In lower Manhattan, Battery Dance was founded in 1976 by performer, choreographer, and educator Jonathan Hollander, and through its aware winning Dancing to Connect program, has become one of the leading cultural ambassadors linking the world together through dance. In addition to all his other accomplishments, Hollander is the founder of one of New York’s longest-running and most esteemed festivals, the Battery Dance Festival. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic shutting everything down and the postponement of a State Department tour to Nigeria, on March 27, 2020 the company launched Battery Dance TV which provides free live dance classes throughout the week, and programming by Battery Dance and affiliated New York and international artists. Since its launching, Battery Dance TV has had over 100,000 views from people around the world.

Jonathan Hollander - Photo courtesy of the artist

Jonathan Hollander – Photo courtesy of the artist

For the next three Sundays, June 14, 21, and 28, Dance Diplomacy will present interviews with non-profit and education leaders, diplomats and Syrian dancers who migrated to Germany. Dance Diplomacy occurs each Sunday at 9am and noon and is hosted by Hollander. To investigate how COVID-19 has impacted artists and educators around the globe, Dance Diplomacy units the voices of US  dancers, culture leaders and diplomats with their counterparts living and working in others continents that include North and South America, South Asia, Africa, Europe, Middle East and Asia Pacific Regions. Following these discussions at 2 pm and 4 pm, international guest artist classes and solo performances are available.

The line up of Sunday interviews include three women from Germany on June 14  at 9 am and noon who performed an important roles in supporting diversity in their cities. Part of their actions included taking part in that Battery Dance’s workshop program called Dancing to Connect for Refugee integration. They are Inka Thunecke, Christiane Pyka, and Charlene Hackley

In a press release put out by Michelle Tabnick Public Relations, Hollander is quoted as saying: “I and many others have been guided and inspired by Inka, Christiane and Charlene, who lead with clear vision and empathy for those whom society has left behind.”

On June 21, featured participants will include David Gill, German Consul General in New York and Andrew Halus, Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Frankfurt; and on June 28, Medhat Aldaabal, Amr Karkout and Saeed Hani, three Syrian Dancers who were force to leave their country and are now continuing their dance training in Germany.

Battery Dance TV offers it Mindful Movement sessions for frontline healthcare workers throughout June and possibly longer. These sessions include Morning warmup, stretching and conditioning exercises; mid-day classes in contemporary dance; and a daily 4pm video by dancers performing in their homes or neighborhoods. And, Battery Dance is planning to expand its distance learning to offer online classes in lighting and production design, and classes in arts administration and cultural diplomacy.

This Schedule of Classes and Instructors include:

Morning Classes & Instructors
Flow – Vivake Khamsingsavath
Stretch & Strength – Mira Cook
Conditioning – Sean Scantlebury

Afternoon Contemporary Classes & Instructors
Jazz Fusion – Jill Linkowski
Ballet Fusion, Improv, and Musical Theatre – Bethany Mitchell
Storytelling & Repertoire – Hussein Smko
Afro Fusion – Sean Scantlebury

Evening Ballroom Classes & Instructor
Cha Cha, Salsa, Waltz, Fox Trot, Tango, Rumba, Swing – Razvan Stoian

Mindful Movement Sessions
Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 8 pm – Mira Cook and Vivake Khamsingsavath
Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 6:15 a.m. – Ashley Fargnoli
Tuesday, Thursday at 12:15 pm – Bethany Mitchell and Razvan Stoian

Registration is necessary. To register, click  HERE.

To learn more about Battery Dance, click HERE.

To see the Battery Dance TV schedule, click HERE.

Written and compiled by Jeff Slayton for LADC, June 11, 2020.

Featured image: Battery Dance – Hussein Smko in Echoes of Erbil – Photo by Darial Sneed