Draft:Jonathan Hollander

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Jonathan Hollander (born June 18, 1951) is an American dancer, choreographer, educator, and artistic director. He founded the Battery Dance Company in New York City in 1976, opening the Battery Dance Studio that same year. He also founded the Downtown Dance Festival,[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] held annually in New York City since 1982. Since 2008, the Downtown Dance Festival has included the Erasing Borders Festival of Indian Dance.[8][9] As a dance educator, Hollander has been active in bringing dance into the public schools;[10] and is known for the award-winning "Dancing to Connect" program.[11] He is also known for his ties to India,[12][13] [14][15] and for presenting and promoting Indian dancers in New York.[16][17][18][19] He is a co-founder of the Indo-American Arts Council.[20]

Hollander is the son of Joan Wolman Hollander, a pianist, and Bernard Moses Hollander, an anti-trust attorney employed by the U.S. Dept. of Justice. The dancer was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Chevy Chase, MD, where he studied piano for 13 years with composer Robert Parris, with Charles Crowder and with Ylda Novik.[21] He studied folk dancing as a child at the Chilmark Community Center in Martha's Vineyard; and received his first theatrical experience at the Interlochen National Music Camp, in Interlochen, MI, where he performed in a production staged by American choreographer Carolyn Carlson. Hollander traveled to India in 1968 as an American Field Service Exchange Student, where he was first exposed to Indian dance in the class of Parvati Kumar. He began his own, formal dance training while a student at the University of California Irvine, where he studied with Eugene Loring, [21]James Penrod and Janice Plastino.

Hollander left college to pursue a dance career in New York City.[22] There his teachers included Merce Cunningham, Margaret Craske, Dan Wagoner, Dianna Byer, Janet Panetta, and Ann Parson at the Joffrey Ballet School. He first performed for choreographer Twyla Tharp in 1971; and danced with the New York Dance Collective from 1971-1975, before launching his own studio and dance troupe in 1976. The studio was located at 54 Stone Street in New York City from 1976-1984; and is currently at 380 Broadway.[21] Battery Dance Company is considered a pioneer in expanding New York's arts scene to lower Manhattan. "Cultural activity first surfaced on Wall Street in the early 1970s. Two avant-garde groups, Battery Dance Company and Creative Time,..were founded in lower Manhattan to take advantage of the vacuum of contemporary art and the potential audience of some 500,000 people."[23]

In addition to offering dance classes, the Battery Dance Studio has been the site of salon events featuring such notable Indian artists as Mallika Sarabhai; the Jhaveri Sisters; Sandip Mallick; and Nirupana and Rajendra. The Battery Dance Company has also presented such notable artists as C.V. Chandrasekhar; Tero Saarinen; and Tommi Kitti, and has played host to K. Jayan, Isheeta Ganguly, and the Silesian Dance Theatre of Poland. Swapnasundari and her troupe of Kathakali dancers appeared at the Downtown Dance Festival, making their New York debut. The Janavak National Folk Dance Troupe of India toured the United States in 2001 under the auspices of Battery Dance Company.

Hollander spent three months in India as a Fulbright Lecturer on Dance in 1992, during which time he deepened his connections to the Indian dance community. He taught workshops at the Darpana and Kadamb Institutions in Ahmedabad, M.S. University in Baroda, Nalanda Dance Institute and NCPA in Mumbai; and his company undertook a six-city tour of India. The following year he organized the American debut and tour of the Jhaveri Sisters, renowned exponents of Manipuri Dance. In 1995, Hollander curated "PURUSH: Expressions of Man," a program celebrating male performers representing various classical Indian dance styles including Bharata Natyam, Kathak, Kuchipudi, and Kathakali. This program made its debut at the Music Centre in Chennai; appeared at the Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors Festival; and undertook an 18-city tour of the United States. He has organized various conferences, seminars and town-hall meetings related to Indian dance.

The Battery Dance Company tours nationally and internationally, sometimes as a cultural ambassador under the auspices of the U.S. State Department.[24][25] It has appeared at such notable venues as Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City; the Beijing International Modern Dance Festival; Taipei Arts Festival; Open Look Festival in St. Petersburg; Stockholm's Moderna Museet; Hyogo Performing Arts Center in Japan; Cultural Center of the Philippines; National Center for the Performing Arts, in Mumbai; and others.

Choreographic Works[edit]

Hollander has created more than 75 dances in the course of his career, including the following:

  • Travelers (1992)
  • Moonbeam (1992)[26][27]
  • Anyone's Ballet (1992) with a commissioned score by Ricky Ian Gordon
  • Seen by a River (1993)[26][27]
  • Through a Prism[26][27]
  • Testimony (1994)
  • Songs of Tagore (1995) featuring guest artist Mallika Sarabhai[28][29][30][31][32][33][34][35]
  • Purush (1995)[36]
  • Layapriya (1997)
  • Mother Goose (2000), with a commissioned score by Finnish composer Frank Carlberg
  • A Passage to India: the Sequel (2001)
  • Notebooks (2003), with a commissioned score by F. Carlberg[37]
  • Shell Games (2005), with a commissioned score by F. Carlberg
  • Voice Hearers (2009), to a score by Meredith Monk
  • Shakti: a Return to the Source (2016), featuring guest artist Unnath H.R.

Social Activism[edit]

On a 2014 tour of India, Battery Dance Company worked with survivors of human trafficking and gender violence, supporting the efforts of EmancipAction and Aspen Institute's Ananta Centre.

Honors and Awards[edit]

Encore Award, Arts & Business Council, 1981

Bundesverdienstkreuz, Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, 2018


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  2. ^ Jarrett, Sara (August 17, 2007). "Financial District Dances with Joy". Daily News. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  3. ^ Sulcas, Roslyn (August 30, 2006). "On Endless Stages, Outdoor Dance Tempts Audiences and Trouble". The New York Times. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  4. ^ Johnson, Robert (August 22, 2007). "Downtown Dance Goes Upscale". The Star-Ledger.
  5. ^ Staub, Mary (August 21, 2006). "What's for Lunch? A Global Dance Sampler". The New York Sun. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  6. ^ Dunning, Jennifer (August 31, 2000). "Shifting Patterns that Flow and Stretch in the Open Air". Dance Review. The New York Times. p. E5. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  7. ^ Johnson, Robert (August 25, 2000). "Barefoot in the Park". The Star-Ledger.
  8. ^ Macaulay, Alastair (August 19, 2010). "Hindu Deities Conjure Magic in Movement Downtown". The New York Times. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  9. ^ Johnson, Robert (August 14, 2008). "Indian Dance: A Rare Look at the Diaspora". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  10. ^ Irwin, Victoria (May 25, 1988). "Dance class keeps phys-ed students on their toes". The Chistian Science Monitor. Astoria, Queens. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  11. ^ Zimmer, Elizabeth (January 2016). "Dancing to Connect". Studio Life.
  12. ^ Ratnakar, Seetha (June 22, 2017). "The Twain Shall Meet". The Hindu. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  13. ^ Mahesh, Chitra (April 26, 2001). "Creative Blend of Styles". The Hindu (Chennai) Metro.
  14. ^ Chowdhurie, Sunita (April 5, 2001). "Dance with a Difference". Statesman, Downtown (Calcutta).
  15. ^ Advani, Vinod (March 2, 1997). "Climbing a Mountain Called India". The Sunday Times of India.
  16. ^ Dunning, Jennifer (August 26, 2006). "An Onrushing Tidal Wave Powered by Currents Out of India and New Orleans". The New York Times. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  17. ^ Macaulay, Alastair (August 19, 2017). "An Enchanted Evening of Dance Under a Turner Sky". The New York Times. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  18. ^ Seibert, Brian (August 16, 2018). "The Spinning Mathematicians of Kathak Dance". The New York Times.
  19. ^ Johnson, Robert (August 18, 2010). "A Mix of Movement at Downtown Dance Festival". The Star-Ledger.
  20. ^ Datta, Jyotirmoy (October 16, 1998). "Council set up exclusively to support arts of India". INDIA in NEW YORK.
  21. ^ a b c Shepard, Richard F. (November 3, 1979). "About New York: A Ballet Company Among Big Business". The New York Times. p. 26. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  22. ^ Klatte, Arlene (September 13–26, 1994). "18 Years Spent Proving 'Dance is not a Frill'". Downtown Express.CS1 maint: date format (link)
  23. ^ Saltzman, Cynthia (August 21, 1980). "Wall Street Proves Shaky Turf for the Arts". The Wall Street Journal.
  24. ^ McDonagh, Don (August 10, 1977). "Dance: Bit of Joy on the Streets". The New York Times. p. 61. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  25. ^ Kinetz, Erika (October 29, 2006). "The Battle for Hearts, Minds, and Toes". The New York Times. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  26. ^ a b c Kothari, Sunil (February 19, 1994). "Through a Prism of Moods". The Economic Times.
  27. ^ a b c Sankaranarayanan, Vasanthi (March 13, 1994). "Spirit of Freedom". Indian Express.
  28. ^ Verghese, Jincy (March 6, 1997). "Fine-tuned to Perfection". The Times of India.
  29. ^ Bhattacharya, Losita (March 6, 1997). "Songs of Tagore: A Perfect Blend of the East and West". The Indian Express.
  30. ^ Lavkumar, Manisha (March 30, 1997). "Swinging to Rabindranath Tagore's Tune". The Times of India, Ahmedabad.
  31. ^ Subramanian, P. (March 22, 1997). "Literary Reflections of Tagore's Songs". Indian Express, Ahmedabad.
  32. ^ Sarabhai, Mallika (March 21, 1997). "US Choreographer, Hollander, Strikes a Cordial Note". The Times of India, Gujarat.
  33. ^ Mukerjee, Sutapi (April 20, 1997). "Moving On With the Spirit of Music". The Pioneer, Lucknow.
  34. ^ Ray, Baijayanti (April 16, 1997). "West Meets East: A Tribute to Tagore". The Asian Age.
  35. ^ Pande, Gauri (April 11, 1997). "Dancing in Tune with Songs of Tagore". Newstime, Hyderabad.
  36. ^ Gowri, R (August 27, 1995). "Purush--Reasserting Male Position in Dance". The Economic Times (Madras).
  37. ^ Johnson, Robert (August 23, 2006). "Troupes Unwrap Treats at Lunch Hour". The Star-Ledger.