Battery Dance TV: Dance Diplomacy with Jonathan, Patricia Ehrnman
Battery Dance launched Battery Dance TV on March 27, 2020 to provide free live dance classes and programming for the general public by Battery Dance and affiliated 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, the company staff members went into high gear (from living rooms and kitchens), creating online content. In its first five weeks, Battery Dance TV has been seen by more than 50,000 viewers in over 100 countries.
A regular Sunday interview program at 9am and noon hosted by Battery Dance's Founder Jonathan Hollander, Dance Diplomacy with Jonathan has already brought together artists from the U.S., Bangladesh, Canada, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico and Poland as well as American and foreign diplomats who have programmed the arts as a way of bringing people together and encouraging peaceful understanding and cultural exchange. International guest artist classes and solo performances continue to be presented later in the day.
The format of this coming Sunday's Dance Diplomacy Interview has been divided into two parts, first providing the context of American cultural diplomacy in Africa from Patricia Ehrnman, a U.S. State Department official whose perspective has been formed over 18 years in the field. This will be followed by a conversation among three arts leaders from Zambia, Uganda and Botswana, Maanka Chipindi, Abdul Kinyenya and Kealeboga Motsumi, with all of whom Battery Dance has engaged in prior cultural diplomacy programs. Both parts together will be aired at 9 a.m. and 12 noon. The enforced cancellation of performances and tours by African dance companies has left many dancers without means for supporting themselves and their families. How the situation looks today and how different countries are responding will be explored in the two-part interview.
Hollander says that "No matter how Embassies, Arts Councils and dance companies respond to challenges and chart their courses institutionally, look to individuals like Patricia, Kealegoba, Abdul and Maanka, fierce advocates, movers and shakers, to make a difference. I look forward to introducing them all to the Battery Dance TV audience on Sunday!"
He goes on to say that "Battery Dance TV allows us to continue connecting people across 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 44 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 continue now when the need is so great."
An African dance class and solo performance will occupy the 2 pm and 4 pm slots on Sunday following the interview.
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 will 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
Patricia Ehrnman is the Cultural, Educational and Professional Exchanges Coordinator for the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of African Affairs, responsible for overseeing all aspects of Public Diplomacy exchanges and program development in Washington and the field. In this role, she interacts with the five other regional bureaus, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), and others on the scope, scale and targeting of global PD program offerings, providing context to counterparts regarding Africa policy to ensure exchange offerings address key policy objectives. She also advises on individual posts' capacity and suitability to undertake special offerings. She participates as the Africa Bureau advisor to ECA in the latter's $80 million annual budget allocation meetings that distribute exchange resources to field posts, providing direct knowledge of individual posts' exchange environments and priorities to assure that adequate and appropriate resources are provided to each post to meet policy priorities and goals and objectives. Patricia is also the key liaison on the Speaker, American Spaces and Tech Camp programs. She has been responsible for overseeing AF's largest program, the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) since its inception. She supervises two Foreign Service positions. Patricia obtained a BA in Psychology and MA in Education from the University of Cape Town. As a Foreign Service spouse, she lived and served in embassies in Moscow, South Africa, Costa Rica, Canada and Bosnia.
Maanka A. Chipindi, Director of the National Arts Council of Zambia, is an experienced arts administrator with 15 years of working experience in the creative and cultural sectors in his country. He has specialized in creative business operations, strategy, and skills development, and has expertise in policy development, implementation and general technical support in arts development. Maanka has a professional passion for the arts, and believes activities such as festivals, fairs, and cultural events are critical to job creation and can transform communities. Through his work at the NAC Zambia, Maanka has established an extensive creative network within the Southern African Region and beyond. He is a Fulbright Scholar Alumni with an MA in Arts Administration from Columbia University. Her served as a Battery Dance Festival Intern during his Fulbright Tenure in New York.
Abdul Kinyenya "Abdanger" is the Founder of Batalo East, an organization and company dedicated to developing well-rounded young people through traditional and urban arts education, festivals, workshops, outreaches, art consultations, theatre productions and social entrepreneurship. He is Co-Founder and former Artistic Director of East Africa's best-known dance company, Tabu Flo, winner of the young achievers award in 2011. He is an educator, choreographer, photographer and entrepreneur with a passion for catalyzing social development through the creative arts and business partnerships. Abdul holds a Bachelors Degree in International Business from Makerere University Business School and a Leadership and Social Enterprise Certificate from Dartmouth College, USA. He was the Hip Hop Dance Ambassador with the U.S. State Department in 2010 and a Mandela Washington fellow 2016, member of the International Society for Performing Arts (ISPA).
Kealeboga Arthur Motsumi joined Mophato Dance Theatre located in Gaborone, Botswana, in 2012 as a junior dancer. Later that year he helped to create a business model for the dance company. He was then promoted to Marketing Director in 2013 where he increased demand, visibility and sales turnover for the organization. In his role as Marketing & Project Director of Mophato Dance Theatre, he worked with Botswana Tourism Organisation and Battery Dance to create Botswana on Broadway in 2018, a New York Times critics pick. Mr. Motsumi graduated from the University of Botswana with a (BA) Degree in Marketing.
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.