River dance: Battery Dance Festival takes center stage on Downtown’s waterfront

Photos by Milo Hess
Ballet Inc. is one of 20 local dance companies that performed at the seven-day festival.


Downtown’s longest-running pro-bono dance festival returned to Battery Park City’s Wagner Park last week for its 36th year, featuring performances from dozens of domestic and international troupes in a seven-day, waterfront bonanza of groove.

Photos by Milo Hess
Wilder Project is a New York dance-film company founded by siblings Holly and Duncan Wilder.

The Battery Dance Festival, which debuted as the Downtown Dance Festival in 1982, draws more than 12,000 people to Lower Manhattan every year for the spectacle of movement.

The nightly two-hour shows in the park included as many as seven performances in an evening, plus free workshops at Battery Dance’s studio at 380 Broadway. The choreographic confab even had a festival-within-a-festival with the Erasing Borders Festival of Indian Dance, which featured six Indian-culture dance companies from across India and the United States.

Battery Dance takes its mission of connecting the world through dance quite literally, and the Downtown dance company uses its festival as a way to bring together dancers from across the country and around the globe. This year’s event featured 20 stateside dance crews, who were joined by international companies hailing from Belgium, Spain, the Dominican Republic, Sri Lanka, and Botswana.

Photos by Milo Hess
Compania Nacional de Danza Contemporanea de Republicia Dominicana, from the Dominican Republic, was one of five international dance companies hailing from as far away as Sri Lanka and Botswana that the festival brought to Battery Park City.