A preview of SIDF, an annual event that this year features Massive Monkees, Venezuela’s Pisorojo Dance Company, Hong Kong Exile, Spectrum Dance Theater and many more artists.
The Seattle International Dance Festival is in major expansion mode this year, encompassing three weekends instead of just two.
Not only that: Its closing performances, copresented by Seattle Theatre Group, take place in the Moore Theatre — a first for the 10-year-old festival.
What sparked these changes?
Seattle International Dance Festival
Various times June 12-27, with most shows at Raisbeck Hall, Cornish College of the Arts, 2015 Boren Ave., Seattle; $17-$25 single tickets, $55 for festival pass (888-377-4510 or seattleidf.strangertickets.com).
SIDF director Cyrus Khambatta, in an interview last week, stated it plainly: “It’s our community. It’s really people coming together and essentially wanting to make it bigger.”
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For Khambatta, whose own troupe Khambatta Dance Company (KDC) is celebrating its 25th anniversary, this year’s SIDF has a retrospective feel. Dance companies from past years are making return visits. Former members of KDC are returning with new projects of their own.
In the most unusual development, the 2015 edition of “Art on the Fly” — SIDF’s family-friendly outdoor event — will be a joint affair with the Mobile Food Rodeo, a June 13 food-truck extravaganza at South Lake Union’s Discovery Center Playfield. Seattle’s Massive Monkees and Venezuela’s Pisorojo Dance Company are the featured performers, and Khambatta is curious to see what Seattle foodies will think of “having this art world in the midst of their partying.”
On other fronts: SIDF’s “Spotlight Series” takes slightly altered form. Seattle is still its primary focus. But the June 16 show emphasizes contemporary ballet (SIDF has commissioned Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Ezra Thomson to set work on Spectrum Dance Theater), while June 17 explores the quirkier side of the Seattle dance scene and June 18 emphasizes “social dialogue and discourse in our region.”
June 19-20 features new work from Seattle’s badmarmarDANCE, as well as “multimedia dance theater” from Vancouver-based Hong Kong Exile, to do with the 1997 handover of Hong Kong from Great Britain to mainland China.
On June 21, PNB’s Thomson and Massive Monkees’ Jerome Aparis — a knockout at SIDF 2014 — collaborate in a high-octane dance-off between ballet pyrotechnics and hip-hop/b-boy dance maneuvers. On the same bill: Dancing People from Ashland, Ore. (“There’s something very tight-knit about the group,” Khambatta says of them, “like they have some sort of secret language.”)
The June 26-27 wrap-up at the Moore features Spectrum, performing Khambatta’s “Truth and Betrayal” and a new work by Spectrum director Donald Byrd, and Mexico’s Ciudad Interior Contemporary Dance Company’s “Kinetica,” in which live performers interact with high-tech visuals. A hit at SIDF 2011, Ciudad Interior shares marked similarities in style and intensity with Spectrum.
Khambatta, while touring in India, Mexico, Israel and Brazil, made the connections with most of SIDF’s international dance talents. But for SIDF’s local offerings, he now relies on dance artists more deeply plugged in than he is into the Seattle dance scene (“It’s too big for me to deal with by myself anymore,” he notes).
“They’re super-committed and want to see the dance here in the city,” he says of his collaborative curators. “They believe in it, and that’s why it happens.”