dance

Spectrum Dance Theater unveils a new "Carmina Burana" dance performance this month by its artistic director Donald Byrd.
Courtesy Spectrum Dance Theater

You may not know it by name, but you've likely heard Carl Orff's 1937 cantata, "Carmina Burana."

Chorale groups present it, commercials and films use it in soundtracks, and choreographers make dances to it. 

This spring, two Seattle dance companies will present works set to "Carmina Burana."

Reinier Valdes, owner of the dance studio La Clave Cubana.
Courtesy of Reinier Valdes

Jeannie Yandel speaks with Reinier Valdes, owner of the dance studio La Clave Cubana, about his effort to bring Cuban dance to Seattle.

Edna Daigre, center, teaches a class for older dancers in Seattle's Central Area.
KUOW Photo/Marcie Sillman

Doris Tunney doesn’t even pretend to be offended when you ask how old she is.

“I’m 86,” she says proudly. “I’ll be 87 on March 26.”

Tunney is petite, with cinnamon brown skin, short, curly white hair and perfect posture. Dressed in denim capris and a long-sleeved cotton shirt, this octogenarian is ready to dance.

photo by Teri Pieper

When you think about a dance performance, you may envision something grand and expansive, like “Nutcracker.” Or maybe a sparkly ballroom competition comes to mind, something akin to “Dancing With the Stars.”

Whatever the dance style, these performances are about bodies moving in space. In this case, big spaces.

photo courtesy Pacific Northwest Ballet

When Kent Stowell and his wife, Francia Russell, took over artistic leadership at Pacific Northwest Ballet more than 30 years ago they wanted to build the tiny regional dance company into a national ballet powerhouse. To help them reach that goal, they decided to create a signature holiday production at PNB, a ballet that would distinguish them from all the other American ballet companies.

The logical choice was a new adaptation of "Nutcracker," the story of a young girl who's given a nutcracker doll that magically comes to life. Different versions of this Christmas story are performed across the country.

Courtesy On the Boards

Amy O’Neal is a formally trained white dancer who feels more at home with hip-hop culture and movement than with she does with Western European contemporary art.

Flickr Photo/Balletstar011 (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with former New York City ballerina Jenifer Ringer about her new book, "Dancing Through It: My Journey In The Ballet."

Velocity Dance Center/Jacob Rosen

When you ask Seattle dance insiders which young artists they've got their eyes on, 24-year-old Kate Wallich's name almost always rises to the top of the list.

Courtesy of Bamberg Fine Art

Olivier Wevers remembers the first time he took a dance class; It ended badly. Wevers' mother found her very young son crying at the side of the dance studio.

"They gave me tights to wear," Wevers said. "I wanted a tutu."

Seattle Times Photo/Erika Schultz

It's a sunny Sunday afternoon, the kind of late autumn day made for raking leaves, or watching the Seahawks annihilate yet another challenger.

Pacific Northwest Ballet Photo/Lindsay Thomas

Pacific Northwest Ballet's Studio C is a big rehearsal hall, with the same dimensions as the stage at nearby McCaw Hall where PNB performs. Despite its size, on this afternoon the room feels packed to the gills.

From DASSdance's Facebook page.

Artists are inspired by all sorts of things: a song, an image or a story they want to tell. Choreographer Daniel Wilkins and his company, DASSdance, will premier a new work this weekend, “Tale of Ten Green.”

It springs from the story of the Awa people, an indigenous tribe that lives in Brazil’s Amazon River basin. The Awa haven’t had significant contact with the outside world until recently, and according to Wilkins, the experience has been both violent and exploitative.

“Tale of Ten Green” premiers Friday evening at Seattle’s Washington Hall. 

Francia Russell hasn't performed in 50 years, but she says as soon as she hears the music for George Balanchine's Concerto Barocco, her body starts to move: "I could do it in my sleep, you know, get up and sleepwalk and do it."

Bettina Hansen/The Seattle Times

If Seattle’s dance community had a mayor, it might be Tonya Lockyer. As executive artistic director of Velocity Dance Center, Lockyer oversees a busy hub of classes, performances, lectures, and even potluck dinners. Professional dancers mingle with aspiring amateurs and visiting artists check in at Velocity to learn more about the city’s dance scene. Velocity is busy seven days a week, and you’ll often find Lockyer at her desk, taking in the activity and plotting to create more.

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