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Cyndal Ellis.

BRATTLEBORO >> The festival opens on today with an Opening Gala Performance at 430 p.m. at the Latchis Theatre, 50 Main St. This performance is slated to show works that grab the attention of the onlooker. The performance includes works by nine choreographers. Each work was chosen by an adjudication process and depicts a strong variety of dance excellence. The performance is just over an hour and includes stunning works shown often in city venue settings. This performance has a mixture of serious movement set to unique soundtracks and fun, upbeat and uplifting works. The Thursday Gala by tradition opens with a mixture of dance styles.

This years gala shows the work of local artist Tony Nagy. Nagy is the owner of Sobo Studio as well as a local film maker and just completed some work on a major film that she is putting together. The work that she is showing in this years festival is a fun fusion of modern and hip hop movement. Nagy's work often transforms one into a differen't world. She has a unique choreographic style and it brings together a world of hip hop and modern dance in a fluid and powerful way. She will be accompanied by local dancer/choreographer and manager at Sobo Studio, Cyndal Ellis as well as Nina Singleton-Spencer known for her role in "The Snaz" . This is a wonderful opportunity to see local dancers at work.


Featured in this performance is Dorcas Roman. Roman is returning to the Southern Vermont Dance Festival for her 3rd season and has become a festival favorite as teacher, choreographer and student. This year for the first time ever Dorcas brings with her another dancer and will show a duet entitled "Push" that exemplifies a fusion of contact improvisation and Modern Dance. Román is a dancer/choreographer native to Puerto Rico and the artistic director of Dorcas Roman Dance Theatre /DRDT and has an MFA in choreography from UCLA. Her work has toured throughout Spain, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Chicago, New York, Texas, Vermont and around CA. Romans work is an exploration of modern dance unique to her own movement and choreographic style..

New to this years festival is Annie Heath from Heath in Progress. Heath and her two company dancers all graduated from UMass Amherst and now work in New York City. In June Heath in Progress brought an sample of their work to preview for the festival. The work is a fluid and powerful depiction of movement. The two dancers come together with intense focus and trade lifts while circling each other and exploring the dynamics of their relationship. Also new to this years festival is Jessica Pearson, Mishi Castroverde, Sarah Duclos and Julie Marie Muskat. All four come to us from all over the country to show their work in this years festival. Pearson comes to us from Rhode Island College and will show a group work entitled "Methodical Exchange" that is unique in it's nature and shows wonderful precision and spacial design. Castroverde is showing a point work that plays with a fusion between ballet and contemporary movement. It is a stunning use of a traditional dance form in a modern setting. Muskat a published writer and a violinist.joins us to show her solo work "Deeper Water". This work transforms you into the movement as you watch. It is a brief vignette yet it transforms you space in time. Lastly, Duclos will bring up the joy of movement with her work that truly brings fun and joy in movement in a innovative way to the stage.

Returning to the festival for her second year is Mellissa Gendreau and the Bedford Dance Ensemble. Gendreau brings her young dancers to show work that is sophisticated and ready for adult movers and audiences. The talent of her young students is phenomenal and the intrigue of the work she sets on them holds the standard of professionalism and artistry. The Bedford Dance Ensemble will perform in community events and the festivals closing concert in addition to the Thursday Gala.

The performance will be followed by a reception and meet and greet at 118 Elliot Street with many of the choreographers from the 2016 season as well as a panel discussion on the Creative Economy that will include Vermont Gubernatorial Candidate Matt Dunne and the Festival. Director Brenda Lynn Siegel. The reception includes food. Tickets to Thursdays Gala are $18 students/ $22 general in advance and $24 students/$28 general at the door. Get advanced tickets at