In November 2016, The Dance Enthusiast had a sobering heart-to-heart with Jonathan Hollander, Founder of Battery Dance, about the Adel Euro Campaign for Dancers Seeking Refuge, a program designed to relocate dancers from conflict zones to New York; the catalyst was the loss of company dancer Adel Faraj to the Baghdad bombings of July 2016.
When we last spoke, Battery Dance was in the process of raising funds to take Iraqi dancer Hussein Smko under its wing. In the short few months since then, not only has the company managed to sponsor Hussein Smko; they are also collaborating with Syria-born visual artist and musician Kevork Mourad and Kinan Azmeh and Tunisian composer Anouar Brahem. As a result of this symbiotic relationship, Battery Dance’s 41st Annual New York Season promises to be one of the company’s most colorful and culturally rich yet. The Adel Euro campaign is already reaping dividends in the lives it has influenced, in those who belief in it too, and who acted accordingly.
Read my interview with Smko for The Dance Enthusiast.