Battery Dance launched Battery Dance TV on March 27, 2020 at https://batterydance.org/dancetv/ to provide free live dance classes and programming for the general public by Battery Dance and affiliated local and international artists through a regularly scheduled program. Faced with the cancellation of its New York City public school dance classes and the postponement of its State Department Nigeria tour, and with its popular dance studios closed, its staff members went into high gear (from living rooms and kitchens), creating online content. In its first 8 weeks, Battery Dance TV has had 70,000 views from people in 112 countries.
Sundays feature a mixed schedule beginning with an interview program at 9am and noon hosted by Battery Dance's Founder Jonathan Hollander, Dance Diplomacy with Jonathan. He has brought together dancers, culture leaders and diplomats from the U.S. with their counterparts from North and South America, South Asia, Africa, Europe and the Far East, examining how the pandemic is impacting them and sharing inspiration along with challenges. International guest artist classes and solo performances are presented later in the day.
This Sunday's Dance Diplomacy Interview comes home to New York City with two women who have been catalysts for the dance world in very different ways. Life-long dancer Nancy Steele is a rare hybrid who combines a background in pharmaceutical and healthcare strategies. While advising post-doc innovators at MIT, she actively supports community dance projects in Brooklyn and the Boston area. Catherine Tharin, former dancer with Erick Hawkins and professor at Iona College, recently completed 15 years as the influential curator and programmer of dance at the 92nd Street Y. Their conversation opens up thoughts about the value of dance for young people in this time of social distancing when physical contact is not an option.
"It is rare to gain insights from two women who are normally behind the scene, pushing others forward in the studio and on stage. They serve as examples of the impact that one person can make on a large and diverse community," observes Hollander, who goes on to say that "Battery Dance TV allows us to connect people around the world through dance at this time of social distancing and isolation," says Hollander. "We and everyone we know at home and abroad are facing emotional, psychological, physical and financial challenges. For almost 45 years, we have explored the power of dance as an art form and a means for social impact and connection. We founded Battery Dance TV as a way to do so now when the need is so great."
Later in the afternoon, two New York City-based dancers nominated by Nancy and Catherine have contributed solos recorded in their homes that will be screened at 4pm: Sarah Swift and Esmé Boyce.
Battery Dance recently introduced several new programs to its normal line up of classes and performances. These include Mindful Movement sessions for frontline healthcare workers offered 8 times per week; improvisation and musical theater dance classes; and special afternoon classes for kids.
Nancy Steele is a former VP Strategy for Pfizer and currently serves as an advisor at MIT Catalyst. She formed Steele Dance and supports two studios in Brooklyn, mentors students in Pentacle's High School Arts Administration Internship Program, and teaches dance in community settings in the Boston area.
Catherine Tharin is a former dancer with the Erick Hawkins Dance Company, served as an Adjunct Professor at Iona College, was an artist-in-residence in New York City public schools and recently completed a 15 year tenure as dance curator and artistic associate at the 92nd Street Y.
Battery Dance TV's regularly scheduled offerings include:
morning warmup/stretching/conditioning exercises to start your day off right
mid-day classes in contemporary dance with afro, ballet and jazz fusion elements
evening classes in varied ballroom styles
a daily 4pm short video by dancers performing in their living rooms
Battery Dance tap into its international network to host Artists Talks every Sunday at 9:00 AM (Eastern Time) with performers based in New York and from around the world, followed by Sunday classes in international dance genres such as Bharatanatyam dance from India, and African Fusion from South Africa.
Battery Dance also plans to expand its distance learning and programming by including online classes in lighting and production design, and classes in arts administration and cultural diplomacy. In the future, the Company plans to add short performances by youth around the world who will create short dances based on a specific weekly theme suggested by the Company.
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
ABOUT BATTERY DANCE
As one of America's leading cultural ambassadors, Battery Dance connects the world through dance. The Company pursues artistic excellence and social relevance by creating vibrant new works, performing on the world's stages, presenting dance in public spaces, serving the field of dance and teaching people of all ages with special attention to the disadvantaged and areas of conflict. Battery Dance is committed to enhancing the cultural vibrancy of its home community in New York City, extending programming throughout the U.S., and building bridges worldwide through international cultural exchange with programs in 70 countries to date. www.batterydance.org