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Seattle Dance Collective announces innovative new works project for free online broadcast July 2-30, 2020

by Elizabeth Dougherty
July 1, 2020
Seattle, WA
The five-week series to include premieres of newly commissioned works, behind-the-scenes videos and live-streaming classes
Seattle Dance Collective (SDC), under the direction of Pacific Northwest Ballet Principal Dancers Noelani Pantastico and James Yoichi Moore, presents five new works - all conceived and produced under the constraints of social distancing. Continuum: Bridging the Distance, will be broadcast digitally over the course of five weeks, beginning with the world premiere of Penny Saunders’ Home on July 2, 2020.

Forced to cancel their second season of live performances, SDC Founders and Artistic Directors Pantastico and Moore embarked on a re-imagination of how to carry out their vision for the company by finding unconventional ways to foster collaboration between choreographers and dancers. The resulting five creations were choreographed and rehearsed via video call, and then filmed for digital release. Dancers involved in the same piece had been sheltering-in-place together, and if not, they were filmed separately to maintain safe social distance from each other.

“Rather than share pre-recorded content, we wanted our project to serve as a time stamp to reflect this unprecedented and disconcerting period we find ourselves in,” said Pantastico. “Although we gave the choreographers the freedom to create anything they wanted, many of the pieces clearly echo the emotional struggles that everyone is dealing with during this strange time of isolation.”

“Not only are we coping with the effects of a global pandemic, but we are also facing profound grief and outrage over racial injustice in our society,” Moore added. “People need art now more than ever, and it is our responsibility to put it out there. With the absence of live performance, we are grateful to have been able to offer much-needed jobs to our colleagues, and perhaps more importantly, to have provided a pathway for all of us to continue exploring our craft in the face of so many obstacles. Providing the community with an artistic reflection of life’s challenges is how we believe dancers can contribute best.”

Continuum: Bridging the Distance includes five works of art performed by members of Seattle Dance Collective and filmed by Seattle-based filmmaker Henry Wurtz. Each piece is under seven minutes in length and includes locations ranging from an empty rooftop bar to a waterfront wooden pier. In addition to the weekly premieres, each piece will be accompanied by a behind-the-scenes video documenting the challenges faced and discoveries made during this uncharted creative process. SDC will also be offering online classes throughout the series, taught by artists involved in each week’s released new work. All project broadcasts and classes will be free to the public.

For more information, please visit seattledancecollective.org.

Filmed by Henry Wurtz

A new work will premiere on the Seattle Dance Collective website every Thursday from July 2-30 (the following order is subject to change).

Home by Penny Saunders
Dancers: Elle Macy and Dylan Wald
Music: Michael Wall

Drawing inspiration from audio recordings of the dancers, Elle Macy and Dylan Wald, this vignette celebrates the pure delight two individuals can find in the world when they view it through the lens of love.

Musings by Amanda Morgan (in collaboration with Nia-Amina Minor)
Dancers: Nia-Amina Minor and Amanda Morgan
Music: Hannah Mayree, plus outdoor sound recordings and interviews with multigenerational Black women.

This piece speaks to the lack of spatial justice for Black and Brown individuals, especially during these times, and seeks to serve as an expression of hope that people will continue to think about their Black and Brown communities, and speak up for them looking ahead to the future.

The Only Thing You See Now by SeaPertls
Dancers: Miles Pertl and Leah Terada?€?
Music: Original composition by Jason Webley

A duet set against the backdrop of the Seattle waterfront. Staying afloat, making waves.

A Headlamp or Two by Beth Terwilleger
Dancers: Stephan Bourgond and Lucien Postlewaite
Music: Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata

Sometimes finding absurdity and humor while dealing with excruciating emotional pain is the only way to cope. Sometimes one needs to find laughter in order to be able to find a path to emotional healing. And sometimes a good headlamp is all one needs.

The Space Between Us by Bruno Roque
Dancers: Noelani Pantastico and James Yoichi Moore
Music: Alexander Hoeppner’s Pulsating (alternative version)

Whether six feet apart, or thousands of miles through a satellite and fiber optic entanglement, the current distance between us is taking its toll. Beyond the absence of touch, we also miss out on non-verbal cues - when someone’s fidgety while talking, or inhaling quickly in preparation to interrupt. All that richness has been impaired. But hopefully soon, we will return to that bounty of social, physical interaction, and eliminate this space between us.

About Seattle Dance Collective

Seattle Dance Collective is dedicated to nurturing collaboration between dancers and choreographers, and introducing audiences to transformative programs of artistic excellence. SDC was founded in 2019 by Noelani Pantastico and James Yoichi Moore and made its debut that summer with four sold-out performances at Vashon Center for the Arts.

For more information, visit the SDC website at seattledancecollective.org, or follow SDC on Instagram @Seattle_Dance_Collective, Facebook @seattledancecollective and Twitter @sdc_seattle.

Note to Editor: Photos of artists and select pieces are available upon request. Please contact Elizabeth Dougherty by email at elizabeth@seattledancecollective.org or by phone at 206-214-6360.
Elle Macy and Dylan Wald in Penny Saunders' 'Home'.

Elle Macy and Dylan Wald in Penny Saunders' "Home".

Photo © & courtesy of Henry Wurtz

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