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Downtown Dance Festival

Downtown Dance Festival


Wednesday, June 19, 2013 - 6:15pm

August 11-15


Performances by Greece’s Chapter Two, Great Britain’s The Dance WE Made, Spain’s La Intrusa Danza, France’s Compagnie Vendetta Mathea, Indo-American Arts Council Erasing Borders Festival of Indian Dance, José Limón Dance Company, Dancing Earth, SLK Ballet, and host, Battery Dance Company

Founded in the Financial District by Jonathan Hollander in 1976, Battery Dance Company gave its first performances in parks, plazas and piers downtown. Five years later, the Company launched the Downtown Dance Festival, which has now become the city’s longest–running free public dance festival. The 32nd annual edition of the festival kicks off with an afternoon performance at Battery Park, followed by weekday afternoon performances at several locations Downtown (see website for details). 

Through a partnership with its downtown neighbor The National Museum of the American Indian, Battery Dance Company is presenting Dancing Earth, a Native American company whose work embraces tradition as well as innovation. The Dance WE Made, a project of British dancer Tim Cassin, will incorporate movement derived from that of pedestrians encountered during his visit to New York into choreography and further into a film documentary. Limón, the legendary American dance company performs its iconic The Moor’s Pavane and other works; La Intrusa Danza, a duo of professional dance artists from Catalonia, utilizes site-specific settings and will expand the reach of the Festival to new locations. Compagnie Vendetta Mathea, a French company, employs a traditional modern dance approach while exploring the animalistic nature of humanity. SLK Ballet, a Tribeca-based ballet academy, presents gifted apprentices in the classical repertoire. Battery Dance Company, returning from a State Department tour of Europe and Asia, showcases a new work by Polish choreographer Jacek Luminski, Artistic Director of Silesian Dance Theatre.

Festival audiences will witness the launch of a Greek company, Chapter Two, a collective that coalesced after each of the five individual dancer/choreographers had trained with Battery Dance Company in the frame of its Dancing to Connect program in Athens, sponsored by the U.S. Embassy and the Onassis Cultural Centre. Chapter Two will also offer a creative movement workshop for non-dancers on August 7 – 9 from 6 – 9 pm.

The 6th edition of Erasing Borders Festival of Indian Dance has been curated by the Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC) and will be presented on Thursday, August 15th, India’s Independence Day. The program will include performances by Vijayalakshmi, exponent of the Mohiniyattam South Indian style; Rani Khanam, exponent of North Indian Kathak; Rahul Acharya representing the Odissi style from Eastern India; and Rama Vaidyanathan, one of India's top young exponents of Bharata Natyam.

BDC gratefully acknowledges the support of ConEdison, Moody’s Corporation and Goldman Sachs. The festival is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and Councilmember Margaret Chin. More information can be found at www.batterydance.org. Twitter users can keep track of festival updates by using the #DowntownDance hashtag.



Chapter Two was founded by five freelance professional dancers who partnered with Battery Dance Company to conduct its Dancing to Connect Program in Athens, Greece. The extremely successful Athenian edition of the DtC program, culminating in a live-streamed performance at the Onassis Cultural Centre, was the starting point for the collaboration of the Greek dancers. Chapter Two is all about 'connecting' individuals into a mutuality of purpose through dance, a process that is at the core of the DtC program itself. Putting themselves in the shoes of the DtC participants, they experimented with movement and kinetic tasks, improvising and trying out different relationships, in order to discover what connects them. The five dancers, all coming from different dancing backgrounds, shared and experienced each other’s personal style. Through this collective work process, It's Up To You came into being and will be presented in its world premiere under the aegis of the Downtown Dance Festival in New York.

Dancing Earth spins, stomps and spirals into life on the world's dancing grounds as a collective of inter-tribal dance artists, under the leadership of internationally respected choreographer Rulan Tangen. They gather as individual artists to create elemental yet experimental dances that reflect their rich cultural heritage, and to explore identity as contemporary Native peoples. Dancing Earth strives to embody the unique essence of Indigenous tribal perspectives while renewing cultural movement rituals. Both ancient and futuristic, its dances are a language of bone and blood memory in motion. Their awards include the National Museum of American Indian's Expressive Arts Award, Dance Magazine mention as one of "25 To Watch", Native Arts and Culture Foundation first dance fellowship for Artistic Innovation, and the Costo Medal of UC Riverside's Native Chair for Education, Research and Community Service.

José Limón Dance Company: Hailed as one of the world’s great dance companies, Limón has been at the vanguard of American modern dance since its inception in 1946. The Company is the living legacy of the philosophy of theater developed by José Limón and his mentors, Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman, whose innovative works revolutionized American dance. After Limón’s death in 1972 the Company pioneered the idea that it was possible to survive the death of its founder, setting an example for the entire dance field. Now in its 65th year, the Company is renowned for its technical mastery and dramatic expression, and demonstrates both the timelessness of José Limón’s works and the humanistic vision that guides the repertory choices. Founded in 1946 by José Limón and Doris Humphrey, the Company is now led by Carla Maxwell, who worked closely with Limón before becoming Artistic Director in 1978. Over the years, the Company has been committed to producing and presenting programs that balance classic works of American modern dance with commissions and acquisitions from contemporary choreographers, resulting in a repertory of unparalleled breadth.

The Dance WE Made: Tim Casson is a London-based dancer best known for performing internationally with critically acclaimed Sadler’s Wells Associate Jasmin Vardimon Company. Casson performs and choreographs within the fields of both contemporary and commercial dance, has been featured in music videos, commercials and was cast as a “Featured Zombie” in the movie 'World War Z'. The Dance We Made is the Record Breaking interactive dance performance that invites YOU to be the choreographer - no experience required! The project will roam the public spaces of New York, inviting members of the public to devise original choreography in collaboration Tim Casson. These newly created dances will then be performed by Tim in each location, filmed, and posted online for the world to see before being combined into one unique final dance; The Dance NYC Made!

La Intrusa Danzais a contemporary artistic creation company formed in 1996 by Virginia Garcia and Damian Muñoz who rotate roles in dance, choreography and theater direction. Their work, which brings contemporary dance into collaborations with musicians and visual artists, has attracted awards including First Prize in choreography from the Choreographic Contest of Madrid 1995, 1999, 2002 2005 and Finalists in the first DANSACAT Awards of Catalonia. Their work has taken them throughout South America and Europe. Their Downtown Dance Festival performances are their New York City debut.

Compagnie Vendetta Mathea. Originally from Detroit, Vendetta Mathea has lived in France for the last 30 years. She attended the Juilliard School on full scholarship and has trained with Alvin Ailey and the Dance Theater of Harlem. She has studied and worked with such choreographers as Katherine Dunham, Louis Falco, Jennifer Muller and Paul Taylor. In 1972 Ms. Mathea joined the Walter Nicks Dance Company on a tour to France; returning there on tour in 1981 she met her husband Laurent and settled in Aurillac. Ms. Mathea has converted an abandoned factory into a 15000 square feet dance academy. La Manufacture, which has since become a hub in that area for dancers, teachers and choreographers. The Company’s previous NYC performances have taken place at Baryshnikov Arts Center and DNA.

SLK Ballet: was founded in 2010 by Sara Knight, a graduate of London’s Royal Ballet School, an Associate of the Royal Academy of Dance, a graduate of the Royal Ballet School Teacher’s Training Course and first British graduate of Russia’s Vaganova (Kirov) Ballet Academy. Her aim is to prepare the serious ballet student for a professional career in both classical and contemporary dance. SLK Ballet offers classes in classical ballet, pointe, repertoire, coaching, contemporary, character, musical theatre, floor barre, pas de deux and stretch classes. The students gain performance experience throughout the year, guesting with companies as well as their Annual June Performance. They are involved in outreach during the year, dancing in hospitals around the New York area.

Battery Dance Company connects the world through dance. Founded in the Financial District in 1976, 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. Battery Dance Company 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. Battery Dance Company is among New York City's foremost cultural ambassadors through its participation in international performing arts festivals, conferences and symposia in 60 countries on 5 continents. Battery Dance Company has produced nearly 100 original dance works choreographed by its founder and artistic director Jonathan Hollander and the dancers of the Company, in collaboration with a diverse array of composers and designers. The commissioning of choreography by Jacek Luminski in 2013 was the first time the Company had reached outside its ranks for new work.

Celebrating the Indian Independence Day on August 15, 2013
Erasing Borders: Celebration of Indian Dance

VIJAYALAKSHMI is among the most eminent exponents of Mohiniyattam. Inspired by the celebrated composition of Tchaikovsky, she choreographed Swan Lake in the Mohiniyattam style and was invited to perform at the prestigious Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. She has performed in international festivals including Edinburgh and Cervantino (Guanajuato, Mexico) and is the recipient of numerous awards. She co-authored ’Mohiniyattam’ along with Guru Bharati Shivaji. Fellowships include the Department Of Culture, Government of India, and Indira Gandhi National Centre for The Arts to pursue research in Mohiniyattam.

RANI KHANAM is the first Kathak dancer to perform choreography based on Islamic verses. Her courageous pioneering work has earned her honors including National Women Excellence Award 2012, Asian Cultural Council Fellowship, The Government of India's Fellowship and the India Foundation's Award for Most Outstanding Kathak Dancer. For the past two decades, Rani Khanam has performed regularly at both national and international festivals. She is the Director of Aamad- Kathak Dance Center in Delhi where she carries on the traditions of the Lucknow Gharana.

RAHUL ACHARYA has performed in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Central America as well as at Princeton University, Skidmore, Bard and elsewhere in the U.S. In 2009, Mr. Acharya was the first male Odissi dancer to be honored with the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar award from the Government of India. He has performed at the Khajuraho Dance Festival and has received both Junior and Senior Scholarships from the Indian Department of Culture. He co-authored an authoritative book on Jagannatha Puri in 2009 and is currently working on a definitive volume about Odissi. He has been trained under Guru Durga Charan Ranbir in Bhubaneswar, Orissa.

RAMA VAIDYANATHAN is a leading exponent of Bharatanatyam, She is a disciple of the legendary dancer Yamini Krishnamurthy and the renowned Guru Saroja Vaidyanathan. Rama has been noted as one of India's top young exponents of Bharata Natyam, having also trained in Carnatic vocal music. Rama has been performing regularly for the past fifteen years in India and abroad. Alastair Macaulay, Chief Dance Critic of The New York Times described her performance thus, "The slap of her bare foot on the ground always made a full impact, and, especially in the second half, she had marvelous long moments of balance, held with full energy." She is the Director of Ganesa Natyalaya in New Delhi.

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