Watch free dance at dusk at the Battery Dance Festival

Written by
Jillian Anthony

For one sweet summer week, Battery Park City’s Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park comes to life with dozens of free dance performances against the stunning backdrop of the New York Harbor at sunset. 

From Sunday 14 to August 19, the Battery Dance Festival presents several pieces by companies from Turkey, Romania, India and Austria, as well as some from our own fair city, every night from 6:30 to 8:30pm. This year’s celebration begins with a poignant memorial to Adel Euro, an aspiring dancer who’d been training with Battery Dance via Skype from Baghdad and was tragically killed along with 300 others in a bombing attack last month. Three Iraqi dancers currently seeking asylum in the United States perform original choreography in his honor, before the U.S. premiere of the Istanbul quartet Zeynep Tanbay Dance Project. 

Each night’s performances are eclectic trips through traditional cultural styles (like India’s classical Kuchipudi) as well as modern dance from different corners of the world. “We’ve built a reputation for having a really wide spectrum of aesthetics onstage, and that’s our goal—to give access to the art of dance in all its shapes and colors,” says artistic director Jonathan Hollander. You can catch a world premiere from Bucharest, Romania’s Razvan Stoian, a U.S. debut from Austria’s SEAD Company Bodhi Project and pieces from renowned choreographers such as Martha Graham, Isadora Duncan, Jacqulyn Buglisi and Jennifer Muller.

The festivities end with a free closing event—and a performance from the Battery Dance company itself—and reception on August 20 at 6pm at the Schimmel Center at Pace University (make a reservation online).

Be sure to get to the park early each night of the fest for a prime spot (performances can draw 1,000 people), and bring a chair or a blanket and a visor to battle the gleaming sun. “It’s a very spiritual experience in the sense of nature and dance together,” says Hollander. So bring an open soul, too.

The Battery Dance Festival is at Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park Sun 14–Aug 19 6:30–8:30pm ( Free.


2015 Battery Dance Festival Recap from Battery Dance on Vimeo.

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