American Choreographer And Social Activist Jonathan Hollander To Receive Award From The German Federal Government
Joining the ranks of leaders in the fields of academia, foreign affairs, science, social work and arts, Jonathan Hollander, President and Artistic Director of Battery Dance, has been selected by German President Frank Walter Steinmeier to receive the Federal Cross of the Order of Merit, which German Consul General David Gill will bestow on Monday, June 18, 2018, at 6 p.m. in New York.
The award, presented previously to dancers Pina Bausch, Sasha Waltz and John Neumeier, and soprano Renee Fleming, is being given to Hollander in honor of his 'leadership in bringing together young people across borders through cultural exchange.' Hollander has been cited for 'impacting the lives of people in America and Germany in a remarkable way.'
Hollander has led his dancers around the world, with performances and arts education projects in over 70 countries to date, most recently in India, Bangladesh and Dominican Republic. His work in Germany, that has addressed refugee integration through dance over the past two years, began in 2006 with a project called 'Dances for the Blue House' that helped young Germans cope with their history through the making of dances into which they could channel emotions that defied spoken language.
Previous awards have included an artist fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, two Fulbright awards and arts envoy grants from the U.S. Department of State, The Silver Mask of the Silesian Dance Theatre (Poland) and an Encore Award from the Arts & Business Council for creating the Downtown Dance Festival, since renamed Battery Dance Festival, which has become New York City's longest-running public dance festival. A film about Dancing to Connect was recently premiered at MoMA's Doc Fortnight 2018, which chronicles Hollander's dancers as they conduct workshops with survivors of human trafficking in India, North Korean defectors and their South Korean counterparts, Roma and Romanian teens, and Iraqi protégé, Adel Euro, who was trained by Battery Dancers on Skype and live who was subsequently killed in the Baghdad bombing of July 2016.
Hollander says, 'I am humbled to receive this award and hope that the recognition will give us more opportunities to do the work which we find so deeply inspiring - uncovering talent and creativity in young people whose circumstances don't often allow them to celebrate themselves.'