BRATTLEBORO -- From little kids to college students to baby boomers more and more people are interested in dance. This hype has helped draw attention to dance programs at colleges and universities across the country. Brattleboro hopes to boost economic development and morale following the devastating effects of 2011's Tropical Storm Irene by bringing back for a second year in a row, a major dance festival -- The Second Annual Southern Vermont Dance Festival.

The festival is slated for Thursday, July 17, to Sunday, July 20, and will take place for the most part in downtown Brattleboro with time in between events and classes for people to shop and enjoy the town. The four-day festival will be filled with lectures, workshops, performance, live music and free community events.

"There will be over 100 different classes and workshops for all ages and ability levels, as well as 10 performances, exhibits of movement related art and more throughout the weekend," said Brenda Lynn Siegel, Artistic Executive Director of the Festival, who lost everything in Tropical Storm Irene. Displaced for months, she vowed to create a festival that would be a boon to the local business community and create a buzz for Downtown Brattleboro.

Embracing the theme, "Dance is for Everyone," the four-day festival features many of Boston's top artists including Adrienne Hawkins, The Dance Complex and Impulse Dance Company; Lorraine Chapman, The Boston Conservatory, Director of LCTC The Company and newly appointed director of Green St.


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Studios; Kirsta Sendziak, Director of The School of Classical Ballet; Ryan Casey, Boston based tap artist with high acclaim; Bosoma Dance Company; a Boston-based contemporary dance Company, to name a few.

In addition, the celebrated Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company is participating and will lead technique classes, repertory workshops and talks throughout the festival. They have performed worldwide in over 200 cities in 40 countries on every major continent. The Company's repertory is widely varied in its subject matter, visual imagery and stylistic approach to movement, voice and stagecraft and includes musically driven works as well as works using a variety of texts. Former Company member Catherine Cabeen will lead all activities and perform a solo choreographed by Bill T. Jones in the Saturday gala performance. Other faculty members include: Donlin Foreman, Principle Dancer with Martha Graham (1977-1996) and co-founder of the Buglisi/Foreman Dance (1993-2005), Mucuy Bolles, veteran Alvin American Dance Theater; Ryan P. Casey, major tap artist, Marshall Jarreau, top finalist in "So You Think You Can Dance" who also performed with Cirque De Soleil; Billbob Brown, Director of Dance UMass Amherst, Director of Chaos Theory Dance company and chair of the Massachusetts Dance Festival and many more top notch dance educators and choreographers.

The variety of classes offered include Ballet, Jazz and Contemporary, Modern, Horton Technique, Graham Technique, Luigi Technique, Gaga Style, Dunham Technique, Eric Hawkins Technique, Laban Movement Analysis, Contact Improvisation, Composition and many more. In addition the festival is offering bonus styles including Belly Dance, Afro Jazz, Tap, Budoh, Yoga and Pilates.

The festival offers various ticket choices. One can choose to attend the festival for the full four days or sample the festival offerings by purchasing tickets for one day, three days, or all four days taking only one class per day. In addition tickets are available for performances only that take place throughout the weekend. Classes will be filled on a first come first serve basis. Online registration is available once a ticket has been purchased.

Tickets are available now by visiting www.southernvermontdancefestival.com. For more information on how to purchase tickets, become a sponsor, or volunteer at the festival, email info@southernvermontdancefestival.com.