The Skype Dance Student

January 4, 2015

Scantlebury leads Aadel in a Skype stretch (Andrew Lamberson for The Wall Street Journal)

You guys, the dance world is so small. Think about it: You’ve probably met someone at a summer intensive who knew a girl from your local studio. Or maybe you’ve taken a master class from a choreographer who knew your teacher from home, or recognized the same group of regulars from one competition to the next. Chances are, you’ve had at least one instance of these one-degree-of-separation moments, thanks to dance—because when you decide to be a dancer, you join this tight-knit community of people from across the globe, united by their passion.

Nothing demonstrates dance’s connecting power quite like the partnership of Aadel Qies Aadel and Sean Scantlebury. Aadel is a 22-year-old law student from Baghdad, Iraq. Scantlebury is a dancer with Battery Dance Company in NYC.  What do these two men have in common? Law isn’t Aadel’s main passion: He dreams of becoming a dancer. But finding dance classes, or even studio space, in Baghdad is no easy task.

Instead of giving up, he reached out to artistic director of Battery Dance Company (and founder of “Dancing to Connect“) Jonathan Hollander on Facebook. Hollander was impressed with Aadel’s raw talent, so he reached out to Scantlebury to begin bi-weekly dance classes via Skype. How cool is that?! Check it out: