Velocity Dance Center Programs
Creation and Presentation of New Dance Works
Velocity gives local choreographers the resources they need to create and perform original compositions. We present these new works in our 100-seat Founders Theater, Seattle's only performance venue dedicated solely to contemporary dance. Annually, Velocity commissions and presents at least 15 new dance works through its programs, for example Next Fest NW and The Bridge Project. Next Fest NW presents new works by upcoming and established choreographers and dance filmmakers. The Bridge Project is a challenge program that pairs up to 4 choreographers with dancers in a 3-week residency to create a brand-new piece. Since 1996 Velocity commissioned over 135 new dance works by established and emerging choreographers and more than 20 artists who presented their work at Velocity first were subsequently presented at major venues in New York City, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Canada, Mexico, and Europe.
As the most accessible dance organization serving Puget Sound, Velocity is proud to provide entry points to dance for adult beginners as well as career-furthering opportunities to professional performers and choreographers. Every week, we offer more than 38 quality movement education classes to adult dancers at every level - from beginners through the professional level, teens through the Golden Age generation - in a broad range of movement styles. Velocity is the only dance center in the region offering all interested dancers chances to participate in professionally produced public performances. For example through the nationally renowned 3-week Strictly Seattle Summer Dance Intensive (with training programs for adult beginners through professional dancers), international Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation, and special workshops and master classes with nationally and internationally recognized guest artists.
Low Cost Space
Velocity manages some of the most affordable rehearsal and performance space for dance in the city of Seattle. This is an essential resource for more than 100 local choreographers and performance groups that rent Velocity's studios and theater for rehearsals and independently produced performances. Annually, Velocity donates more than 1,000 hours of free rehearsal space to local artists, for example through Velocity’s Artist in Residence program.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Velocity is entering a dynamic new era, after completing its third and final year of a 750,000 capital campaign, which was launched after the organization’s 13-year space in the Odd Fellows building was sold to a developer. In 2011, revitalized under the visionary leadership of new Executive Director Tonya Lockyer, Velocity commissioned 13 and presented 83 new dance works, hosted guest artists from New York City, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and Los Angeles and launched its new humanities program, The Speakeasy Series. Since Ms. Lockyer’s tenure all 10 Velocity produced performances have sold out.
The Speakeasy Series, an artist-curated series of panel discussions, show + tells, performance lectures, and/or other formats that focus an provocative issues of interest to the dance and performance community. Since its launch for a sold-out house as part of the 2011 CityArts Fest, this new program has brought vital information about health care for artists to the Seattle community, initiated cross-disciplinary dialogue, and promoted meaningful links between artists and the community.
Velocity also acquired the annual Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation (SFDI) from partner organization Dance Art Group. Over the past 18 years, SFDI has become one of the world’s leading festivals of dance improvisation. It brings to Seattle many of the world’s leading dance innovators and plays an essential part in gaining and maintaining Seattle’s reputation as a hotbed for the study and appreciation of dance.
Velocity's facility and Founders Theater are heavily used. To continue serving as the only theater dedicated to contemporary dance in Seattle and stay current with technology, Velocity needs to invest in external and internal signage, improved theater seating, as well as new technical and lighting equipment.