Alright, so when Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings roll around, maybe going to a dance performance isn’t the first activity that pops into our heads. However, this weekend with the 2nd annual VelocityDC Dance Festival at the Shakespeare Theater, it should be.
The premise of the festival is simple: showcase the amazing, often unknown, talents within the local DC dance community and make the performance accessible to everyone in DC by pricing tickets at an affordable price ($18). Peter DiMuro of Dance/MetroDC and festival organizer credits Fall for Dance as the inspiration for the festival and hopes that “by showing several companies at once, we show the local area community how great the Dance scene in DC is and hopefully get them out to other performances.”
VelocityDC isn’t your typical, Kennedy Center dance performance with two acts, an intermission and a gray haired, crushed velvet clad, dozing off audience. Instead, each of the groups/individuals performing will showcase a 10-15 minute pieces that, according to The Washington Ballet’s Septime Webre, will create “a hip and adventuresome evening,” during which viewers will “see themselves on stage and be taken on a ride.” Because festival performers span the wide spectrum of dance styles and schools, the performance will quickly transition from ballet to hip-hop to flamenco to modern, taking the audience on a dance fusion trip.
As a beginner when it comes to the DC dance, I’ve researched some of the schedule performers online and I’m particularly excited to catch the street dance performance by Urban Artistry, because we’ve all likely seen this dance style on the street, in a club or perhaps in a movie, seeing this form of dance on stage should engaging and thrilling. Furia Flamenca should also be exciting as the passion and heat this dance form transfers from the dancers to the audience is intense. With the combination of movement, music, imagery, and the spoken word, the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange performance also looks promising. And I’m super looking forward to seeing The Washington Ballet’s performance set to the alternative, fun and playful music of Beck.
There will also be two alternating night dance performance art pieces taking place 30 minutes prior to the show in the lobby of the Shakespeare Theater’s Sidney Harmon Hall. South African born Andile Ndlovu will perform a piece co-choreographed with Mr. Webre, and Jane Franklin Dance will perform Incidence. Both will be worth showing up early for.
Ultimately, given the high caliber of dance troupes and individuals chosen for this festival, you can’t really go wrong. And for a mere $18, you can experience the best the Washington DC dance scene has to offer.