Exit12 Dance Company Raises Awareness of Erbil, Iraq at Summer Streets NYC Today

Exit 12 Dance Company, a contemporary dance company founded by United States Marine Corps Sergeant Roman Baca upon his return from service in Iraq, has been invited to perform in the annual Summer Streets festival of New York City this August. Exit12 Dance Company of Manhattan be will joined by student dancers from Ballet Theatre Company of West Hartford, CT, and a contemporary selection of dance works will be presented on the performance space at Foley Square today, August 16th at 10:30am.

In April of 2012, Baca returned to Iraq as a civilian artist and ran a Dancing to Connect program with young men and women from Kirkuk and Erbil, supported by a grant from the US Embassy Baghdad and ably supported on the ground by local partners. Jonathan Hollander of Battery Dance Company organized this program with Emad Salem supported by a fellowship from The Mission Continues.

"The experience has left deep impressions for all of us and we are doing everything possible to establish solidarity with our DtC participants in Erbil and elsewhere in the Kurdish Autonomous Region of Iraq against the monstrous forces of the so-called Islamic State or ISIS," remarked Hollander from his studios in NYC.

"The performance provides a window into the struggles of the populations of Northern Iraq who live in constant danger, invoking familiarity and empathy with the audience," Baca added.

Exit12 will perform Conflict(ed), a work that suggests a common underlying humanity, despite the superficial differences of dress and culture. Exit12 will be joined by BTC students for Yarjuun, a Kurdish word for "hope" which originated in Iraq with Baca's students in 2012. Baca reconstructed the dance to bridge cultures and expose a human view of the Iraqi youth.

Summer Streets annually celebrates healthy recreation all along New York's most valuable public space, the city's streets. This community event includes biking, walking, zip lining, wall climbing, and enjoying the artistic performances and workshops along the way. Between 7:00 am and 1:00 pm the event will extend from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park, along Park Avenue and connecting to the nearby streets.

BTC will perform alongside groups such as the Harmony Program and Cardio Kool Kids, providing a diverse spread of kid-friendly musical, theatrical and dance pieces.

All activities at Summer Streets are free of charge, and designed for people of all ages and ability levels to share the streets respectfully.

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