DANCE NEWS: The 42nd Annual Battery Dance Festival to Thrill Live and Online Audiences from New Location

DANCE NEWS: The 42nd Annual Battery Dance Festival to Thrill Live and Online Audiences from New Location

Published on May 5, 2023
Battery Dance; photo by Phil Mahabeer

Battery Dance celebrates the 42nd Anniversary of its free summer festival from August 12-18, 2023, in partnership with Battery Park City Authority. The 42nd Annual Battery Dance Festival will feature in-person and live-streamed performances staged each night at Rockefeller Park, Battery Park City, New York City at 7PM ET, with a rain date on 8/19. Reaching both local and international audiences, the Festival promotes Battery Dance’s mission of connecting the world through dance. For more information, visit

Battery Dance Festival, New York City’s longest-running free public dance festival, was established by Battery Dance as the Downtown Dance Festival in 1982. Pre-pandemic, it drew audiences of approximately 2,000 people each night in its iconic setting at Robert F. Wagner, Jr. Park. The Festival went virtual in 2020, attracting 30,000 viewers across 206 countries. In 2021, it ran as a hybrid model with over 10,000 in-person and over 21,000 virtual audience members. This year, the Festival welcomes in-person and live-streamed audiences from a new location at Rockefeller Park.

"When Super Storm Sandy flooded lower Manhattan, Battery Park City Authority reached out a helping hand, providing a beautiful site for the Battery Dance Festival which we've all enjoyed every summer since 2013. With the prospect of rising seas in future, BPCA is enacting a pro-active resiliency plan, lifting Wagner Park up to 12 feet, making it inaccessible this summer. But fear not! BPCA has invited us to move to Rockefeller Park this summer where we'll benefit from the large lawn and river-front views, as we bask in the glow of performances by local and international companies.” – Jonathan Hollander, Founder and Artistic Director of Battery Dance

2023 FESTIVAL ARTISTS (roster in progress and subject to change):

U.S. Companies

Amanda Treiber (NYC), Wind-Up
Wind-Up is a playful contemporary ballet for four dancers drawing inspiration from flocking birds and what their relationships might be to each other, with music by Ryan Anthony Francis. The music also borrows themes from other musical works that reference birdsong.

Battery Dance (NYC), The Wind in the Olive Grove and Repertory works

Battery Dance presents new and repertory works including The Wind in the Olive Grove by Syrian-German choreographer Saeed Hani, a work that takes inspiration from paintings of the same names by abstract expressionist painter Hans Hofmann.

Boca Tuya (NYC), Like Those Playground Kids at Midnight

Like Those Playground Kids at Midnight is a highly physical and intimate duet work by Omar Román De Jesús, filled with tenderness, connection and trust, set to Songs My Mother Taught Me from Gypsy Melodie, Op. 55, by Yo-Yo Ma & Kathryn Stott.

Carolyn Dorfman Dance's Jarred and Maiko in NOW

Carolyn Dorfman Dance (New Jersey), NOW, NYC Premiere

The dance for eleven virtuosic dancers was created by renaissance artist and nationally renowned dancer / choreographer Juel D. Lane (a former Carolyn Dorfman Dance company member currently dancing with award-winning choreographer and director Camille A. Brown). NOW showcases Juel’s signature fast-paced, heart-stopping choreography in a defiant journey of thriving and creating despite the fearful and difficult time in which we continue to find ourselves.

Dancers Unlimited (Hawaii), Edible Tales (Excerpts) Soul Food & Lawaiʻa, NYC Premiere

The work explores cultural heritage, social justice and sustainability, using food topics. Lawaiʻa roughly translates to "fisherman." Being a fisherman is an act of observing, understanding space, and environmental stewardship. The work is a contemporary dance interpretation of traditional Hawaiian chants. Soul Food is a process of remembering, digging deep into memories through percussion and dance steps to connect with ourselves, our ancestors, and heal from the trauma placed on generations of African American bodies.

Erv Works Dance (NYC), Veiled From the Womb

Veiled from the Womb explores memories of erasure. The grandson of an African American grandfather and Puerto Rican and White grandmother, Will's aunts, mothers and siblings were not allowed to learn Spanish or the cultural heritage of his grandmother. The piece explores brief glimpses of that culture and its suppression as well as what it may have been like were he to have been exposed.

Fanike! African Dance Troupe

Fanike! African Dance Troupe (NYC), UPLIFTED!

UPLIFTED! represents humanity’s eternal desire for healing, strength and to be uplifted through the journey of life. UPLIFTED! shares the stories of people as they pull on their ancient history and culture to request, gather and then release their healing back into the universe.

Jerron Herman (NYC), Lax, World Premiere

Lax is a punk concert in a sleep store, at least in the mind of the performer. It's an observation on how getting rest is athletic and energetic, through a disabled lens. Lax was commissioned by the Stephen Petronio Company for the 2023 Bloodlines (future) Program, made possible, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

Jiemin Yang (NYC), Here We Root (Excerpt)

Here We Root is an original contemporary dance inspired by Asian immigrants’ stories, focusing on the Chinese diaspora in Flushing, New York. It invites audiences to experience, reflect on, and celebrate Asian immigrant identities and experiences. The piece combines movement with text, theatre, and an original score.

Jiemin Yang's Here We Root

Julian Donahue Dance (NYC), Displacement

An intimate duet exploring gesture as it relates to two femme presenting bodies.

Keturah Stephen (NYC), A Yearning Desire, NYC Premiere
This piece was created to highlight different stages and moments in the choreographer’s life in an effort to show moments of isolation and also moments of community and the importance of relationships that we often long for. In the end, we are met with a sense of surrender, because we finally let go of what we are searching for and learn to accept who is in front of us.

Nu-World Contemporary Danse Theatre (NYC), The Called and The Chosen, NYC Premiere

The Called and The Chosen is a contemporary look at an ancient tradition as a tribe gathers for a young member's rite of passage ceremony. Within this ceremony, the elders and ancestors guide her as they pass the mantle through prayers in a generational blessing. The work’s title refers to how Black people use faith, the Church, and each other as a place of refuge and sanctuary.

SOLE Defined

SOLE Defined (DC), SOLE Defined LIVE, NYC Premiere

SOLE Defined LIVE is an immersive performance exploration of music and movement rooted in ancestral memory, embodied storytelling, and African Diasporic Percussive Dance. SOLE Defined LIVE's performers use the body as an instrument, creating a sonic and kinesthetic symphony by synthesizing Tap, Stepping, Body Percussion, Sand Dance, Gumboot, and audience participation, interwoven with original arrangements by Tamar Greene (Hamilton), Ryan K. Johnson (STOMP), Raina William, and Patrick O'Neal.

Trainor Dance Inc. (NYC), Under Pressure, World Premiere

A large cast piece set to a remix of Freddy Mercury and David Bowie’s a capella version of the song, Under Pressure is a ritual, spectacle, and virtuosic tour de force. Bodies undulate through space creating intricate, mandala like designs, feet pound rhythms on the ground, and eyes draw audience into the realm of limitless movement and community connection.


Circumstances in ON POINT

Circumstances (Netherlands/Belgium), ON POINT, U.S. debut

ON POINT (2021) is a wordless, site-specific circus and dance performance full of humor. Two men on the edge try to keep their balance between, above, below, on and against each other. Falling is not an option. What starts as a game develops into a common challenge. Every step, touch, shift must be precise. Sponsorship provided by Dutch Culture USA.

Citadel + Cie (Canada), Soudain l'hiver dernier

Originally created for Montréal Danse in 1987 by James Kudelka, this dance for two men explores variations on the theme of not failing someone, as lifting or supporting a body always implies some kind of trust. Here it is a bedrock of faith. Sponsorship provided by the Consulate General of Canada in New York.

Reuel Rogers (Curaçao), Power, World Premiere

A solo dance work that explores the power to make things happen which exists within each one of us, the concept of making and achieving goals, and a celebration of the power of nature: the wind we cannot see, but feel, and the waves we can touch, but cannot hold. Sponsorship provided by Dutch Culture USA.

Rudrakshya Foundation

Rudrakshya Foundation (India), Kali Krishna, NYC debut – India Day

Rudrakshya Foundation, an all-male professional troupe and school founded in 2000 by choreographer Guru Sri Bichitrananda Swain, hails from Bhubaneswar, capital of the eastern coastal Indian State of Odisha. The ancient classical dance form of Odissi to which Rudrakshya is dedicated, is depicted in the carvings of ancient Hindu temple friezes in Puri, Bhubaneswar, Konark and Cuttack. Guru Bichitrananda received training from the pre-eminent guru of Odissi, Padma Vibhushan Kelucharan Mohapatra and his leading disciple Sujata Panigrahi.and passes on his learnings and his choreographic creations to young men in the traditional form of teacher and students living and learning together. Rudrakshya has been presented in festivals and theaters throughout India and on tour in Europe, Asia and North America. This is the troupe’s first appearance in New York City and celebrates Indian Independence Day, with sponsorship from the Consulate General of India in New York and State Bank of India - New York.

Tabanka Dance Ensemble (Norway), Progress, U.S. debut

The final section of an evening-length work, Limbo Where Stereotypes go to Die, Progress is a physical push and invocation towards a “making of space” for the unpoliced Black body and its autonomy and agency in Norway. Sponsorship provided by The Royal Norwegian Consulate General in New York.

Teatrnowszy (Poland), Close (Excerpt), U.S. debut

The closeness of another person has a huge impact on our lives. Getting too close can be a sign of aggression, and too far can be a sign of coldness and lack of concern. That said, we never remain indifferent to the closeness of another person, no matter what. Close is a search for different qualities of closeness that are shaped by individual needs, and also a glimpse of that specific moment when we get closer to someone.


Dances by Isadora; photo by Julie Lemberger

Dances by Isadora (NYC), Isadora Duncan: Under a New Sky

A selection of works by Duncan from 1905-1923. Grand Marche was created c.1914 during Isadora's year at Bellevue following the tragic deaths of her children in 1913. Originally set to the music of Franz Schubert, it has been reimagined here to music of African American composer George Walker (“Lament/Lyric for Strings”). In contrast, the vibrant Valse Brillante (Chopin) is offered as a quartet with a new and powerful generation of dancers.

Denishawn (NYC), Denishawn (Excerpts)

Audrey Ross, believing that these historic dances should be preserved and performed for contemporary audiences, gathered a group of stellar dancers to perform dances by Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn, the titular Mother and Father of American Modern Dance. Performances took place October 2021 at the Theatre at St. Jean's in NYC, and select works will be revived specifically for the Battery Dance Festival.

Lori Belilove/The Isadora Duncan Dance Company (NYC), Tribute to Ukraine

Artistic Director Lori Belilove and her Company pay homage to the Ukraine. The Company performs this work honoring the heroism and valor and grit of the Ukrainian people. Belilove, herself a descendant of Ukrainian ancestry, reimagines these dances that evoke the cry, the terror, the loss.

Time Lapse Dance (NYC) American Elm

American Elm deepens the ongoing climate-engaged collaboration between choreographer Jody Sperling and composer Matthew Burtner. In this solo embodying tree-ness, Sperling begins by slowly unfurling her costume (in the style of Loie Fuller), hand-painted with tree limbs by textile artist Gina Nagy Burns. The dance explores shifting tempos, from arboreal stillness to human hurriedness, to mingle the perspective of tree and person. The music sonifies tree ring data from an elm, compressing the rhythm of its life into a few haunting, looping bars.

Time Lapse Dance

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