The Battery Dance Company celebrates its 40th anniversary with a free international dance festival on August 15-21.
Founded in the Financial District by Jonathan Hollander in 1976, Battery Dance Company gave its first performances in parks, plazas and piers downtown. Five years later, the company launched the Downtown Dance Festival, which has now become the city’s longest-running free public dance festival. Battery Dance Company marks its 40th anniversary with this year’s edition, newly renamed the Battery Dance Festival, which comprises a week of free performances by a wide range of artists and companies.
The Battery Dance Festival will feature the Erasing Borders Festival of Indian Dance, international companies and dancers, and performances by 13 NYC-based dance companies, including Battery Dance. The Festival will take place at Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park in Battery Park City, against the panoramic backdrop of New York Harbor at dusk (6:30-8:30pm). The Festival will culminate in a grand indoor finale at Pace University’s Schimmel Center for the Arts, August 21 at 6pm. All performances are free and open to the public.
The 2015 Battery Dance Festival kicks off Saturday, August 15 with the 8th edition of the Erasing Borders Festival of Indian Dance, curated by the Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC). The Erasing Borders Festival features artists from around the world practicing—or inspired by—dance from the Indian subcontinent. This year’s programming includes Mumbai’s Kathak chor eographer and performer Sanjukta Wagh; Jayesperi Moopen’s Johannesburg-based Tribhangi Dance Theatre; New Delhi’s Rakesh Sai Babu, who will perform the rarely seen dance/martial arts form of Mayurbhanj Chhau; the choreographer-performer Pallavi Krishnan, from Trichur, Kerala, India, who will give a traditional Mohiniyattam performance; and New York City’s own Sonali Skandan and Jiva Dance, presenting the South Indian classical form of Bharata Natyam.
The Battery Dance Festival continues on August 16 with the first of several performances by Battery Dance Company, which will showcase a new work by Tadej Brdnik, a former Principal with the Martha Graham Dance Company who has danced and taught with Battery Dance Company since 1998. The August 16 lineup also includes works by MoralesDance (New York City), Indelible Dance Company (Brooklyn), and Asia Duo (New York City & Malaysia), plus excerpts of works to be presented later in the Festival by Polish Dance Theatre (Poznan, Poland) and Sankofa Danzafro (Medellin, Colombia).
The evening of August 17 will feature artists spanning broad geographic and stylistic ranges, including Kate Thomas’ NYC-based Ballet Neo; Enzo Celli’s VIVO Ballet, a contemporary dance project based in Rome; and Polish Dance Theatre, from Poznan, Poland, in its New York debut.
On August 18, the Festival will present a multi-artist evening of Colombian dance, with performances by New York’s Pajarillo Pinta’o and by Sankofa Danzafro, traveling from Medellin to make its New York debut in the Festival. An array of American artists and companies—including Beatrice Capote, Cornfield Dance, BOOMERANG and Buglisi Dance Theatre—will share a mixed bill featuring the U.S. debut of the acclaimed Norwegian company Ingun Bjørnsgaard Prosjekt on August 19.
A cornucopia of New York City-based companies make up the lineup of the final outdoor evening of this year’s Festival, on August 20: Alison Cook Beatty Dance, Mari Mead Dance Coll ective, Jennifer Muller/The Works, Tina Croll + Company and Battery Dance Company, which will give another performance of the Tadej Brdnik piece it premieres on August 16.
The 2015 Battery Dance Festival concludes August 21 with a three-part program in the 670-seat Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University, Battery Dance Company’s first home theater in the late 1970s and early ‘80s. Ingun Bjørnsgaard Prosjekt will present the 60-minute work Praeambulum. Battery Dance Company will present the New York premiere of Terra & Astra, by Company member Sean Scantlebury, alongside the new work by Tadej Brdnik. Shanmugha Sundaram, widely touted as one of India’s leading male dancers, will present a solo based on the story of Parvati and the elephant-headed God Ganesha, performed in the Bharata Natyam style.