Dance troupe from New York charms audiences
The US Department of State and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), recently presented a dance performance by the New York City-based Battery Dance Company, at Kala Mandir. The performance was directed by international award-winning choreographer Jonathan Hollander, co-founder of the Indo-American Arts Council and former Fulbright lecturer on dance, in India. It was a collaboration between the American dancers of Battery Dance and Indian classical dancer, Unnath Hassan Rathnaraju. The performance was accompanied by the music of legendary Hindustani vocalists Rajan and Sajan Mishra.
In his opening remarks, US Consul General Craig Hall said, "What is wonderful about dance and cultural exchanges, is that they promote mutual understanding in a way that only art can achieve. Sharing our cultural heritage, engaging in collaboration in the arts, and connecting our countries through shared appreciation of each other's heritage and culture, is one of the best ways through which we gain understanding and get to know each other on a level beyond politics."
The current India tour of Battery Dance Company features 'Shakti: A Return to the Source'. Previously named as 'The Durga Project', the performance was premiered as the centerpiece of the Company's 40th anniversary season in New York in 2016 and subsequently toured the US and Sri Lanka. Shakti took its inspiration from a classical Indian improvisational work, Raag Durga, which is recorded by Rajan and Sajan Mishra.
Battery Dance, founded and directed by Jonathan Hollander in 1976, is known as a cultural ambassador (having worked in 70 countries) and a bridge-builder between the US and India. Previous India-inspired works by Hollander have included Songs of Tagore and Layapriya, which were reported in the Indian press in 1997 and 2001, respectively. Battery Dance has presented many of the foremost dancers and musicians of India on national US tours and annually at its Battery Dance Festival in conjunction with the Indo-American Arts Council, an institution that Hollander co-founded and on whose Board he serves.
On this 7th tour of India, the Battery Dance Company has performed in Mumbai, Pune and Bengaluru before Kolkata and is scheduled for a final show in New Delhi on January 31.