Page 26 - FIS World October 2018
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“Moving Stories”
An FIS Alumna creates a film capturing the power of dance
  Battery Dance Company member Tadej Brdnik works with students in India
Wendy Sax, FIS Alumna Class of 1976, is part of a team that created MOVING STORIES, a film about six dancers from the Battery Dance Company (BDC) who teach dance to youth who have been victims of poverty, violence, or other forms of trauma.
With a lifelong interest in theater and dance, Wendy participated in drama at FIS and majored in English and Theater at Smith College. She has worked for Warner Bros., Universal Pictures, Martin Scorsese and others in creative and script development, as well as an artistic director and producer. Wendy jumped at the chance to join the team of Cornelia Ravenal, Mikael Södersten, and director, Rob Fruchtman, as a creative producing partner to make MOVING STORIES.
In the film, teacher-dancers from BDC travel to India and Romania to work with youth who are coping with poverty and a lack of education; to South Korea where they have risked their lives to escape from North Korea; and to Iraq where they struggle to survive war and violence. In the week-long “Dancing to Connect” workshops the youth are challenged to create and perform a dance. They learn about dance and choreography and are asked to collaborate with one another and to try new things. In the process they confront their anxieties, overcome fears, and learn to express themselves in ways they haven’t before.
Jonathan Hollander, President, Artistic Director
and Founder of BDC explains, “Dancing to Connect evolved over a period of 30 years of working in New York City public schools. The people I work with are not only extraordinary dancers, performers, and now choreographers, but also nurturing teachers.”The other members of the BDC
are: Vice President and COO, Emad Salem, and dancers: Tadej Brdnik, Robin Cantrell, Mira Cook, Clement Mensah, Sean Scantelbury, and Lydia Tetzlaff.
Since 2006, BDC has led more than 500 dance workshops in over 60 countries around the world. Clement Mensah explains: “When we dance, across the whole universe, it becomes a language that everybody can understand. I don’t have to speak dance in English, I don’t have to speak dance in Arabic, I don’t have to speak dance in Romanian, it becomes the same language.”Tadej Brdnik reports:
“They come to this project not believing that they can do what we are going to ask of them to do. And then by one week, they own something. I see more potential in them than they can see in themselves.”
Scenes from MOVING STORIES capture the transformative power of dance. In a clip from the Romanian workshop a student explains: “Before,
I didn’t have friends, and dance helps me find friends.” When asked what she liked about the workshop, another student says, “When the music starts, you can be whatever you want to be.” In another scene, a North Korean refugee says,
“Dance can express things you can’t express in words.”
Wendy believes in the power of the arts to transform lives: “The film shows how teachers engage students in exercises that promote respect, empathy, awareness, and self-esteem. Before our eyes, we see young people gaining the tools they need to work together and to forge connections. These tools go beyond the classroom and dance.”
The film that was four years in the making premiered in February at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York to a sold out audience and is now traveling the festival circuit across the United States and internationally. Wendy’s many years in varied roles in the film industry have given her the breadth and depth of experience to do what she loves most, bringing meaningful stories to wider audiences.
Nancy Huston
Development and Alumni Relations Manager
View the film trailer at For more on the Battery Dance Company, visit https://
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