniment by the Cracow Klezmer Band.

Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 2006

Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 2006
Working with wonderful dancers from the Amrita Performing Arts, we tried out our newly minted Dancing to Connect project. Fred Frumberg and Kang Rithsal (seen in the yellow shirt) trusted us and facilitated our visit. Who knew that the King would return from Paris especially to see the performance??

Opera House, U.B., Mongolia 2008

Opera House, U.B., Mongolia 2008
Carmen and Mayuna outside the opera house. From the outside, the treacherous conditions are not visible (this is the place with the guttered stage floor.)

Waldorf & Waldkirch Schools, Freiburg, Germany, 2008

Waldorf & Waldkirch Schools, Freiburg, Germany, 2008
Carmen is working with visually disabled students in a Dancing to Connect workshop that brought them together with students from a Waldorf School.

Theater Freiburg, Germany, 2008

Theater Freiburg, Germany, 2008
No one could quite believe that students from 3 different schools could merge into a functioning team so fast as these kids did in their Dancing to Connect workshop with Sean and Mayuna

Beijing, 2008

Beijing, 2008
Master Class at the Chinese University of Nationalities, there's nothing like a little bit of humor to warm up the situation (Tadej is probably indicating that the dancers should get their weight forward, or else....)

Mongolia - 2008

Mongolia - 2008
Blazing Saddles? No - just our one day off in Mongolia with Tadej, Bafana, Carmen & Mayuna

380 Broadway - where it all begins and ends

380 Broadway - where it all begins and ends
From L to R: Carmen Nicole, Tadej Brdnik, Bafana Matea, Sean Scantlebury, Jonathan Hollander, Robin Cantrell, Mayuna Shimizu - this was the composition of our team as we prepared for the 2008 Asia Tour. Our new dancer Mira Cook and our production designers Barry Steele, David Bengali and G. Ben Swope are not pictured here.

Lucknow, India - 1997

Lucknow, India - 1997
This is a much more elegant version of the iron that was proffered by the humble gentleman backstage in Lucknow, but you get the idea!

Freiburg, Germany - 2006

Freiburg, Germany - 2006
DtC is hard work but fun too, bridging generations, backgrounds and transcending language barriers.

Nishinomiya, Japan - 2006

Nishinomiya, Japan - 2006
For its performance at Hyogo Performing Arts Center, BDC teamed up with Japanese duo-pianists and a choir, making the performance truly international and guaranteeing a full house

Taipei, Taiwan - 2006

Taipei, Taiwan - 2006
As part of its 2006 tour of Taiwan, which was anchored by a performance at the Taipei Arts Festival, Jonathan lectured to a group of corporate executives on Corporate Social Responsibility as it pertains to support of the arts. Adding an element such as this within an arts tour broadened the company's outreach and helped implant new ideas of corporate volunteerism, the importance of in-kind contributions and other aspects of corporate support utilizing BDC as a model.

Taipei, Taiwan - 2006

Taipei, Taiwan - 2006
Running a choreography workshop for the teaching staff of Cloud Gate Dance School cemented a relationship with Taiwan's leading contemporary dance company, adding content and depth to BDC's program in Taipei. The Company was invited to visit a rehearsal of Lin Hwai Min's new choreography and enjoyed a reunion with Bula Pagarlava and Nai-Yu Kuo, two dancers who had performed with BDC and who had moved up the ladder with Cloud Gate. ,

Freiburg, Germany - Dancing to Connect 2007

Freiburg, Germany - Dancing to Connect 2007
Tapping into the well-springs of students' creativity, we have learned over the past 6 years and across many countries that high school students, boys and girls, can find joy, build teams, open up new channels of communication and expression through dance. Most of these students had never set foot in a modern dance class, and yet their imaginations and explorations were unbounded.

Cleaning Costumes in Ulaanbaatar, 2008

Cleaning Costumes in Ulaanbaatar, 2008
Dealing with sweaty costumes on a long, multi-country tour is a huge challenge. Bringing a case of woolite and lots of plastic hangers is one way to deal with it. But sometimes the weather and conditions (and timing) are such that there is no opportunity to wash and dry before it is time to pack and go. And, if you are foolish enough to have some costumes that require dry cleaning (I am), then the problem is further compounded. And dry cleaning at a 5-star hotel is not advised unless you have a pocket full of cash that you don't mind spending. I was delighted to find a superb dry cleaner in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. We couldn't understand how there could be enough business in this very poor country to sustain such a thriving operation, but we certainly kept them busy for a day or so!

New York City - Downtown Dance Festival, August, 2006

New York City - Downtown Dance Festival, August, 2006
International Cultural Engagement is not a one-way endeavor. The fact that BDC produces New York City's longest-running outdoor dance festival gives us a wonderful public platform for presenting dance from around the world. Ocean of Light was the brainchild of Sanjay Doddamani, bringing together dancers from New Orleans with those from South Asia, in a cross-cultural production that recognized the anniversary of Katrina and the Asian Tsunami.

Poznan, Poland; Malta Festival, 2002

Poznan, Poland; Malta Festival, 2002
Just as friends lead one to other friends, and a network builds, international cultural engagement often thrives on individual partnerships, relationships, mutual respect. Such is the case with Battery Dance Company and Silesian Dance Theater of Poland. Jonathan met Jacek Luminski, Artistic Director of SDT in 2004, introduced by a mutual friend, Fulbright Senior Scholar and theater professor Juliusz Tyszka of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan. The fruits of these relationships includes performances by SDT in New York, hosted by BDC; performances by BDC in Poland, hosted by SDT and the Malta Festival in Poznan which was launched by students of Juliusz', and on and on.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Just as friends lead one to other friends, and a network builds, international cultural engagement often thrives on individual partnerships, relationships, mutual respect.  Such is the case with Battery Dance Company and Silesian Dance Theater of Poland.  Jonathan met Jacek Luminski, Artistic Director of SDT in 2004, introduced by a mutual friend, Fulbright Senior Scholar and theater professor  Juliusz Tyszka of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan.  The fruits of these relationships includes performances by SDT in New York, hosted by BDC; performances by BDC in Poland, hosted by SDT and the Malta Festival in Poznan which was launched by students of Juliusz', and on and on.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

SUMMER TIME

Jonathan and the dancers have just departed on their 5th DANCING TO CONNECT journey to Germany!The office also has two new interns, Mirjam and Bennett.

Friday, April 2, 2010

We're Moving!

Battery Dance Company's blog can now be found at batterydancecompany.tumblr.com .  Keep an eye out there for new photos and stories from Teaching Artist Carmen Nicole's residency at Curtis High School in Staten Island!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dancing to Connect: Uganda, Day 2

Day 2 of teaching...oh, but before I get into that...
So, we were told that the dance jam that took place last night would be a very informal improv jam session. We arrived at the theater in time to see the kick off dance week performance....an evening of latin dance.  As we were exiting the theater, we were told that we would need to get into costume and get our cd to the sound guy.
We performed "She loves me.." outside, on concrete, at night, in between several poles not warmed up...and we did a damn fine job.
Today, I taught a group of about 15 children...some orphans and some from very poor families.
It was definitely work....but very fulfilling.
Then Sean and I taught a joint class at makarere  University.  The floor was covered in red dirt, I think blown in from the rain earlier in the day and everyone was filthy by the end.
We worked the students very very hard, but I think they liked it.
Tonight we treated ourselves to a fancy dinner...then try to put together the DTC piece that we began on Wed.  And tomorrow night is the show...
I can hear the crickets and frogs getting loud now...so that means its evening time in Uganda.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Getting Ready for Dancing to Connect 5th German Edition

 Two important meetings took place today that set the groundwork for the first Dancing to Connect project in Frankfurt.  At the end of the day, teachers gathered from the Otto Hahn, Ernst Reuter and Theodor Heuss schools to discuss the ways and means of organizing DTC workshops in June.  They were very enthusiastic and have groups of students already set!  Earlier in the morning, Jonathan met with a great team of masters degree students from the Hochschule, organized by Kurt Koegel, an expat American who runs the program.  The goal is to guarantee the sustainability of DTC in Germany by incorporating German teachers into the program this summer. Early indications are that this group in Frankfurt will bring strong backgrounds and interest to the project!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

BDC on Two Continents: Europe and Africa

From Jonathan in Frankfurt:  Having arrived at mid-day on Sunday, I met up with Kirsten Gerstner, Cultural Affairs Specialist at the U.S. Consulate General in Frankfurt, BDC's friend and advocate since 2005, for a debriefing on my program here.  We headed over to the Gallus Theater to pick up our tickets for the ZuKT_Wintertanzprojekt 2010 and then met up with Dorsey Bushnell, Assistant to William Forsythe, for supper at a Turkish Restaurant and an intensive sharing of knowledge and experiences regarding dance, outreach to youth and seniors.  Then it was time for the show.  We joined the packed audience to see students from the Hochschule fuer Musik und Darstellende Kunst Frankfurt am Main perform several pieces, highlighted by two outstanding performances of excerpts from works by William Forsythe (dance God of Frankfurt!).
Ramon John, the male dancer who performed a solo from "In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated", was absolutely incredible:  tall, thin, elastic body, perfect pirouettes that he threw away so casually that they seemed as effortless as any other step, terrific rhythm:  WOW.  And then there was a gorgeous duet from "The Loss of Small Detail" -- Ye Jin Kwon and Robin Rohmann --  both very young and unaffected, she with a very unusual full-body engagement with the movement, he very subtle, supporting her in amazing lifts as if it were all second nature.  I left regretfully at the end of the first act, victim of jet lag.

Meanwhile in Africa, Robin and Sean begin their program in Uganda.  We wait anxiously for reports, while the www is full of sublime reviews of their performances in Algiers and Oran last week.