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By Siiri Lane - on exhibit a the Latchis.

BRATTLEBORO >> The 4th Annual Southern Vermont Dance Festival is preparing to celebrate the breadth and beauty of movement with a four-day schedule of classes, performances, and community events and more in Brattleboro on July 14 - 17. Preparing the way is "MOVEMENT 2016," a multi-venue installation of 22 exhibits featuring "Movement inspired art of all kinds." Beginning on Gallery Walk Friday, July 1, and on view throughout the month, these venues are showing work by sixteen artists who celebrate movement and dance in paintings, prints, photographs, sculpture, and more. Some work will be available for sale.

The Southern Vermont Dance Festival was birthed out of the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene and the Brooks House Fire and has an equal focus on promoting the arts and art excellence and being an economic driver for the community. Brenda Lynn Siegel, Executive and Artistic Director of the Festival, has a degree in choreography from Hampshire College and has worked as a choreographer, performer, and dance teacher locally, throughout New England, and further afield. While Modern Dance is her specialty, she also teaches jazz, hip hop, ballet, belly dance, and Astanga yoga, and for a dozen years has run a popular Break Dance camp for local youth.


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Seeing the need for a consistent and concerted effort to revive and help sustain the local economy, she decided to concentrate her effort where she knew best and in the community with which she was most familiar.

Siegel knew that dancers would come, that they would shop and eat, and would be excited about Brattleboro's downtown community. And she knew that she could excite the community about dance. The benefits of a dance festival would be to everyone: "Performances would involve world-renowned choreographers, dancers, and faculty from around the globe to teach classes and perform. There would be ticketed Gala's, receptions and informal concerts. There would be community events completely free to the public thus inviting people to spend a weekend in Brattleboro and classes that are for everyone, from the person who has never stepped in a studio to the person who is a well established professional. There would be something for everyone" This festival would make Brattleboro a dance hub and attract people throughout the year to vacation, see dance, see theater, and enjoy art exhibits.

New to this years festival is a Black Tie BBQ at Rudyard Kipling's House at Naulakha in Dummerston, complete with a promenade performance! Only 50 tickets will be sold to this event. Performances this season will take place at the Latchis Theater, the newly renovated Stone Church, Naulakha and in and around the community. This season the festival will host some major players in the dance world including, our very own Mucuy Bolles, former dancer with Alvin Ailey Dance Theater and owner of Three Stones Restaurant right here in Brattleboro. In addition Dances By Isadora, The Wonder Twins, Adrienne Hawkins and more!

In its fourth season SVDF has launched a major campaign to raise $200,000 over the next seven months in order to be able to become a sustainable organization. The festival has grown and in order to continue to serve both the dance community and the economy they need full time staff. This money will support two complete years of the festival, three modest full-time salaries and a fair stipend for the choreographers that show their work. As Siegel says. "It is no longer a one woman job, in order to have the capacity to market and apply for the right grants we have to match our outstanding growth with economic means. "It is important that local business begins to support the arts and that artists think about how their events effect the economy" says Siegel "When we all stand together and support each other, we all succeed."

Southern Vermont Dance Festival has made its focus driving the economy and this year they are asking the community to give back. SVDF is asking the community to say loudly and clearly that they want the Southern Vermont Dance Festival to continue to have a focus on driving the economy. They welcome all to get involved in this years festival. Give generously, volunteer and host an artist! To purchase a festival pass or tickets to the Galas check out the brand new website atsouthernvermontdancefestival.com and email us at info@southernvermontdancefestival.com. Don't forget to get your tickets and passes early!

MOVEMENT 2016

This year's multi-venue exhibit not only offers a reason for folks to explore the downtown but also presents movements through different mediums, once again showing that dance is for absolutely everyone. "Movement is the essence of our being, and we all have some form of movement within us—it's about finding the movement that allows us to feel free," says Siegel.

The festival has exhibits ranging from interactive wire sculpture to large scale paintings set on the Latchis panels in the Main Theater. The artists apply to show their art at the festival and those works are chosen and placed in the appropriate gallery that makes sense for them. This year's artists include festival regulars such as Clare Adams, Jeff Lewis and Virgina Driscoll as well as brand new artists to SVDF's movement exhibit such as Richard Ray with stunning digitally mastered photographs on canvas and Siiri Lane with many paintings. Vermont Artisans will show an exhibit by Tara Gordon that epitomizes a movement inspiration. Gordon's work of photographs digitally mastered and presented on yoga mats is the ultimate description of movement inspiration. For a complete listing of all work please check the Gallery Walk Guide!

A fun addition to this years July Gallery walk will be the Dance Parade that Southern Vermont Dance Festival will lead from the transportation center to the Depot St. Green on the Water as part of the opening of the "River to River" exhibit. Fun dance and movement encouraging all to move and celebrate the water front in Brattleboro.

This years multi-venue movement exhibit is the largest yet for SVDF. With 21 Galleries participating and 19 artists one can feel the first glimmer of the month of July now known as the month of dance and movement. One can hear the buzz as groups of people at Mocha Joes begin to talk about the festival coming. SVDF is excited to usher in this years month of movement. Everything is better when "Movement Meets Community" Join us on Friday and don't forget to get your festival pass, purchase your performance tickets and get your tickets to our first ever Black Tie BBQ. If you purchase your full immersion pass at the table on Friday during Gallery Walk you will get 50 percent off the full price of the pass. Go to southernvermontdancefestival.com for register, volunteer or sponsor the event.