BRATTLEBORO >> The Southern Vermont Dance Festival will feature five formal and informal concerts, a black tie barbecue, a talk with Matt Dunne on the ceative economy and dozens of community events.
The performances show the work of 35 choreographers in three gala shows, an informal concert, a closing concert and a myriad of community events. The performances will have choreography from emerging artists and well-established professionals and will show work in several different genres of dance including modern, ballet, contemporary, jazz, African, hip hop, tap and so much more.
Each of the artists showing their work was selected out of a large pool of choreographers who submitted their work to the festival for consideration. The work goes through an adjudication process to curate the best possible buffet of dance works. The work shown throughout the festival shows a high standard of artistry and technical proficiency. The group of selected works shows a wide variety of movement styles and aesthetics and each performance is very different in it's design and approach.
The festival opens on July 14 with an Opening Gala Performance at 430 p.m. at the Latchis Theater on 50 Main St. This performance is slated to show incredible works that grab the attention of the onlooker. It is the perfect way to open the four-day festival.
The choreography includes pieces by nine choreographers. There is work by Tony Nagi from Sobo Studio located in Brattleboro. Nagy will show a unique work that fuses a tribal style of movement with modern and hip hop and brings the joy of movement from the stage to the audience.
The July 14 show will also include a unique pointe work brought by Mishi Dance with founder Mishi Castroverde. This piece takes a contemporary turn while using the technical capacity of ballet and pointe work. Additionally tap work will be shown by a dancer from Ryan Casey's company, Shaina Schwartz.
Dorcas Roman comes from Spain and brings with her a unique perspective on movement and the arts. The Bedford Dance Ensemble returns with choreographer Melissa Gendreau showing her artistry on uniquely talented young dancers.
Coming from New York City is "Heath in Progress," bringing choreography that uses the songs of birds and joins together a beautiful duet of contemporary movement to bring us on the flight of birds.
There is the upbeat work of Sarah Duclos joining together the intricate challenges of modern dance with the joy of movement a fun dance piece.
Having danced across Israel, Italy and the United States, Julie Marie Muskat brings her work to Brattleboro and helps to open this years festival.
Finally, coming from Rhode Island College, Jessica Pearson brings her work to SVDF for the first time.
This performance opens the festival with a bang and is followed by an opening reception at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $18 for students and $22 for general admission, in advance; $24/$28 at the door.
The opening reception at the Southern Vermont Dance Festival happens on July 14 at 4:30 p.m. at 118 Elliot Street with a meet and greet of this year's artists and a talk on "Creative Economy and Access in the Arts."
The headlining speaker this year will be gubernatorial candidate Matt Dunne talking about the importance of the creative economy, how that economy works and how it should work.
In addition, there will be two other speakers on the panel including the festival's very own Brenda Lynn Siegel to talk about her own transformation form artist to looking at the economy and the arts together. A local business owner will also discuss the impact of the arts in the community and how best to implement programs in which the government, artists and businesses support each other to create the most vibrant economy possible.
Dunne will speak from his experience as a Vermont politician working in the government, his experience as an executive at Google and his experience as an actor/director having worked in the arts himself.
Tickets to this reception include food, meet and greet and conversation and are $15 for pass holders and $25 for general admission, in advance; $20 and $30 at the door. Through July 12, anyone who purchases a ticket can use the "I have a Festival Pass" option and pay the $15 ticket price.
Friday offers an informal performance at The Stone Church at 130 p.m. on 210 Main St. This performance is of an informal nature and highlights the natural light coming in through the stained glass as you watch beautiful movement unfold.
Artists in this concert include "The Accaliae," exhibiting an innovative Belly Dance performance that shows true artistry with a very unique fusion flair. Returning this year will be OnStage Dance Company performing two works and showing high energy and wonderful technical precision.
Mishi Castroverde will show another of her works and will exhibit another side of the choreographic flair of Mishi Dance. Joyce King will show a piece that is full in length and is entitled "Per. Cept. Shun."
Finally, highlighted in the Friday informal concert, is a work by Fernadina Chen — "Trio 3 in 1." This piece uses the audience and stage placement in a unique way. Chen was a founding artistic dean and chairwoman of the dance department of Boston Arts Academy, a public high school of visual and performing arts and having served as a panelist on the National Endowment for the Arts. Chen has a unique approach to choreography and we are very excited to show her work at this years festival. Tickets to this performance at $12 in advance and $15 at the door.
Friday, July 15, SVDF hosts its second gala concert at the Latchis Theater at 8 p.m. This performance brings to the stage a crew of dancers that have previously performed at SVDF, as well as new choreographers both emerging and well-established professionals. This evening of dance shows many modern dance works as well as other genres in a variety of styles. The show features works by some of the festivals featured artists.
New this year is work by the Wonder Twins, Billy and Bobby McClain, formerly on tour with New Kids on The Block and performing in music videos and on stage as back up dancers. These artists have brought their talent to the street and will show their work throughout this year's festival.
This evening performance will also feature Billbob Brown's solo work. Brown is the former director of the Performing Arts Academy in Hong Kong as well as the former chairman of the UMass Dance Department.
This program will also feature the work of Impulse Dance Company returning for a third season, brought by Adrienne Hawkins who opened for greats such as Cab Calloway and Miles Davis.
The festival will once again highlight Isadora Duncan, showing a 15-minute original trio by her and restaged by "Dances By Isadora, Boston." Duncan was a grandmother of modern dance.
Kym McDaniel will show a magnificent multi media work, and Millie Heckler, originally from Vermont and coming from Colorado, will be showing a work that combines voice and high energy modern hip hop fusion to create a completely engaging work.
Also coming from Western Massachusetts is Noel St. Jean-Chavalier and her company "The Legible Body." They will be sharing "Narcisist," a beautiful and intense modern dance work that uses water as a prop.
The Friday gala welcomes to the stage IBIT Dance Company, performing an excerpt of a work that shows the motion of anxiety disorder. The work is meant to depict the way that anxiety affects the average person in our society and shows through movement the inner workings of a person with anxiety disorder.
The Friday gala also features a variety of modern and contemporary dance styles with interesting social themes as well as beautiful movement styles.
Tickets to this performance are $18 students and $22 general admissioon, in advance and $24/$28 t the door.
New to this years festival is a black tie barbecue at Rudyard Kipling's house at Naulakha in Dummerston on July 16. Only 50 tickets will be sold to this event.
It is in this house that Kipling wrote the "Jungle Books" and "Captains Courageous" and began the "Just So Stories."
The dinner will be catered by Top of The Hill Grill, followed by a Saturday promenade performance in different locations on the 12-acre property. Dinner guests will have a chance to explore the Kipling estate and the museum, now maintained by The Landmark Trust USA. Tickets to this event are $75 and include, dinner, treats and tours of the building, with time to explore in addition to the promenade performance.
The show at Naulakha will feature solos, duets and trios of work all adjudicated and chosen to be performance in particular spots that make sense for each piece. This performance will take onlookers on a journey to see the Kipling Estate in a way that it has never been seen before. The performance will open with a work by Audra Carbetta and Brian Crabtree that brings you eloquently into the magic of the promenade. The audience then will be taken into the "pillars" to see a solo work by Kelly Alvarez that makes you wonder what else might be happening on the grounds.
You will then be guided to the tennis courts to explore the movement by Alexandra Pooley and Diane Bedford. Next you are escorted into the field and to see another excerpt of Siegel's exploration of anxitey disorder. You will then be directed to a piece by Tasha Warshaw, eloquently shown in front of the Kipling House and utilizing the grounds and then guided to a site specific work by Dorcas Roman that takes place in the balcony of the estate.
Onlookers will then be guided in front of the barn for a high energy exciting duet by Millie Heckler and then directed to the trees to see "Hearing Herman Hess."
Rounding out the performance the audience will be guided inside the barn and museum to see a work on the dangers of pressure and perfectionism. The audience will be guided to the entrance of the estate to see a magical ending choreographed by Jessie Jean Stinnett, who will guide you to your transportation out of the magic and back to your vehicles.
The closing concert at the Stone Church, 210 Main St., at 6 p.m. on July 19, shows a wonderful mix of what choreographers presented at the festival. This years closing concert will feature "The Wonder Twins" and the "Bedford Dance Ensemble." Tickets to this show are $12 in advance and $15 at the door.
The festival also offers four full days of free community events. The events begin with live music, July 14, at 10 a.m. in the River Garden and continue with live music, performances, workshops and more. There is everything from a mini dance tour to a hooping workshops and everything in between. All of the community events are completely free. Find a complete schedule of community events on the festival's website.
To purchase tickets, volunteer or find out how to sponsor the festival. visit www.southernvermontdancefestival.com.