An annual staple in the city, the Seattle International Dance Festival brings together dancers and choreographers from around the globe for a three week festival. Presented at Raisbeck Hall on June 18, the second weekend of the festival’s Inter|National Showcase featured choreography from both local and far flung dancemakers. The evening opened with See & Be Seen, by Sam Picart in collaboration with Cheryl Delostrinos; both are Seattle dancers and choreographers. Showcasing six dancers—all students from the Threshold Institute, a week long intensive organized by SIDF—the piece was full of detailed isolations and hip-hop style movements. It served as a reminder that SIDF is not just performances in a theater, but also an opportunity for local dancers to grow. It was especially nice to start the performance with local up-and-coming talent.
Deborah Wolf, a current faculty member at Cornish College of the Arts, offered two works, Three-Piece and Quake. The former, a trio, had a clear balletic influence in its grounded and circular movements. There was a sense of a home base throughout the piece, with the dancers consistently returning to stage left to regroup as individuals and as a whole. The three dancers—Jessica Klein, Sean Rosado, and Sean Tomerlin—all fully embodied the choreography with strength and control, even when the movement became more frantic. With ten dancers, Quake gave a different perspective on Wolf’s work. Though the choreography often referenced itself and featured ballet-inspired movements like in Three-Piece, Quake took a literal and straightforward approach. The costumes, black tops and white and grey leggings, blended in with the white marley floor, obscuring the dancers’ strong technique. While the continuous energy of the piece became monotonous at times, it had a clear build to a finale and made a satisfying end to the evening.
The highlight of the evening came from Lithuania’s Aura Dance Theatre in GODOS, a two-part experience sandwiched between Wolf’s two works. GODOS comprised of choreography from Anna Ekenes and Pia Holden of Norway’s Panta Rei Dance Theatre, and Brute Letukatie, founder and artistic director of Aura Dance Theatre. Part one from Ekenes and Holden began with brightly colored felted leaves arranged in six small piles across the stage, illuminated by spotlights. The five female dancers began upstage, then walked forward with a commanding presence that set the tone for the rest of their performance. Composed of gestural and full body movement, part one was a showcase of strength and grace. The five dancers expertly moved through different shapes and patterns that created kinetic a visual experience across the whole stage. Microphones and spoken word were added towards the end of the piece;integrated seamlessly into the work theyaddedfurther depth to an already beautifully layered piece. Letukatie’s work had a quirkier aspect to it, with bird-like movements and patterns projected behind and on the dancers. While it was stylistically different from part one, part two of GODOS showed the strength and precision of these dancers across a variety of movement, and nicely complemented the more serious nature of part one. -Hailey Burt
Seattle International Dance Festival ran June 10-25, 2016. Information about future performances and workshops can be found on their website: www.seattleidf.org