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Seattle’s Summer Dance Workshop Guide

Written by Mariko Nagashima
Strictly Seattle 2011
Photo by Tim Summers
Summer is a great time to be a dancer. With workshops and intensives happening all across the country, dancers have the chance to concentrate large amounts of dancing into a short periods of time, allowing amazing opportunities for artistic growth. Seattle’s dance scene is no exception. There are workshops for every level in every style with performance opportunities and chances to learn repertoire from local companies. Check out our compendium of summer dance in Seattle.

Mind and Body: A Dance Immersion Experience: June 21–24

Hosted by Seattle Dance Project, “Mind and Body” is a 4-day experience geared toward adult dancers with at least 3 years of training. Taught by SDP principals and seasoned teachers Alexandra Dickson and Betsy Cooper, the program aims to create a nurturing environment for people to explore their passion for dance while focusing on the dancer as a whole person, integrating both mind and body. “We’re all so busy, I want to help people find time to do what they love without having to explain,” says Dickinson. “It will be a place where people feel accepted and encouraged and enriched.” The schedule consists of ballet, modern, Pilates, yoga for dancers, discussions on dance longevity, and Seattle Dance Project repertoire classes. “Ms. Dickson has such gorgeous artistic qualities and inspires the dancers to find their artistic moments too- and she is intentional about connecting individually with each student,” says one of Dickson’s adult ballet students. Students are able to sign up for the entire workshop or drop in to any of the classes. All classes are held at Dance Fremont. For more information and to register see:
Alexandra Dickson and Betsy Cooper of Seattle Dance Project
in Molissa Fenley’s Planes in Air
Photo by Zebravisual


eXit SPACE Summer Workshops:

The eXitSPACE studios near GreenLakewill have a full line up of regular classes for the summer (see their schedule here: as well as several workshops and master classes.

Modern Partnering/Improvisation: July 29 and August 5

“There’s a lot to be gained from dancing with other people,” says Karen Baskett, the eXitSPACE Assistant Director. “Partnering opens up a whole world of movement possibilities that can’t be created alone.” In this 2-day workshop, students will experience the foundations of partnering and weight sharing. The focus will also be on effectively using improvisation to cultivate strong, confident partnering abilities, as well as developing both partnering and improv skills to better each student’s individual technique.

Rehaballet/Transcendance: June 22–August 17 (Weekly)

This weekly class offers a different approach to ballet, designed for adults. The workshop will include therapeutic ballet class with special topics and guests on nutrition, self massage, and others.

Horton Technique: Dates TBA

Iyun Harrison will also be offering Horton technique classes during the summer. “We are so excited to be able to bring Iyun in!” says Baskett. “He is a wonderful new addition to the Seattle dance community and has so much to offer as a teacher and an artist!”More information about these master classes to come soon.

Velocity DanceCenter Workshops:

Truly Seattle’s hub for contemporary dance, VelocityDanceCenterhas plenty to offer in terms of summer workshops. “Velocity’s summer intensives are the perfect opportunity to learn and share experiences with some of the most highly regarded artists in the field of dance today,” says Executive Director, Tonya Lockyer. “Seattle dance is recognized around the nation as a vital community, supportive of local artists. For the past 15 years, Velocity and its summer programs have been instrumental in making that happen.”

Strictly Seattle: July 9–28

This workshop is an immersion of a different kind, to totally plug dancers into the thriving contemporary dance scene in Seattle. “The Strictly Seattle Dance Intensive is one of the liveliest, community-centered contemporary dance festivals on the West Coast, if not the country,” says Lockyer. Open to complete beginners through working professionals, the dancers study with Seattle-based instructors and create new works performed at the end of the 3-week session. “It provides dancers with the opportunity to spend up to 8 hours a day focusing on their art in a supportive, enriching environment. Many of the dancers are young professionals. While others, without any previous dance experience, have the opportunity to be part of a professional production from start to finish. This year we’ve added creative process classes with SaltHorse and Cherdonna +Lou, lunch time professional development workshops, and weekend feedback sessions for young choreographers facilitated by Zoe Scofield.” “This has been the most beneficial intensive I have ever participated in,” says a Strictly Seattle attendee. “The classes themselves were challenging but the people and students provided an atmosphere in which the challenges became welcoming. I will leave Seattle truly inspired. Dance seems more accessible and I’ve realized that inspiration is a lot closer than I’d ever imagined.” For a complete schedule and to register for Strictly Seattlesee:
Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation: July 29–August 5

A slightly under the radar festival, SFDI (formerly presented by Dance Arts Group) is now being hosted by Velocity for its 19th year. “I think SFDI is one of the best kept secrets in Seattle dance,” says Lockyer. “People have been spiritually transformed by their experiences at SFDI, and it’s recognized as one of the world’s leading festivals of dance improvisation. I’m deeply honored this festival is now a Velocity program.” This year’s program features a roster of locally and nationally renowned innovators in the field of dance improvisation. The festival will include drop in classes, intensives, movement jams, discussions, and performances. For more information see:

SFDI Movement Jam
Photo by Tim Summers
Danielle Agami Residency Program: July 9–August 31

“Gaga,” the movement style developed by Ohad Naharin, has finally made its way from its origin in Israelto the Pacific Northwest. Danielle Agami, a former Batsheva Dance Company member and Producer of GagaUSA, will be teaching open Gaga classes for non-dancers and professionals. A form of exploratory movement research, Gaga raises awareness of physical weaknesses, awakens numb areas, exposes physical fixations, and offers ways for their elimination. Agami will be teaching daily Gaga classes during her summer residency at Velocity. As the culmination, Agami will premiere her company, Ate9, on August 31 with an evening-length work at the Century Ballroom. More information is available at:

Spectrum Dance Theater Workshops

Spectrum will offer two events this summer that are sure to be filled with powerful dancing and lots of great learning opportunities.

Donald Byrd Workshop 2011
Photo by Jennifer Richard
Donald Byrd Workshop: July 9–13

This week-long intensive offers daily technique classes taught by Byrd, followed by several hours of repertory. The workshop emphasizes precision and efficiency of movement in the technique portion and incorporates these skills into Byrd’s characteristically dynamic choreography through the repertoire. The workshop culminates with a company audition on July 14. To find out more and to register see:

Adult Dance Camp: August 20–24

Spectrum will also offer a workshop designed for adults to have fun and try lots of different dance styles. Dancers can choose to participate in full or partial days. Geared toward the beginner and intermediate dancer, the workshop offers classes in ballet, lyrical, tap, Afro-Brazilian, jazz, contemporary, flamenco, and improvisation. For more information see: