Whether you’re filled with FOMO (Fear-Of-Missing-Out) from unseen performances, or longing to see favorite works revived, or simply wishing to celebrate all that is Seattle dance, Velocity’s annual Fall Kick Off weekend has something to offer everyone. Set ablaze by the Seattle Dance City Dance-A-Thon fundraiser on Friday night, the rest of the weekend’s performances had all the support and energy needed to usher in another incredible year of dance making in Seattle. Calling dance makers from all over the city, producing in all different venues and programs, artists from every corner of Seattle came together to celebrate what’s been done and preview what’s to come for the new season.
For Saturday night’s performance, the night featured work from seasoned Seattle choreographers as well as more recently transplanted artists. Each piece had a unique element to offer, whether through unusual costumes or multimedia accompaniment. The night opens with an excerpt from Giselle Deconstruct, by The Three Yells. A duet emerges from backstage wearing giant, slinky-like structures over their heads. Company director and choreographer Veronica Lee-Baik and dancer Amy Ross move through the space in fluid, eery circles. Dancer Corina Dalzell creates what looks like a heart monitor line out of red post-its on the back wall, a durational dance behind a dance. Guiding them with their arms, Lee-Baik and Ross’ small rotations within the body extend past themselves and the space. Sharp, breath-cued unison shapes punctuate the orbital pathways.
Cotton candy hues identify an excerpt from Bitter Suites, which premiered at the Yaw theater in March. Directed and choreographed by Rainbow Fletcher, HYPERNOVA Contemporary Dance Company presents high energy, quirky movement in the form of two duets. The excerpt opens with two men, the interaction between them suggesting brotherhood, bullying, or possibly both at play. Dancer Randy Phillips practically pushes Ezra Dickinson across stage with his voice as he yells, “WHAAAAAAT’S. YOOOOOOUR. DAMAAAAAAGE!” Pop culture references and white sneakers offer a throwback to youth, and how it translates to our spirits today. The second duet, Jess Klein and Drew Santoro, features bouncy choreography and short skirts with flirty movement. With equal parts athleticism and innocence, the women become teenagers before our eyes. An air of rebellion encapsulates Santoro’s powerful exit; she charges through the two men, exits stage, and slams the door behind her.
Choreographer Elby Brosch dances with Shane Donohue in Implied Forever. They take turns saying Elby’s name sweetly into a wrist, under an armpit, behind a shoulder. With tender and delicate hesitation, they gently seek out “Elby” in the nooks and crannies of their own bodies. They abandon this search and embark on an experiment of what it would be like to be different dance artists in the community. Looking the audience dead on, they matter-of-factly state, “I want to be Matt Drews”, and later, “I want to be Jody”. Imitative movement scores follow. For those familiar with the dance community, these unashamed statements of desire elicit genuine laughter. At first comical, the piece comes right out and addresses personal insecurity, and the need of approval and love from others. Implied Forever begs the question of how to get to a place where the only person we want to be is ourselves?
The show closes with an excerpt from Really, it’s this. Choreographed by Ella Mahler, the piece premiered in NW New Works in June and is the third installment of a series. Two dancers, Jenna Eady and Anna Krupp, explore the concept of “this”—whether that means exploring all the possible movements of the head, the arrangements of two chairs, or entertaining the idea of how switching shirts would change their experience, the duet takes on each exploration with masterful commitment and curiosity. The piece is a launching point for a greatly anticipated evening length work from Mahler.
Another year passes in Seattle and in a way, the annual Fall Kick Off is akin to a New Year’s celebration in the arts world. Our vibrant dance community is ready for what’s to come in this new season of dance, and we can be sure from the looks of what’s been made that it will not disappoint.
Velocity’s Fall Kick Off 2017 was performed at Velocity Dance Center on September 16-17, 2017. More info can be found here.