Mr. Patrick Connors, Adalah-NY
Dear Mr. Connors,
Thank you for your letter regarding BAM's upcoming presentation of Batsheva Dance Company. I appreciate that you recognize BAM's history as a progressive arts organization and its commitment to diversity. Our core mission is an artistic one; we recognize the work of Batsheva as we recognize and support artistic work from dozens of countries and cultures.
In the past few years we have presented artists from Kuwait, China, Taiwan, Cuba, and Russia, to name a few. By presenting those artists, we did not imply or express support of their respective countries' governmental policies or political activities, but rather sought to expose American audiences to the unique creative work of artists from around the world and to build cultural bridges. In 2009, along with partners at Asia Society and the NYU Center for Dialogues, we produced the "Muslim Voices: Arts and Ideas" festival, exploring artistic work from Muslim societies in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Through a newly-established partnership with the US State Department, we are exploring cultural exchange through international tours by US dance companies; the upcoming tours include artistic engagement with young people and artists in the Palestinian Territories, Egypt, and Israel by the Rennie Harris Puremovment company of Philadelphia.
We understand that you or others may take issue with a particular artistic presentation in our theaters. We respect your opinion. BAM does not agree that supporting the work of Batsheva Dance Company runs counter to its progressive artistic legacy; Batsheva will not appear at BAM to further a political agenda. The company's work is valued by the dance community and by our audiences and we welcome them back to our stage.
Karen Brooks Hopkins
Brooklyn Academy of Music
30 Lafayette Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11217