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Battery Dance unveils campaign to rescue refugee dancers from Middle-East conflict

YouTube / Adel Euro In a video of his first stage performance in Amman which he posted to YouTube, Adel Euro talks about how he hopes to make his father proud.
YouTube / Adel Euro
Iraqi dancer Adel Euro was killed by a Baghdad suicide bomber while the Battery Dance Company was working to bring him to the U.S. for training.

Battery Dance Company, which just finished up its annual, eponymous dance festival, announced a new charitable campaign this week aimed at bringing dancers from the Middle East to New York for training.

It’s named for Iraqi dancer Adel Euro, whom the company was working to bring to the U.S. this summer when he was killed last month by a suicide bombing in Baghdad.

This year’s Battery Dance Festival, which ran from Aug. 14–20 at Wagner Park, began with a tribute to the company’s fallen protege, and the Adel Euro Campaign for Dancers Seeking Refuge is intended to honor his memory by relocating, hosting and training Middle Eastern dance refugees in New York City over the next year.

“The experience with Adel has taught us that getting these dancers out of danger is of the utmost urgency,” said Jonathan Hollander, president and artistic director of Battery Dance. “Every day, extraordinary talent is lost in conflict zones to senseless and random violence. Unfortunately, as we have learned from Adel’s story, there is no time to waste.”

Battery Dance discovered Euro in 2014 through a series of YouTube videos he posted of himself dancing at home. The company reached out to him and began training him over Skype. Despite a stigma against male dancers in the Middle East, Euro persisted in his art — and Battery Dance began working to bring him to the United States, but was waiting for him to finish law school first.

He graduated in June, and was killed in the bombing less than a month later.

The July 3 suicide bombing that killed Adel and more than 300 other civilians in a crowded Baghdad market was the deadliest terrorist attack in Iraq’s history.

“Within days of hearing the news of his death, the artists, staff and board of the non-profit dance company made a commitment to do everything possible to help other dancers from the region seeking refuge,” said Battery Dance in a statement announcing the new effort.

The Adel Euro Campaign for Dancers Seeking Refuge is seeking private donations and foundation grants to help relocate, host and train six Middle Eastern dancers who will form a performing unit under the artistic direction of Battery Dance’s senior dancer, Sean Scantlebury. The resulting ensemble will then tour U.S. schools and universities. The program’s goal is to raise $30,000.

“We hope others will help us save dancers like Adel, who exhibit incredible dance talent but are limited in their opportunities and are at-risk due to societal constraints and conflict in their countries,” Hollander said.

Those interested in contributing can visit the program’s crowdfunding page at: www.generosity.com/emergencies-fundraising/adel-euro-campaign-for-dancers-seeking-refuge.