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Preview: BOOST dance festival 2012

Written by Kristen Legg

Marlo Martin’s company badmarmar dance in rehearsal for BOOST
Photo by Joseph Lambert
Marlo Martin is a lot of things: a teacher, a choreographer, a mother, a studio owner, an innovator, a friend to all. While continuing to be those things and more, for the next two weekends she will also be wearing the hat she dons each March—producer—as she opens her third year of the BOOST dance festival. The line-up this year includes works by Iyun Harrison, Kate Wallich, Catherine Cabeen, Maya Soto and Anne Motl, Kristen Legg, Markeith Wiley and Callie Swedberg, Eric Aguilar, Tori McConnell and Kenaniah Bystrom, and, of course, the ever talented Martin herself. There will also be works by San Francisco-based artists Elizabeth Chitty and Suzanne Myre of Project Tremolo, and Jeanette Male.

SeattleDances sat down with Martin to talk about the festival and what it means to the dance community, the general public, and to her.

SD:What are the goals of the festival? Do you have any personal goals not listed on the website?

MM: I want BOOST to achieve three main goals for the artists involved. One, the festival should help in the development of young (not in age, but in experience) artists by putting them together with veteran artists so that each can influence the other. Two, BOOST is designed to add diversity to the Seattledance community. Three, BOOST is dedicated to acting as a mentor, supporter, and/or guide for all artists that are a part of the festival by offering thorough feedback, rehearsal space, a supportive theater experience, and, most importantly, organization and respect. It is not on the website, but I really want BOOST to dedicate itself to presenting dance-based works. I see BOOST becoming the “mover’s” festival, showcasing physical and risk-taking works.

SD: How have past years exceeded your expectations?

MM: I was blown away the first year by the openness of all the artists. The support from the community was wonderful, and I feel like we really followed through on all of our goals. Year two was a big change because we doubled in size and added master classes. Even though we work so hard to get the word out and offer a dynamic and intriguing line-up of artists, I don’t think any producer lacks nerves about selling those seats! We sold out again! It was fantastic energy the whole way through.

Redd Legg Dance in rehearsal for BOOST
Photo by Joseph Lambert

SD: What are you most excited about for BOOST 2012?

MM: I am most excited about the artists that we have the pleasure of presenting and the works that they have created for BOOST. It is going to be a jaw-dropping show, I just know it—like I know that the earth is beneath my feet, I just know. The audience is in for such a special night.

SD:You mention in the press release that “a common thread is emerging this year, and it is looking like [the festival] will be centered on the pure athleticism, stamina, and technique needed in dance.” Do you think the selected panel members this year lean toward that aesthetic, or is it just a trend in local dance right now?

MM: The 2012 artists unknowingly have a common thread indeed, visceral, thick, intentional, and courageous movement. I don’t think the panel members intentionally chose the artists for that reason, it just happened that way.

SD: At BOOST 2012 you have incorporated a Guest Artist Series, featuring a different out-of-town artist each week. A large part of BOOST is getting Seattle artists connected to one another and bringing Seattle’s many smaller dance scenes together. How will having non-local dancers in the show affect this dynamic? Do you see it building bridges between San Francisco and Seattle(since both artists happen to be from San Fran this year)?

MM: You are right. BOOST does focus on the development of local artists, but we believe that development would eventually be stifled if no new, outside force existed. Guest Artists push our boundaries; they are here to influence us (and vice versa). Sometimes it is all about who you know; artists want to tour their work, but first they need a connection. And, yes, San Fran seems like the perfect fit!

SD: This year there are seven master classes being offered through the festival at a discounted rate. It’s extremely accessible to dancers. Any top picks?

MM: They are all amazing, and even more exciting is the range of styles and techniques that will be offered. I think it is such a great opportunity for dancers to take class from the same artists that are currently producing work in Seattle. It serves as another way to bridge the gap between new choreographers and dancers.

BOOST choreographer Iyun Harrison, director of Ashani Dances
Photo by Khalil Goodman

SD:BOOST dance festival is one of the only application-based events in the area that gives feedback to all applicants. Why is this important to you?

MM: We give feedback because it is one of the only ways for artists to learn how to improve their application/proposal/work sample. Otherwise artists would keep hitting their heads against the wall without knowing why. And, it would be a shame to have these amazing panel members read through the applications and not offer anything back.

SD:What can the general public, the dance performance virgin say, get from BOOST 2012 that they can’t get from other shows?

MM: I think they can rest assured that the show is diverse, and I like to believe that we have put together a lineup that will offer something for everyone. We will welcome you to the festival, we will celebrate your presence and support, and we will seek your feedback so that we can continue to grow and become bigger and better with each year.

SD:How are pre-sales going?

MM: Steady. We usually see a huge increase the week of the show. Last year we sold out two of the four nights before opening the doors. We are crossing our fingers that we will see another year of packed houses.

You can get your tickets ahead of time for both weekends of the 2012 BOOST dance festival through Brown Paper Tickets at BOOST runs March 16–17 and 23–24, 2012 at the Erickson Theatre. More information about the BOOST Master Class Series can be found at