Battery Dance presents the World Premieres of three works of choreography, each inspired by the painting and legacy of Hans Hofmann. The premieres will take place at the Schimmel Center on Thursday, May 19 at 7pm and Friday, May 20 at 2pm* and 7pm. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased online at hofmann.batterydance.org.
For this cross-disciplinary program, Battery Dance invited three choreographers — Saeed Hani, Tsai Hsi Hung, and Christopher Núñez — to respond to the artwork of Hans Hofmann (1880-1966), one of the 20th century's most influential painters and teachers. Each of the choreographers found distinctly different inspiration in Hofmann's oeuvre, including his poetic imagery, groundbreaking painting techniques, and use of brilliant color. Together their three works embody Hofmann's legacy of imagination and abstract expression. To read what the choreographers have to say about their processes, visit hofmann.batterydance.org.
"The foundation of both Battery Dance's and my own artistry is interdisciplinary in nature," said Jonathan Hollander, Founder, Battery Dance. "I studied painting and sculpture before becoming a dancer. For many years, Battery Dance has commissioned artists to design settings for productions, and last fall, we presented dance interventions in eight galleries in our Tribeca neighborhood and at The Shed. Our company's deep connections to Germany gave further logic and inspiration for exploring the work of Hans Hofmann this season and to turn over the choreographic reins to three diverse and talented dancemakers hailing from different parts of the world."
Hofmann Dances is supported by the Renate, Hans and Maria Hofmann Trust and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. At the Schimmel Center, all audience members must provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or provide the negative results of a PCR test administered no more than 72 hours prior to the show. Face masks are required inside the theater.
*The matinee will be attended by student groups from New York City public schools and will include a student performance. Tickets for the general public are also available for purchase.
ABOUT THE WORKS AND CHOREOGRAPHERS
Saeed Hani, a Syrian-German dancer, choreographer, and the director of Hani Dance Company, was born in Syria and received his early training at the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts in Damascus. After his graduation, he joined the prestigious Caracalla Dance Company in Beirut, Lebanon. In the fall of 2015, he moved to Trier, Germany and founded his company, HANI DANCE, in 2016. In his work, Hani explores the intersection of visual art and dance, as well as power, dynamism, and imagery that alludes to his philosophy and life experience. Hani performed and assisted the Company's "Dancing to Connect for Refugee Integration" projects for two successive years in Germany before the pandemic.
For Hofmann Dances, Hani created "Wind in the Olive Grove," which is inspired by two Hofmann paintings "Olive Grove" and "Wind." Both relate to the natural beauty of Syria and the impact of war that has forced a generation of artists to flee. "The olive tree is a symbol of my Syrian homeland and reminds me of a time of innocence during my childhood when no one could conceive that events would tear the country apart," said Hani. "Hofmann's representation of wind represents for me the upheaval and chaos that descended on my country and forced me to leave."
Tsai Hsi Hung is a dancer, choreographer, and teacher and a graduate of Taipei National University of the Arts. She studied abroad at Australia's Queensland Technology University Dance Department and worked with the Australian Dance Theater, Tasdance, Expressions Dance Company, and Chunky Move Dance Company Dancers. Since moving to the U.S., she has received a Choreography Fellowship from the New Jersey Council on the Arts and her choreography was selected by the Joffrey Academy of Dance for "Winning Works" performance in Chicago. In 2020, Hung presented work at the Taipei National Dance Theater, and in 2021, she won Western Michigan University's National Choreography Competition. Ballet X presented her work during its 2020-21 season, and for Ballet X's 2022 Season, Hung will create a new work as part of the Ballet X Choreographer's Fellowship. Hung will be in residence in the dance department of Kennesaw State University, Georgia in the summer of 2022. She teaches in New York at Peridance Capezio Dance Center and NYU Tisch Dance and /MOVE|NYC|, and is the director of the Queens Ballet Center/QBC Company. "A Certain Mood" is inspired by Hans Hofmann's painting of the same name. "Hofmann's use of space and color gave me a feeling of darkness moving into light," said Hung. "As a painter, I often transpose the movement of the brushstroke into my choreography. I wanted to capture the vibrant quality of Hofmann's work by showcasing the athletic movements of the dancers and embody the energy of the painting."
Christopher "Unpezverde" Núñez iis a visually impaired choreographer, educator, activist and accessibility consultant based in New York City and originally from Costa Rica. In March, he was named one of only two Princeton University Arts Fellows for 2022-2024. His performances have been presented at The Brooklyn Museum, The Kitchen, Movement Research at The Judson Church, Danspace Project, The Joyce Theater, The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, Battery Dance Festival, Performance Mix Festival, and Dixon Place. He has held residencies at New Dance Alliance, Battery Dance Studios, The Kitchen, Center for Performance Research, Movement Research, Danspace Project, and Brooklyn Academy of Music. Núñez received the Leslie-Lohman Museum Fellowship in 2018, the Sustainability of Practice Fund for BIPOC Artists by Movement Research in 2021, a City Artist Corps Grant in 2021, two Emergency Grants by Foundation for Contemporary Arts (2019/2021). In 2021, he was a Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship Finalist. Núñez was invited by the NYC Mayor's Office to share his story as a disabled and formerly undocumented artist during Immigrant Heritage Week 2020. Núñez received his green card in 2018, but he continues to be an advocate for the rights of undocumented disabled immigrant artists. He holds a BFA in Science in Performing Arts from the National University of Costa Rica. In his work "Above Deep Waters," Núñez draws inspiration from Hofmann's painting of the same name. Núñez has a special interest in expanding Audio Description as an artistic medium for visually impaired communities to experience color and composition in a multi-dimensional way. For this, Núñez uses an original soundscape that includes recordings of the dancers verbalizing the titles of Hofmann's paintings, plus poetic games of voice and text, and an exploration of the dancer's emotional and physical states. The spoken-word accompaniment is a way for every audience member, including the visually impaired, to explore their relationship to color.
ABOUT HANS HOFMANN
Hans Hofmann (1880–1966) is one of the most important figures of postwar American art. Celebrated for his exuberant, color-filled canvases, and renowned as an influential teacher for generations of artists—first in his native Germany, then in New York and Provincetown—Hofmann played a pivotal role in the development of Abstract Expressionism.
ABOUT BATTERY DANCE
Battery Dance performs on the world's stages, teaches, presents, and advocates for the field of dance. The Company is dedicated to the pursuit of artistic excellence and the availability of the Arts to everyone. An integral part of the fabric of New York City since 1976, Battery supports the creative process; educates children in the New York City schools; enriches the general public through local programs and performances, national and international tours, and international arts exchange programs. Based in Lower Manhattan, Battery Dance has produced over 125 original dance works choreographed by its founder and artistic director Jonathan Hollander, and guest choreographers, in collaboration with a diverse array of composers and designers, and its cast of outstanding dancers. Battery's repertoire reveals a wide thematic and stylistic range. Presented in New York City and on tour in the U.S. and worldwide, Battery performances are characterized by choreography and music inspired by worldwide sources, reflecting American society and its multiplicity of cultures. Musical accompaniment, often commissioned, is a hallmark of the Company. The Company is among New York City's foremost cultural ambassadors through its participation in international performing arts festivals, conferences and symposia throughout 70 countries on 6 continents. Through the award winning Dancing to Connect program, the company uses dance as a tool for building social cohesion and resolving conflict throughout the world. Battery Dance is a community-spirited presenter with the free annual Battery Dance Festival, introducing New Yorkers to over 350 dance companies in more than 40 years. In its Lower Manhattan home-base, equipped with two large studios, the Company provides subsidized rehearsal space for over 400 choreographers and dance companies each year. Through its arts-in-education programs in New York City public schools, Battery dancers serve as teaching artists in primary, middle and high schools throughout the five boroughs. Battery facilitates in-school performances and master classes by international visiting artists, providing first-hand introductions for many city school children to the cultures of the world. http://www.batterydance.org