BY SCOTT STIFFLER | Graceful, athletic, precise and disciplined, professional dancers are paragons of peak conditioning — but even the best of them would be hard-pressed to match the endurance record set by the annual Battery Dance Festival (BDF). Year number 36 finds the festival reveling “in the panoply of dance that our city offers, with strong emphasis on the inclusion of diverse dance styles and an international roster of performers.”
That “big tent” pledge, mind you, applies only to the talent — not the setting.
Much of BDF’s unique identity flows from its outdoor venue: Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park in Battery Park City. There, with the backdrop of the New York harbor providing Broadway-meets-Hollywood production values, emerging and established dance companies will perform over the course of six consecutive nights. Among the featured artists, nearly three dozen in total: Danuka Ariyawansa + Behri Drums and Dance Ensemble (Sri Lanka), Ballet Inc., and Peridance Contemporary Dance Company.
On Tues., Aug. 15, BDF hosts the Indo-American Arts Council’s “Erasing Borders Festival of Indian Dance,” with performances by Aakansha Maheshwari, Dimple Saikia, Kalamandir Dance, and others. The festival wraps up on Sat., Aug. 19, with an indoor event featuring Battery Dance, Mophato Dance Theatre (Botswana), and Bollylicious (Belgium).
Free performances from 7–9pm, Sun., Aug. 13 through Fri., Aug. 18, at Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park in Battery Park City (20 Battery Place). The closing event and reception (Sat., Aug 19, 6-8pm at The Schimmel Center at Pace University; 3 Spruce St.) requires a reservation via batterydance.org, where you can also access the full schedule of performances.