Velocity Dance Center will present its 22nd Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation July 26–Aug. 3 with two of the country’s most daring—and masterful—improvisers: Ralph Lemon and Jennifer Monson. And there’s another way that Velocity is showing its boldness: This will be the first carbon-neutral dance festival ever. So…what does that mean?

Eric Beauchesne, photo by Tim Summers

The person who best explains it is Eric Beauchesne, one of   Kidd Pivot’s terrific dancers. Having grown up hunting and fishing, Eric is passionate about making the dance field ecologically responsible. And he has the wit—and stamina—to convince us. It’s kind of fun and a bit alarming to watch his 11-minute lecture on the subject. He jumps in first position for an unnerving amount of time, admitting every dancer’s wish to fly. While getting exhausted, he tells us of his epiphany about how all the traveling he does as a performer releases tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. In striving for sustainability, he came up with this idea of offsetting the damage done, which often involves buying an equal amount of renewable energy.

When Beauchesne gave this brilliantly bounding lecture at SFDI last year, Velocity decided to take up the challenge. This year they have pledged to offset all the greenhouse gas emissions involved in making SFDI happen.

Jennifer Monson, photo by Yi-CHun Wu

Seattle is the right city to try this in. It's one of the few large cities that has already lowered it greenhouse emissions. And this is the right dance faculty to kick off SDDI's pledge. Jennifer Monson has long been dedicated to the environment while developing her amazing approach to improvisation. “My hope in doing this,” says Velocity artistic director Tonya Lockyer, “is to increase awareness as well as reduce our footprint.”

To register for the festival, click here. And while you’re at it, check out the Strictly Seattle Festival, with local all-stars like Pat Graney, Zoe Scofield, and KT Niehoff right before SFDI on July 24 and 25.


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Clockwise from top left: Photo by Loreto Jamlig, Courtesy Ladies of Hip-Hop; Wikimedia Commons; Photo by Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy Pennsylvania Ballet; Natasha Razina, Courtesy State Academic Mariinsky Theatre; Photo by Will Mayer for Better Half Productions, Courtesy ABT

The 10 Biggest Dance Stories of 2019

What were the dance moments that defined 2019? The stories that kept us talking, week after week? According to our top-clicked articles of the year, they ranged from explorations of dance medicine and dance history, takedowns of Lara Spencer and companies who still charge dancers to audition, and, of course, our list of expert tips on how to succeed in dance today.

We compiled our 10 biggest hits of the year, and broke down why we think they struck a chord:

Christopher Duggan, Courtesy Nichols

I Am a Black Dancer Who Was Dressed Up in Blackface to Perform in La Bayadère

On Instagram this week, Misty Copeland reposted a picture of two Russian ballerinas covered head to toe in black, exposing the Bolshoi's practice of using blackface in the classical ballet La Bayadère. The post has already received over 60,000 likes and 2,000 comments, starting a long overdue conversation.

Comments have been pouring in from every angle imaginable: from history lessons on black face, to people outside of the ballet world expressing disbelief that this happens in 2019, to castigations of Copeland for exposing these young girls to the line of fire for what is ultimately the Bolshoi's costuming choice, to the accusations that the girls—no matter their cultural competence—should have known better.

I am a black dancer, and in 2003, when I was 11 years old, I was dressed up in blackface to perform in the Mariinsky Ballet's production of La Bayadère.


Here's the First Trailer for the "In the Heights" Movie

Lights up on Washington Heights—because the trailer for the movie adaptation of the hit Broadway musical In the Heights has arrived. It's our first look into Lin-Manuel Miranda's latest venture into film—because LMM isn't stopping at three Tony awards, a Grammy award, and an Emmy.

Enter Our Video Contest