sdp: successful fundraiser made interesting by girvin and simple measures

Seattle Dance Project raised approximately $10,500 last Sunday at its first-ever fundraiser. About 100 people (including former PNB artistic co-directors Francia Russell and Kent Stowell) slipped out of the sunshine, into the Ruins, paying $100+ to support this company founded in 2007 by former PNB dancers Julie Tobiason and Timothy Lynch.

Timothy Lynch, Tim Girvin, Julie Tobiason (photo by Deanna Carroll)
I haven’t seen the company’s financial figures, but their performance figures are impressive: 33 performances in the past two years! Works by 10 different choreographers! And one fun-if-gossipy number: three of their dancers are currently pregnant. Congratulations!

Seattle Dance Project’s third season starts in November, with a collaboration between choreographers James Canfield and Betsey Cooper, and Simple Measures.

Those at the fundraiser got a chance to hear from two members of Simple Measures. It became clear immediately why Seattle Dance Project would want to collaborate with this chamber music ensemble. It’s more than the fact that

Members of Simple Measures, Rajan Krishnaswami and Mark Salman
(photo by Deanna Carroll, Girvin Project Manager & Staff Photographer)

their bring-good-art-to-the-people missions alignswith Seattle Dance Project’s. Watching these musicians, I was struck by how the music inhabits their bodies. They dance their way through the playing. They don’t swoon or pounce in cartoon fashion, but you can see the emotion in the set of their shoulders, in the curve of their arm, in the movement of the bow, in the stretch of their fingers. The funniest moment: during a Chopin Polonaise, the pianist, a tall man in a muted blue shirt, gave a happy little hitch of his shoulders and for a split second I had the impression of light pink party lace falling over a flirty shoulder. The power of music…the power of dance.

Tim Girvin (photo by Dawn Clark)
There was business-related keynote speech at this fundraiser. Designer Tim Girvin spoke on “The Dance of Life—Exploring the Human Brand: Creativity, Dance, Business & You.”

The best way I can describe Girvin’s speech is to call it a poetic pep talk for your brain and your heart, a kind of meditation that jostles loose myriad ideas for your private life and your business life.

I can imagine the looks when this creative man who “lives in a poetic, metaphoric place” initially addresses numbers-based corporate folks…but I don’t have to imagine the results because I’ve seen some of them on his website. Girvin has done interesting work: movie titles (for example, The Matrix!!), naming, identity, packaging, strategy, the list goes on… He even did the script for PNB’s Nutcracker. I love seeing proof that metaphoric thought and creativity can help corporations succeed.

Girvin started off his talk with what was for me the highlight of the fundraiser. It was better, even, than…did you ever spend time with your nose pressed against the glass, watching a cake decorator at work? It was better than that. It’s two of my favorite things together: dancing and writing. Or, dance-writing. As I understand it, it’s something he played around with in the ’70s. Here it is, filmed by Dawn Clark.

If I can ask for one thing it is this: to find the heart of the story—the moment of surprise that is unforgettable.

I was sad to slip out early, as I missed pianist Victor Janusz’s performance. But waiting to say goodbye in the hallway was the following…a little nudging reminder to buy a piece of frosted cake and attend one of Seattle Dance Project’s performances in November.

photo by Deanna Carroll,Girvin Project Manager & Staff Photographer

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