The World at Seattle's Feet

If you happen to be in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood this weekend, you’re in for a treat. That’s because the ninth annual Seattle International Dance Festival: Beyond the Threshold starts tomorrow, running through June 22. The event kicks off with a dance party at dusk, complete with food trucks, flash mobs and impromptu performances by b-boy crew Massive Monkees.

The festival’s Inter|National Artists Series, held both weekends at Cornish College of the Arts, features performances by Seattle’s own Khambatta Dance Company; companies and solo artists from Brazil, France, India and Romania; and mixed media collaborations between dancers from the U.S., Peru, Germany and China. In addition, the festival’s Threshold Institute offers a weeklong workshop with an international roster of teachers and choreographers.

From June 17–19, three local dancers (Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Andrew Bartee, Massive Monkees’ Jerome Aparis and KT Niehoff) act as curators for the Spotlight on Seattle series. Each artist pays homage to the city’s thriving dance scene with an evening of selected works showcasing local dance companies. The performances also serve as a competition of sorts—each night, audience members, along with panelists Donald Byrd and Dayna Hansen, award one group or solo artist $500 to develop a work for the 2015 festival. Byrd and Hansen will also serve as mentors to the winners.

And keep your eyes peeled for a cabaret-style performance on June 21—the location will be determined 24 hours beforehand. Participating choreographers will have one week to create a work based on a theme chosen by audience members on the festival’s opening night. June 13–22. Click here for schedule and tickets.

Health & Body
Gettty Images

It's a cycle familiar to many: First, a striking image of a lithe, impossibly fit dancer executing a gravity-defying développé catches your eye on Instagram. You pause your scrolling to marvel, over and over again, at her textbook physique.

Inevitably, you take a moment to consider your own body, in comparison. Doubt and negative self-talk first creep, and then flood, in. "I'll never look like that," the voice inside your head whispers. You continue scrolling, but the image has done its dirty work—a gnawing sensation has taken hold, continually reminding you that your own body is inferior, less-than, unworthy.

It's no stretch to say that social media has a huge effect on body image. For dancers—most of whom already have a laser-focus on their appearance—the images they see on Instagram can seem to exacerbate ever-present issues. "Social media is just another trigger," says Nadine Kaslow, a psychologist who works with the dancers of Atlanta Ballet. "And dancers don't need another trigger." In the age of Photoshop and filters, how can dancers keep body dysmorphia at bay?

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Dance on Broadway
Courtesy Boneau/Bryan-Brown

If "Fosse/Verdon" whet your appetite for the impeccable Gwen Verdon, then Merely Marvelous: The Dancing Genius of Gwen Verdon is the three-course meal you've been craving. The new documentary—available now on Amazon for rental or purchase—dives into the life of the Tony-winning performer and silver-screen star lauded for her charismatic dancing.

Though she's perhaps most well-known today as Bob Fosse's wife and muse, that's not even half of her story. For starters, she'd already won four Tonys before they wed, making her far more famous in the public eye than he was at that point in his career. That's just one of many surprising details we learned during last night's U.S. premiere of Merely Marvelous. Believe us: You're gonna love her even more once you get to know her. Here are eight lesser-known tidbits to get you started.

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What Dancers Eat
Lindsay Thomas

Every dancer knows that how you fuel your body affects how you feel in the studio. Of course, while breakfast is no more magical than any other meal (despite the enduring myth that it's the most important one of the day), showing up to class hangry is a recipe for unproductive studio time.

So what do your favorite dancers eat in the morning to set themselves up for a busy rehearsal or performance day?

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News
Simon Soong, Courtesy DDT

When it comes to dance in the U.S., companies in the South often find themselves overlooked—sometimes even by the presenters in their own backyard. That's where South Arts comes in. This year, the regional nonprofit launched Momentum, an initiative that will provide professional development, mentorship, touring grants and residencies to five Southern dance companies.

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