SEATTLE FESTIVAL OF DANCE + IMPROVISATION
July 14 – August 3, 2024
SEATTLE FESTIVAL OF DANCE + IMPROVISATION
July 16 – August 5
The Professional Cohort is for dancers with, or looking to gain, professional dance experience. Participants in this cohort have the opportunity to train with national dance artists and build relationships that can kickstart a professional career in this city and beyond. The Professional Cohort is a daytime intensive experience where you’ll dance all day in challenging morning technique classes, and new-work creation processes with established choreographers.
This year is the first year we are offering a modular sign up experience for the Professional Cohort.
Register for WEEK 1 to make a new, site-responsive work with Jasmine Hearn at Freeway Park.
Register for WEEKS 2-3 to make a new work for the stage with Lavinia Vago.
Or sign up for the Full Professional Cohort to learn and perform two new works in three weeks!
This level is perfect for you if you are a dancer that is interested in pursuing a professional career in dance, or is already working professionally as a dancer and is at least 18 years of age.
THE MOVE: EXPERIMENTS INSIDE THE GROOVE
MY BODY, MY VOICE
CLASS WITH JASMINE HEARN
FOR THE LOVE OF DANCE, A HARDCORE MANIFESTO
HONEY N SENSUALITEA
MEET THE FACULTY
Sign up for full research week to choose one morning, midday AND afternoon intensive/drop-in slot from the options below. Registration for individual intensives opens June 20th.
Professional Cohort Week 1
Title: We’ll remember your spine, Matr.
Join Jasmine Hearn in an extended an embodied listening practice.
This week-long experience bridges practices of dance, movement, and embodied poetics. Together we will listen to the land coordinates of Freeway Park while considering its history and potential future sourcing land and celestial histories of the site’s coordinates.
The creative process centers the prompt, what should I know in order to arrive and depart as keeper of the place’s collective memory?
Together with our breathing, stilling, listening, and moving bodies — we will build recipes in response.
You will be asked to
- care of yourself
- reference all the ways you have learned to move (Jawole Willa Jo Zollar)
- rest when you need
This week will culminate in a site-specific performance in Seattle’s Freeway Park.
Jasmine Hearn is an interdisciplinary artist, director, performer, choreographer, organizer, doula, and teacher. They are committed to performance as an expansive practice that includes a spectrum of dance and somatic traditions and techniques, sound design, garment design, and the archiving of matrilineal memories. They give gratitude to Spirit, their mothers and aunties, and all the mothering Black people who have supported their moving, remembering body.
Hearn has performed their work at venues such as the Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Pittsburgh, PA (2021); New York Live Arts, New York, NY (2021); Moody Center for the Arts at Rice University, Houston, TX (2021); Danspace Project, New York, NY (2019, 2017); and BAAD! Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, Bronx, NY (2016). They have also performed with the companies Helen Simoneau Danse, Urban Bush Women, and David Dorfman Dance, among others, and collaborated with many artists, including Holly Bass, Maria Bauman, Marjani Forté-Saunders, Gerard & Kelly, Vanessa German, Li Harris, Bill T. Jones, Solange Knowles, Ayanah Moor, Lovie Olivia, Staycee Pearl, Alesandra Seutin, and Alisha B. Wormsley.
Hearn is the recipient of a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists award (2023), Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon Polsky Rome Prize in Design with collaborator Athena Kokoronis of Domestic Performance Agency (2023), a Creative Capital Award (2022), New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Awards for Outstanding Performer (2021, 2017), a Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship (2019), and Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grants (2022, 2017). They have been awarded residencies through Movement Research, New York, NY; Pittsburgh Foundation, Pittsburgh, PA; and the Camargo Foundation, Cassis, France.
Hearn, born and raised on occupied lands now known as Houston, TX, studied dance and sound with a multitude of teachers, including their sister, cousins, aunties, instructors, and friends at family events, church, and took class at the Houston Metropolitan Dance Center. They have also been greatly influenced by teachers, mentors, and collaborators, including Byronné J Hearn, Claudette Nickens Johnson, Joy KMT, Barbara Mahler, Pamela Pietro, Kendra Portier, Samita Sinha, Sandra Organ Solis, jhon r. stronks, Sherie van den Wijngaard, Charmaine Warren, Marýa Wethers, Bennalldre Williams, Marlies Yearby, and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar. Hearn received a B.A. from Point Park University.
Photo by Kitoko Chargois
Professional Cohort Weeks 2-3
“inside a music box with snakes that swells”
“in chaos finds peace”
“I Loves Me Club Nasty “
Improvisation is the choreographic code to create our work. Our systems build a dance that remains expansive, breathing, present, intentional, playful.
We will use the solo form to dig deep inside our own body memory / mind / soul / desires and our deepest demons while creating a multitude of experiences in a collective journey.
“I realized that performance was the best way to deal… it has the immediacy of need, the intensity of life, and the freedom of the ephemeral.”
Weeks 2 + 3 will culminate in a performance as part of the Performance Cohorts Showcase.
Lavinia Vago (she/her) is an Italian dance artist, performer, educator, maker, collaborator, and director based between Seattle, NYC and Berlin.
Lavinia experiments and creates dance works as a solo artist. Her work researches and attacks themes of disobedience, kinesthetic empathy, queerness, and transcendence through exhaustion, duration, endurance, and rigor. She uses intuitive improvisational choreographies and scores to explore altered cerebral and emotional headspaces within experimental soundscapes. Premieres include “NOESIS X, a solo for two” in collaboration with Berlin sound artist Harald Stojan (Velocity Dance Center, 2019), and “FLAMES AND BABES” (Seattle Art Museum, 2020) as part of the Flesh and Blood Exhibition of Italian Masterpieces from Capodimonte; and ENXORE at SIDF 2021. Her new work, FKK, premieres May 2024, through Made In Seattle program at Velocity.
As a dance artist Lavinia collaborated, performed, created works and toured the world with Sidra Bell Dance New York, Loni Landon Projects, Vim Vigor Dance Theater (NYC), Tom Weinberger, and most extensively with Montréal based Rubberband. She created works with Vienna based theater company Saint Genet, performing at Weiner Festwochen and Holland Festival. She is currently performing and touring with Beijing artist Tianzhuo Chen in the 12-hours performance ritual TRANCE (Mwoods / Beijing, Trauma Bar Und Kino / Berlin, Kampnagel / Hamburg, Norberg Festival / Sweden, KNDL / Berlin, Dark Mofo / Tasmania).
Lavinia has been Associate Artistic Director of the non-profit Studio Kate Wallich (2017-2020), has been the rehearsal director of YC2 (a platform for emerging dance artists), and co-founded and co-directed dance company “The YC” with Kate Wallich (2010 – 2020). Recently they toured with band Perfume Genius at The Moore Theater, The Joyce, The Walker, ICA Boston, and MASS Moca.
She is the Artistic Director of Programming, and Lead Teacher for Dance Church™, an inclusive dance and fitness class for every body. She develops all programming for online and in person classes, leading all partnerships and is the lead on all bodies inclusivity initiatives (most recently in partnership with Harborview Medical Institute for SCI patients.
As an educator, Lavinia teaches Dance for Parkinson’s, Rubberband Method, and masterclass series, intensives and workshops aimed to subvert and rethink dance contemporary technique, floor work, and improvisation. She taught at Strictly Seattle, Springboard Danse Montreal, l’Ecole Superieur de Ballet du Quebec, L’ecole de Danse Contemporaine de Montreal, Domaine Forget, Lines Ballet Training Program, Tanzquartier Vienna, Tanz Platform Rhein Main (Frankfurt), and Staatstheater TanzMainz, among others.
BFA in Dance Magna Cum Laude from Cornish College of The Arts 2010.
Photo by Salt Photo
HANNAH SIMMONS + ALETHEA ALEXANDER
PAYMENTS + DEPOSITS + REFUNDS
To reserve your spot you can either pay in full* or hold your place with a non-refundable $350 deposit. Full payment to confirm your registration is required by June 19.
Registration for a la carte intensives, classes, workshops, and jams will open on June 20 and spaces will be available on a first-come-first-served basis. To register a la carte you will pay in full, though let us know if you need to discuss a payment plan.
Please contact Shirley Wong, email@example.com, for any questions or clarifications about registration or payment.
*ULTIMATE SFD+I, PERFORMANCE Cohorts, and RESEARCH Week payments include a $350 non-refundable deposit.
Velocity’s refund policies were created to offer as much flexibility to our community as possible, while still protecting SFD+I from risk and instability.
The refund schedule for the Ultimate SFD+I, Performance Cohorts, or Research Week is:
- Before June 19: All registration fees, less the $350 non-refundable deposit, are fully refundable for any reason.
- After June 19: All registration fees, less the $350 non-refundable deposit, are 50% refundable for any reason.
- After your first class begins: All registration fees are non-refundable for any reason, including illness or injury.
The refund schedule for all a la carte intensives, workshops or classes (available after June 20) is:
- After you register: All registration fees are 50% refundable for any reason.
- After your first class begins: All registration fees are non-refundable for any reason, including illness or injury.
ARE THERE ANY SCHOLARSHIP OPTIONS AVAILABLE?
Velocity’s Summer Work/Study program provides the opportunity for participants to receive discounted attendance to the Seattle Festival of Dance + Improvisation in exchange for festival support. The deadline for this program is February 1st. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
THE APPLICATION DEADLINE HAS PASSED.
TBIPOC TUITON WAIVER
As a part of Velocity’s Seattle Festival of Dance + Improvisation we are providing $10,000 in fee waivers to dancers who identify as Transgender, Black, Indigenous, and/or as People of Color, in an effort to shift power to Transgender and BIPOC communities. The deadline for this program is February 1st. Please email email@example.com with any questions.
THE APPLICATION DEADLINE HAS PASSED.
IS HOUSING AVAILABLE DURING THE FESTIVAL?
Velocity is proud to partner with Seattle University to provide housing to SFD+I participants within walking distance to classes and events at 12th Ave Arts!
Seattle University offers the following:
- Flexible Timelines
- Two meals per day (breakfast + dinner) – not included on checkin or check out days
- Linens, Pillows, and towels
Week 1 (July 13 – July 21)
Single Occupancy – $900
Double Occupancy – $700 per person
Week 2-3 (July 20 – Aug 4)
Single Occupancy – $1500
Double Occupancy – $1200 per person
Week 1-3 (July 13 – Aug 4)
Single Occupancy – $2400
Double Occupancy – $1900 per person
Week 4 (Aug 3 – Aug 11)
Single Occupancy – $800
Double Occupancy – $600 per person
Week 1-4 (July 13 – Aug 11)
Single Occupancy – $3100
Double Occupancy – $2500 per person
Refund Policy: For housing, we have a 60 day refund policy minus a $250 non-refundable deposit. Outside of the deposit, the payment is refundable up until May 13 of 2024. Any payment made after May 12 is non-refundable.
Notes: buildings and rooms will be assigned in late spring of 2024. There are no scholarships available for housing at SFD+I.
ARE INTERNSHIPS AVAILABLE FOR SFD+I?
Velocity is honored to partner with NW Folklife to provide one Summer Programming Internship from May – October. This internship will help program two international festivals, SFD+I and Mouthwater Festival.
HOW DO I ACCESS CLASSES AS A DROP-IN PARTICIPANT?
Morning technique classes and Intermediate evening technique classes are open for drop-ins. Registration for these classes will be through Jot Form, where drop-in participants can register and pay. Registration for Drop-In classes will open on June 20.
REGISTER FOR YOUR IMMERSIVE SUMMER EXPERIENCE
Velocity’s best summer dance experience combines your chosen PERFORMANCE Cohort and the full RESEARCH Week for a money-saving, bundled price of
$1200 $995 with early bird pricing before Feb 15!.
Alethea Alexander and Hannah Simmons began co-teaching under the name Ballet Rituals in Spring 2022. They arrive at ballet practices from different histories: Hannah from a rigid classical training and Alethea from an academic approach. They have a shared desire to queer the form and dismantle their relationships to ballet and academia’s problematic power structures. Their approach examines the tension between softness and rigor and, above all, prioritizes pleasure and joy. Alethea and Hannah’s collaborations extend into creative processes that are rooted in environment generation and responsiveness. Most recently, they participated in a research-based residency at the Henry Art Gallery (in partnership with Velocity) and a premiere at Mini Mart City Park (curated by Maia Melene Durfee).
Alethea (M.F.A., University of Washington) is a Seattle-based dance artist and educator, and co-founder of Ballet Rituals. Community, sensuality, care, effort and collaboration are central tenets of her creative and teaching work with dance partners human, object and sonic. Alethea teaches community classes with Dance Undercurrent, and is Training Manager and teacher with Dance Church. She performs her own improvised and choreographed works in collaboration with multidisciplinary artists in Seattle and nationally. Other teaching appointments include the University of Washington Department of Dance (2017-2023), Whatcom Community College (2014-2016), Velocity Dance Center’s SFD+I summer festival (2019, 2022, 2023), Cornish College of the Arts (2020-2023), as well as recurring guest teaching for ODC Dance (2013), Bellingham Repertory Dance (2013-2017) the Seattle Piano Institute (2017-2023), Sam Houston State University (2019-2021) and others.
Hannah is a multi-disciplinary performer, creator, and educator living and working in Seattle. She holds a B.A. from Bennington College in dance and mathematics. Her choreographies and installations are centered around queering forms and hybridizing reality and fiction, in service of giving viewers a dynamic and unusual perspective on their own bodies. Her recent work has been supported by Velocity Dance Center, NWFF’s Collective Power Fund, MAP Fund’s inaugural microgrant initiative, Jack Straw Cultural Center, Seattle’s Office of Arts and Culture, 4Culture, and the Freeway Park Association. She is passionate about communal care, collaboration, and building sustainable and reciprocal systems of support for artists..
Photo by Stephen Anunson
Multi-hyphenate art maker Keyes Wiley (they/them) is a designer of all things surrounding performance. Their next series of works will be in collaboration with Velocity Dance Center under the name NoGoodDoers. They will also be working with Dani Tirrell and crew on Dani’s next project LOL. Wiley has been an arts educator in Seattle since 2009 teaching various styles and genres all over the west coast. You can catch them in action as dj dark_wiley monthly at TUSH at the Clock-Out Lounge. Keyes has performed, collaborated or created work with Kitten N Lou (Jingle all the Gay, Atomic Bombshells) , Dani Tirrell (Black Bois, LOL), Keith Hennessy (Turbulence), On the Boards (Its Not Too Late), the CD Forum, Velocity Dance Center, Gibney Dance (NYC), Cal State San Luis Obispo and more.
Photo by Erin O’Reilly
Nia-Amina Minor is a movement artist originally from Los Angeles. She approaches her physical practice as an imaginative space grounded in rhythm where improvisation, Black vernacular movement, and choreography meet. Her creative work focuses on the body and what it carries, using physical and archival research to explore memory and history.
As an independent artist, Nia-Amina has performed and presented original work at University of Washington, MOHAI, The Luminary St. Louis, Seattle Art Museum, WaNaWari, CD Forum, Seattle Black Film Festival, Reflections Festival, Seattle International Dance Festival (SIDF), and Pacific Northwest Ballet. From 2016-2021, Nia-Amina was Company Artist and Community Engagement Coordinator at Spectrum Dance Theater. She performed in acclaimed works created by Donald Byrd including Rap on Race, Shot, and Strange Fruit receiving a Seattle Dance Crush Award for her performance in Shot. Prior to relocating to Seattle, Nia-Amina was a co-founder and former curator of Los Angeles based collective, No)one Art House.
Nia-Amina has taught, guest lectured, and been a visiting artist at CalArts, University of Washington, Saddleback College, Cypress College, and UC Irvine. She holds a MFA from UC Irvine and a BA from Stanford University.
In 2021, Nia-Amina was recognized as Dance Magazine’s 25 Artists to Watch. Currently, she is a Velocity Dance Center Made in Seattle Artist in Residence.
Photo by Amy Piñon
Tracey Wong 黃麗塋 (she/her) is a queer Teochew-American interdisciplinary artist that lights up and inspires spaces through her dance, singing, DJ-ing, hosting, education, and space-holding work. One of her purposes is to help us remember to play, connect with our intuition, and for our bodies to genuinely express to heal and to connect to our humanity.
She was born and raised on Duwamish Land/ Seattle, WA with deep roots in the Southend, Beacon Hill, Central District, and Chinatown-International District neighborhoods. Tracey is the daughter of loving parents who were refugees from Vietnam that taught her the values of honesty and loving wholeheartedly. Tracey takes pride in representing her birthplace and continues to create spaces that empower many, especially for queer people, women, and communities of color.
Tracey currently teaches Waacking/Whacking and Honey n Sensualitea at The Beacon: Massive Monkees Studio, a place she considers her home. She is also an Artist Mentor and Communications Manager at Totem Star, a community-based organization that centers and empowers youth voice through accessible music mentorship & programming. This past year, Tracey also joined the faculty team at the University of Washington as a lecturer, helping to develop the street and club-styles curriculum. As a multi-faceted artist, she will be debuting a burlesque performance at What the Funk – a POC burlesque festival that pays tribute to the Black American music genre of funk this year.
She has had the privilege to travel and continues to showcase, teach, judge, host, and compete all around the world. She has won titles in Waacking such as Ladies of Hip Hop LA (2019), Waack, Crackle Lock (2019), and Vancouver Street Dance Festival (2018), in freestyle battles such as Vancity Get Lite 2v2 (2023), 4theluvofit (2022), and more.
Tracey is the co-director and co-founder of Malicious Vixens, a dance crew and sisterhood of Asian American women that perform globally. Together, they work to create art that honors their ancestors and histories, but also honors the African diaspora and cultures that they are guests of.
Throughout her past decade, Tracey has held spaces for and with community for the purpose of letting the people shine in their truth – from showcases, jams/ dance battles, dance parties, sessions, and workshops highlighting local, national and international dancers. Some events include Queen of the Hill (2015-2018), an all-ladies dance event series and Punk N Funk (2017-2019), Seattle’s largest Waacking/ Whacking battle, and House that Disco (2022).
In 2022, Tracey was deemed a legend in the PNW kiki ballroom scene to honor her years of achievements of winning trophies and creating memorable moments in the ballroom scene. In 2017, Tracey was honored at Seattle House Dance Project in recognition for her community work and in 2020 as a Seattle Dance Crush.
She would not be here today without the support of her loved ones and elders that have paved the way.
Photo by Stefano Altamura
Undercurrent is a Seattle-based dance company directed by Hilary Grumman that nurtures floorwork technique, experiential design, multi-media performance, and care-centered community building.
Drawing on training with international practitioners, and 12 years of personal floorwork research, Hilary has been guiding Undercurrent classes since 2017. After earning her BFA from CalArts, mentored by writers Maggie Nelson and Anthony McCann along with a brilliant dance faculty, she pursued floorwork training in Piso Móvil, Flying Low, Psico-Físico, RUBBERBAND, Jorge Crecis, Ihsan Rustem, Moving Air, Duela-Cemento, A Surprised Body, CONTINUUM, and Bodyparkour. Weaving these methods into her own investigations, she has cultivated a cohesive and injury-preventative approach to fluid floorwork sequencing, challenging inversions, and an immersive class experience.
In addition to Velocity, Hilary has taught Undercurrent across the country at Mark Morris Dance Center, Peridance Center New York, the University of Washington, Cornish College of the Arts, The Dance Complex Boston, Fremont Abbey, Spectrum Dance Theater, and Bodies of Empowerment SF. She has also hosted workshops with Nicole von Arx, Ground Grooves, Lavinia Vago, Elia Mrak, RUBBERBAND dancers, et al. She has performed in Seattle, Mazatlan, London, Vienna, Tijuana, Montreal, Lewiston, Valencia, and Los Angeles and her choreographic commissions include new works for CO—, Sessions in Place, The Round, Ode at Mini Mart City Park, Kaylee Elizabeth, Studio Current Sessions, Starbucks, and more.
Dive in at danceundercurrent.com
The Move: Experiments Inside the Groove
With Nia-Amina Minor
Dive into contemporary approaches to movement through groove + musicality, technical exploration, and choreography. Class is informed by historic and current movement practices including Black social dance, improvisation, floor work, and modern technique. We will be guided by music from the Jazz and Hip Hop continuum and discuss music just as much as we practice movement. As an experiment in groove, we’ll find a chorus of movement together. Bring all of yourself, that means any foundational movement practices or dance styles/genres of movement, party dances, and social dances; bring all the ways your body moves.
Honey n Sensualitea
With Tracey Wong
Honey n Sensualitea is a space to ooze in the presence and pleasure of our senses through dance. Tracey will tenderly guide you through a warm up, freestyle exercises on your feet and on the floor, and a combo. Tracey draws inspiration from her movement background and experiences to share her philosophies and practices in sensual movement. Wear what makes you feel comfortable and that you can move comfortably in. Knee pads are recommended or to wear pants. Heels are optional!
my body, my voice
With Keyes Wiley
This class will take us on a journey of the use of the voice through dance. How can we view our ever present voice as a part of our own personal movement practice. Come play and unlock your voice with me.
With Hilary Grumman
Dive into the flow of getting low by unpacking the rigor, mechanics, and efficiency of floorwork with care, curiosity, and precision. These uptempo sessions offer a constant stream of movement to warm the body, juice the joints, discover new pathways, and cultivate both a personal and community practice. Learn how the natural architecture of your body can make challenging floorwork feel smooth, strategic, strengthening, and sustainable! As class progresses, the foundations offered grow into more complex sequences, inversions, and tricks, culminating in a choreographic phrase that incorporates the themes and tools of each session. *We recommend wearing soft layers that are comfortable to move in and cover your whole body.
With Hannah Simmons & Alethea Alexander
Ballet Rituals is born out of an active interest in queering the technique and culture of ballet. Class begins on the floor with a sensory and somatic warmup that encourages softness, proprioceptive tuning, and efficiency. From there, we move into a barre practice that offers both familiar exercises and those which explicitly diverge from classical structure and are rooted in contemporary research. Class culminates with juicy and expansive center phrases, including tendu, adagio, waltz, and jumps.
Our classes are designed to help contemporary movers savor the familiarity and structure of ballet while simultaneously shedding any parts of the practice that don’t serve them. Pop-indie playlists underpin the ritual and rhythm of ballet shapes and sequences, and help to root us in togetherness and joy. We indulge in and subvert the familiarity of form through creative pathways, anatomical clarity, and collective practice. We play and laugh our way through experiencing ballet as a ritual, in community.
We treat ballet as a practice, not an ideology, and reject hierarchy, patriarchy, silence, and authoritarianism wherever possible. We use a co-teaching model, encourage singing along, and offer a tiered pricing structure whenever possible to foster an inclusive and accessible environment.
With Jasmine Hearn
Class description coming soon.
For The Love Of Dance, A Hard Core Manifesto.
Playtime with Lavinia Vago
Fuck perfection / ideals
Fuck form / aesthetic as a goal
Fuck right / wrong
Instead, we will dance from a place of curiosity, awareness, release, expression, empathy, and collective joy. Improvisation is our language to build our rigorous play.