Friday, April 17, 2015

New York City-based Battery Dance Company, America's leading ambassadors of dance, will collaborate with dancers and musicians from Jordan and Iraq, April 10 - 20, 2015, in Amman

The Company's program will be anchored by performances as part of The Amman Contemporary Dance Festival, April 16, 8 pm, at the Al Hussein Cultural Centre; and The Amman Jazz Festival, April 19, 7:30 pm, at the Haya Cultural Centre.  In the dance Festival, the Company will present 4 works from its repertoire including 'Observatory', a work created on commission by South African choreographer Theo Ndindwa.  At the opening night of the Jazz Festival, Battery Dancers Sean Scantlebury and Mira Cook will appear together with their Iraqi protege, Adil Qais Adil, whom the New York dancers have trained over the past 6 months via Skype, and whom they will meet for the first time live when they arrive in Amman on Thursday evening, April 9th.  All of the choreography for the jazz festival will be generated while the dancers are in Amman and will be performed to the live music of Jordanian singer/guitarist Hani Mitwasi, backed up by the local band, Black Ice.  

Jonathan Hollander, founder and artistic director of the company says, 'Our experience in over 60 countries tells us that the arts can provide hope to those in conflict and can engender unity across religious and ethnic differences and national borders. Battery Dance Company will put this belief to the test, moving farther than we have ever done before in marrying our art with humanitarian goals, in Jordan.'

Recent coverage in the Wall Street Journal, LA Times, Washington Post and BBC/PRI’s programThe World has brought unprecedented attention to the Company’s work in the conflict zones of the Middle East.  As an outgrowth of BDC's Dancing to Connect program in Iraq in 2012, the Company members have been training aspiring Iraqi and Kurdish performing artists long-distance utilizing Skype and social media. 

Their most promising mentee in Iraq, a creative artist of phenomenal ability and dedication, is the dancer Adil Qais Adil.  Although the media attention accorded to BDC's program has exposed Adil's artistry to  world-wide audiences electronically,  he is unable to practice his craft outside of his family’s home in Baghdad without inviting threats from extremists in the community.

Through a grant from the Prince Claus Foundation of the Netherlands and other private donors, Adil has boarded a plane and took the 90-minute flight from Baghdad to Amman, with life-changing consequences. 

Each day beginning on Friday of this week, before and after teaching classes to Jordanian dancers in schools and conservatories, Sean, Mira and Adil will rehearse for 5 hours at the National Centre for Culture and Arts in Amman, bringing to life their camaraderie and artistry after months of electronic interaction.  They will collaborate on new pieces of choreography for the jazz festival, but this is no standard artistic collaboration.  It is a fusing of their shared hopes and dreams for a future in which young people can pursue their artistry without fear.

Articles about Battery Dance Company's International Artists Mentorship Program:

Wall Street Journal article (and video) about BDC's work with Adil Qais Adil:

BBC/PRI program “The World”:

For more information, contact:
Jonathan Hollander

Press Release Distribution

Media Sponsor: Sandy Dhuyvetter

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