Velocity to Celebrate 20th Annual Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation, 7/28-8/4


Velocity celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the Seattle Festival of Improvisation (SFDI) with an all-star faculty line-up, performances by world-class innovators, and daily community events. One of the world's leading festivals of dance and improvisation, SFDI brings together renowned dance artists and teachers to perform, collaborate and share their creative processes. SFDI is a week of intensives, classes, jams, somatic workshops, performances and discussions focused on fostering the study, practice and appreciation of dance improvisation.

INTENSIVES // John Jasperse + Sara Shelton Mann + Chris Aiken + Shelley Senter + Amii LeGendre + Michael Schumacher

CLASSES // Jill Sigman + John Dixon + Heidi Henderson + Andrew Wass + Karen Nelson + Stephanie Skura + Tonya Lockyer + Louis Gervais + Salt Horse + Vanessa DeWolf + Michal Lahav + Eric Nordstrom

REGISTER for the 20th Annual SFDI
JULY 28 - AUG 4, 2013
Velocity 1621 12th Ave on Capitol Hill
206.325.8773 |

TICKETS for Inter/National Innovators in Performance
AUG 1 / 8PM
Broadway Performance Hall 1625 Broadway
206.325.8773 |

SFDI 2013 was curated by the SFDI 2013 Panel: Alia Swersky, Beth Graczyk, Cyrus Khambatta and Tonya Lockyer with generous input from the community.


John Jasperse is known internationally for his innovation and experimentation with movement and choreography. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and received a Bessie Award in recognition of his body of work. He has created works for Baryshnikov's White Oak Project, Batsheva Dance Company, and the Lyon Opera Ballet. His work has been presented by major festivals and presenting organizations in Brazil, Chile, Israel, Japan and throughout the US and Europe.

Sara Shelton Mann and her legendary San Francisco-based company Contraband appeared on stages, in warehouses, abandoned buildings and outdoors from 1979-1996. She collaborated with Guillermo Gomez-Pena until 1999, and currently teaches her complex interdisciplinary performance style and movement vocabulary worldwide.

Chris Aiken is a leading international teacher and performer of dance/contact improvisation. His work has been significantly influenced through the Alexander Technique, Ideokinesis, yoga and the work of Ida Rolf. Chris has performed and collaborated with renowned dance artists Steve Paxton, Kirstie Simson, Nancy Stark Smith, Peter Bingham, Andrew Harwood, Patrick Scully and Angie Hauser.

Shelley Senter, a renowned teacher of the Alexander Technique, has been investigating the application of the principles of the Alexander process to the performing body and mind for nearly two decades. She is a member of Lower Left artist collective and a repetiteur of the seminal works of Trisha Brown and Yvonne Rainer, which she stages internationally.

Michael Schumacher has been a member of Ballet Frankfurt, Twyla Tharp Dance, Feld Ballet, Pretty Ugly Dance Company, and Katie Duck's Magpie Music Dance Company. Working as dancer, choreographer, and teacher, Schumacher has developed a unique approach to the discipline of improvisation. He resides in Amsterdam and conducts workshops in movement analysis and improvisation worldwide.

Amii LeGendre currently teaches dance at Bard College, NY after years of living and making performance in Seattle. Over the last 20 years, she has developed contact improvisation teaching material within a larger contemporary performance practice with an eye toward activism. She teaches dance to incarcerated men, opera singers, college students, colleagues, children and humans at large.

Vanessa DeWolf is an improviser, writer, and performance artist committed to autonomous and rigorous creativity. She runs Seattle's Studio Current, a season of artists in residence, and PROJECT: Space Available, which she co-curates with Mônica Mata Gillam. She is committed to aesthetic articulation, and the sharing of creative process, practice and works-in-progress.

John Dixon has been exploring the nature of improvisational activity and awareness since 1985. He has performed nationally and internationally with Kei Takei's Moving Earth, Stephanie Skura's Cranky Destroyers, and the Seattle based dance-theater company 33 Fainting Spells, among others. His ongoing interests in contemplative action and perceptual flux have led him to work with many inspiring artists over the years, including Karen Nelson, Lisa Nelson, Stephanie Skura, Stuart Dempster, Nina Martin and Sheri Cohen.

Louis Gervais, former Marie Chouinard company member, has been exploring the intersection of improvisation, intimacy and spirituality for more than 20 years. His explorations have led to numerous course offerings such as: Chakra Balancing, Dancing Energy Systems and Men in Contact. With a focus in somatic studies, Louis received his MFA in dance from the University of Washington in 2009.

Heidi Henderson has danced with Bebe Miller, Nina Wiener, Paula Josa-Jones, Colleen Thomas, Peter Schmitz and Sondra Loring. She lives in Rhode Island and makes work for her company elephant JANE dance. Heidi is a contributing editor at Contact Quarterly and she teaches regularly at the Bates Dance Festival. She serves on the faculty of Connecticut College.

Michal Lahav has taught numerous workshops at dance institutes and festivals around the Pacific Northwest, including Seattle University, Louis and Clark College, and SANCA Circus Arts School since 1998. She also organizes the annual Orcas Island Jam. Michal integrates studies of yoga and dance with a curiosity for movement, human behavior and a great lust for everyday life.

Tonya Lockyer is an acclaimed performer who has taught and performed internationally. She is on the faculty of Cornish College of the Arts and is Executive Director of Velocity Dance Center.

Eric Nordstrom is a dedicated performer, teacher and filmmaker. His performances include a full evening improvisation with Karen Nelson and creating a dance on film with Ann Cooper Albright. He has taught at colleges and universities including the Ohio State University, where he earned a Master of Fine Arts. Recent dance on film works by Eric can be viewed online at

Karen Nelson offers what she has passionately studied, taught, practiced, developed and performed for over 35 years including Material for the Spine, Contact Improvisation by Steve Paxton, Tuning Scores by Lisa Nelson and awareness. She is currently based on Vashon Island and studying with Russell Delman in his work Embodied Life, which draws from Feldenkrais, Zen meditation and guided inquiry.

Salt Horse is a Seattle-based dance/sound company created by dancers Beth Graczyk and Corrie Befort and musician Angelina Baldoz, known for creating visually rich, sensation-based works that illuminate the quiet, unseen, or hidden aspects of nature and the human experience. Company rigorously merge improvisation and composition to create arresting narratives that weave between the literal and the abstract.

Jill Sigman is Artistic Director of jill sigman/thinkdance, founded in 1998, the same year she received her Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University. Sigman is based in NYC and was a Fellow at the Center for Creative Research (NYU) and a Visiting Artist at Wesleyan University (2012). She is currently at work on The Hut Project, an exploration of issues around waste, sustainability, and real estate through the creation of a series of site-specific structures.

Stephanie Skura, "reliably irreverent" Bessie award-winner, is a choreographer, director, performer, mentor, teacher, teacher-trainer, writer, and innovator. She has toured professionally for three decades in 13 countries & 30 states. Her involvement with permaculture & naturopathy supports a dedication to catalyzing creative process in a holistic & collaborative way. She holds a BFA & MFA in Dance from NYU Tisch & directs Open Source Forms Teacher Certification Program.

Andrew Wass graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a degree in Biochemistry in 1997 and replaced the lab with the studio. His performances have been shown in San Diego, LA, San Francisco, Marfa, Tijuana, and New York. He has taught at festivals and universities in Japan, Germany and the United States and is currently completing his MA in Solo / Dance / Authorship at the Hochschulübergreifendes Zentrum für Tanz in Berlin.,,

Pictured: Chris Aiken, photo by Chris Randle.