Dance Diplomacy: Jonathan Hollander interviews Mary W. Rowe, Anaya Bobst & Lizzie Kurtz
On Sunday, April 26, 2020, at 9 a.m. and 12 noon EDT, on Battery Dance TV, Jonathan Hollander will interview three women who have played pivotal roles in supporting cross-cultural engagement between the U.S. and Canada. A civic leader, an artist-manager and a teaching artist, all based in Toronto, formed a synergistic support system when Battery Dance sought to bring its
Dancing to Connect project to Canada for the first time last Fall. For Hollander, the commitment and talent of these women in connecting and activating arts education projects represent the kind of network that crosses traditional lines and job descriptions.
"Wherever Battery Dance goes in the world, we use a metaphorical divining rod to find committed and inspired people who believe as we do that the Arts can change lives," said Hollander. "We were lucky to have the support of NATO@70, Canada's National Ballet School, The Toronto District School Board, and three exceptional women without whom the project would have been impossible to realize."
A regular Sunday interview program hosted by Battery Dance's Founder Jonathan Hollander has already brought together artists from the U.S., Bangladesh, Costa Rica, India, Kenya and Mexico, as well as U.S. and foreign diplomats who have programmed the arts as a way of bringing people together and encouraging peaceful understanding and cultural exchange.
Mary W. Rowe is CEO and President of The Canadian Urban Institute, an organization whose mantra is Connecting People, Place and Potential. It was natural for her as a former Board Member of Battery Dance and Executive Vice President of the Municipal Art Society while living in New York to make the connection between the dance company and Canada's National Ballet School. Anaya Bobst, Coordinator of Strategic Initiatives and Artistic Projects for Canada's National Ballet School, served as liaison and point person for the project. Lizzie Kurtz, Assistant Curriculum Leader/Head of Arts at West Hill Collegiate Institute in The Toronto District School Board brought her students into the program, encouraging them to take a step forward in their creative development as budding choreographers and performers.
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 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 three weeks, Battery Dance TV has posted more than 100 pieces of content and has been seen by more than 30,000 viewers in 100 countries.
"Battery Dance TV allows us to continue connecting people across the world through dance at this time of social distancing and isolation," Hollander continued. "We and everyone we know at home and abroad are facing emotional, psychological, physical and financial challenges. For 45 years, we have explored the power of dance as an art form and a means for social impact and connection. We are not going to stop now when the need is so great."
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 taps 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 and Mohiniyattam dance from India, Mestizo Contemporary from Mexico 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 - 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