// SFDI //



JUL 29–AUG 5, 2018

“The leading convening of practitioners in dance improvisation in the United States.” SFDI is a week of master classes, discussions, performances, and other activities with international dance innovators.

“SFDI curators, a multiracial group gathered annually by Velocity Dance Center director Tonya Lockyer, have cultivated a diverse faculty and curriculum over many years; 2017 proved to be an exceptional year in that regard … Teachers from many walks and identities filled the schedule.”—SFDI teaching artist Karen Nelson, Contact Quarterly



 Ishmael Houston-Jones / K.J. Holmes / Eva Karczag / Karen Nelson / taisha paggett / Jesse Hewit (CANCELLED DUE TO INJURY)


HIJACK / Stephanie Skura / Wendy Perron / Melecio Estrella / Lila Hurwitz / John + Anna Dixon / Debra Wanner / Sally Dean / Alia Swersky / Paige Barnes / Diverse Diviners: Karen Nelson + Yulia Arakelyan + Corrie Befort + Karen Daly + Syniva Whitney / Sheila Skemp / Katherine Cook / Norah Zuniga Shaw


PERFORMANCES: RELATIVES by Shannon Stewart + Ellery Burton / Surreptitious Preparations for an Impossible Total Act by Stephanie Skura / + MORE Dance Innovators in Performance





JUL 29–AUG 5, 2018
Velocity 1621 12th Ave


Full Festival $575
Includes registration for up to three intensives and drop-in classes of your choice, and free entry to all jams, events, discussions, and performances.


5-Day Midday Intensive $500
Ishmael Houston-Jones, K.J. Holmes (CI)
Includes registration for one midday intensive and free entry to all jams, events, discussions, and performances.

4-Day Morning Intensive $200
Eva Karczag (Somatics)
Includes registration for the morning somatic intensive and free entry to all jams, events, discussions, and performances.

4-Day Morning Intensive $200
taisha paggett
Includes registration for the morning offsite intensive and free entry to all jams, events, discussions, and performances.

3-Day Afternoon Intensive $110
Karen Nelson (CI Fundamentals)
Includes registration for the afternoon CI Fundamentals intensive and free entry to all jams, events, discussions, and performances.

Unlimited Drop-Ins $200
Includes unlimited drop-ins (normally $20/class), events, discussions, and performances.





Improvisation Strategies: Dancing Text/Texting Dance
MON + TUES + FRI + SAT / 11:30AM–1:45PM
WED / 11:30AM–5:15PM

This class is rooted in many different forms of improvisation and will offer students a foundation in diverse techniques of instinctive, intuitive, non-set dances. The class builds upon the principles of Contact and Releasing to give students a strong, personal movement foundation. It teaches students to use senses other than sight when improvising and asks that they allow their dances be guided by touch and sound as well as by narrative and emotion. Another component of the class is the use of both spoken and written text and the use of personal material. Students are asked to use language in an automatic and improvisational way. Then they are instructed to use the resultant text as a prompt to movement. This may lead to short solo or group pieces.

Ishmael Houston-Jones is a choreographer, author, performer, teacher, and curator whose improvised dance and text work has been performed in New York City, across the United States, in Europe, Canada, Australia and Latin America.

In 1984 Houston-Jones and Fred Holland shared a New York Dance and Performance “Bessie Award” for their Cowboys, Dreams and Ladders. In 2011 he won another “Bessie Award” for the reimagining of THEM, his 1986 collaboration with composer Chris Cochrane and author Dennis Cooper. Houston-Jones was awarded his third “Bessie” in 2017 for Variations on Themes from Lost and Found and Other Works by John Bernd.





Evolution and/of Contact Improvisation
MON + TUES + FRI + SAT / 11:30AM–1:45PM
WED / 11:30AM–5:15PM

This workshop will reflect through direct kinetic experience on the relationship of somatics and developmental patterns within Contact Improvisation. We will explore sensation, systems, analysis, and composition through the emergence into momentum/stillness, gravity/levity, one/two, engaging with transitions and depth.

K.J. HOLMES Brooklyn NY based dance artist/actor/singer/teacher; travels nationally and internationally teaching/performing/creating; collaborate/d extensively with Julie Carr, Simone Forti, Karen Nelson, Lisa Nelson/Image Lab, Steve Paxton; performed with Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People, Xavier Le Roy, Lance Gries, Mark Dendy, Melinda Ring, Karinne Keithley Syers; was cast in artist Matthew Barney’s film Redoubt and in performer/videographer Cristiane Bouger’s film The Quest for Joy; collaborates with drummer Jeremy Carlstedt in their duet LIP (Vision Jazz Festivals, NY); teaches in NYC at NYU/Experimental Theatre Wing, the Juilliard School and through Movement Research. A graduate of The School for Body-MInd Centering (r), William Esper Studio (Meisner acting with Terry Knickerbocker), and Satya Yoga, K.J. is studying to become an Ayurvedic nutritional consultant and continues to develop her dance/theater/installation HIC SVNT DRACONES.




Everyday Madness for Radicalizing Logic and Making Beautiful Sh*t Happen
MON + TUES + FRI + SAT / 11:30AM–1:45PM
WED / 11:30AM–5:15PM

Systems of oppression rely on oppressive logics, so LONG LIVE NEW LOGICS! Feminisms! Naps! Afrosurrealism! Somatics! Pool Parties! Science fiction! Over-processing! Futurism! Abstraction! Meltdowns! These are just a few of the genius creative lenses that imagine our conditions beyond the scripts that we’ve inherited, so in this intensive, we’ll carry the torch of these cultural projects and practice scrambling our artistic narratives in order to find new actions, new states, and new material. Through exercises in re-naming, re-socializing, ritualization, exhaustion, and radical empathy, we’ll invoke the mammoth power of our sensitivities and imaginations, and inhabit creative practices that reflect what we insist is beautiful, important, and possible. We’ll talk, thrash, write, heal, throw things, fake it, mean it, dance, play dead, and create a social and energetic antidote to what is just absolutely not good enough out there. Bring your gripes, your fantasies, your spontaneity, and your super-deep breaths.

JESSE HEWIT is an artist and curator, based in San Francisco, who currently serves various communities as Program Manager for ODC Theater, and Curator for Aggregate Space Gallery’s Friction/Function series. His 2017 original works include Faith Material at CounterPulse, TIDES TIDES TIDES at YBCA, and his recent dance and dramaturgical collaborations have included working with Sara Shelton Mann, Fauxnique/Monique Jenkinson, Keith Hennessy, and Larry Arrington. He is currently working on Weather, a book of longer essays about erotic memory, friendship, and family. He has taught workshops and classes through festivals, universities, and arts centers internationally, including Ponderosa (Stolzenhagen), PICA’s TBA (Portland), FRESH Festival (San Francisco),  HZT (Berlin), YBCA (San Francisco, FLOCK (Portland), and The Firkin Crane (Cork). His teaching practice draws from shifting socio-political urgencies, the practices of his dance mentor Sara Shelton Mann, his formal training in experimental theater and sociology, and his contemporary commitments to alt-logics, cross-disciplinary composition, and radical empathy. / Photo by Robbie Sweeny




Somatic Tuning into Improvisation
MON + TUES + WED + FRI / 9–11AM

Class 1: Eva Karczag – Somatic Tuning with weight and breath

In this class, we will have time and space to explore and establish foundations we too often take for granted – Weight, and the need to re-affirm our connection to the ground; Breath, and the space it opens internally and around us. We will carry our discoveries and insights into dancing, alone and together.

Class 2: Sally Dean – Somatic Tuning with Skinner Releasing Technique™

Skinner Releasing Technique™ created by Joan Skinner in the 1960’s, is a pioneering approach to dance, movement and creative process that has evolved from the simple principle that when we are releasing physical tension, we can move with greater freedom, power and articulation. In SRT classes, spontaneous movement evoked by guided poetic imagery, supported by music and sound, enables a creative and easily accessible exploration of technical movement principles such as multi-directional alignment, suppleness, suspension, economy and autonomy.

Class 3: Debra Wanner – Somatic Tuning with Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement®

How Awareness Moves Us: This class explores the ever-evolving sense of self and the environment we move in.  Subtle shifts in how we inhabit our being can bring about rich and creative dance improvisation, both solo and in relation to another. Improvisation will follow an Awareness Through Movement lesson.

Class 4: Wendy Perron & Eva Karczag – Somatic Tuning with a Trisha Brown Approach to Improvising

Somatic warm-up of simple pedestrian actions done with awareness, into “lining up”, a process created by Trisha Brown whereby dancers improvise relating to each other and the space, then recall and reconstruct the sequence with attention to shifting relationships.

EVA KARCZAG, independent dance artist. For the past four decades has practiced, taught, and advocated for explorative methods of dance making. She danced with Trisha Brown Dance Company from 1979–85. Currently performs solo and collaborative work, and teaches internationally. Her performing and teaching are both informed by improvisation and mindful body practices which engender trust in the body’s innate capacity for ease, efficiency and integrated openness. These include the Alexander Technique (certified teacher) and Ideokinesis.  She holds an MFA (Dance Research Fellow) from Bennington College, VT.  Most profoundly influential, the New York post-modern dance movement of the 1960’s and 70’s has given her current dance practice a foundation of respect for the moving body, and a passion for creative process and experimentation. She is performing on Thursday, August 2, in Stephanie Skura’s Surreptitious Preparations for an Impossible Total Act.




Resistance Lives in the Spine
MON + TUES + WED + FRI / 9–11AM

This intensive employs improvisation, dancing in varying degrees of proximity and contact as a movement practice, a living practice, and a strategy for re-conceptualizing and standing inside ideas of unlearning, solidarity, sustainable care, “freedom” and resistance, especially as it relates to the histories of racism in the United States. Building from the School for the Movement of the Technicolor People project and curriculum as well as more recent studio research, we will employ breath work, touch and different concentration practices as catalysts for movement and frameworks for discovering new virtuosities, physical vocabularies and notions of collectivity and resistance in and across our bodies. Participants will also be asked to read selections of critical texts outside of class and engage in brief discussion within class to better support and lend depth to our dancing. Self-identified persons of color as encouraged to attend.

TAISHA PAGGETT is a Southern California-based dance artist whose individual and collaborative interdisciplinary works rearticulate and collide certain Western choreographic practices with the politics of daily life to interrogate fixed notions of black and queer embodiment and survival. Such works include the dance company project WXPT, the School for the Movement of the Technicolor People, and woods and studio. Paggett is an assistant professor of dance at UC Riverside.






Essential Images of CI
MON + TUES + FRI / 3:15–5:15PM

This intensive will steer us towards a basic source for improvising. Physical sensation as image is grounded in direct evidence such as reflexive balance, shifting weight, sense of mass, skin listening, falling, rising, and freely interacting with the unpredictable partner. Returning again and again to physical sensation offers a place to locate presence in the turmoil of surviving disorientation, momentum and the unknown. We will use Material for the Spine given by Steve Paxton (puzzles, rolls, intertwining of imagined and physical sensation) to locate useful sensations and practice a few potential accidents. Through this physical journey, the evolution or history of the form of CI lives within our own experience and feeds our dancing. Physical sensation, a doorway to everywhere, raises our unique passion for moving, and resonates what is essential for ourselves.

KAREN NELSON‘s 40-year dance and performance practice has been influenced by mentor/collaborators Steve Paxton and Lisa Nelson’s Material for the Spine, Contact, and Tuning Scores (respectively), and with many others around the world. A dancer/choreographer, performer, teacher, and organizer, Karen co-founded Joint Forces Dance Co, Breitenbush Jam, Dance Ability, Diverse Dance Research Retreat, and the performance group Image Lab, among other projects.






dropinbanner-1Ritual, Resistance & Release

In this class we will explore physical rituals that play with sustaining challenging states in the body, as both pathways of freedom where we are allowed to move in ways that bring delight, and as forms of restriction building our resilience. We will experience what the body does to accommodate a durational fatigue and the inevitable release or decay that ensues. We will also witness one another in this process of form and decay, and end with a final written letter as a ritualistic return.

ALIA SWERSKY has been a Seattle based movement artist since 1998.  She is best known as an improviser, performer, ritual creator, mentor, teacher and healer. Alia is on faculty at Cornish College of the Arts where she has been teaching creative process, choreography and improvisation since 2005.



By Hook or Crook

We’ll explore how hooking parts of our bodies can add clarity and spice to our CI practice.This CI technique class will focus on leveraging skeletal structure in creative ways that keep your center close to your partner’s and reveal new, playful pathways for movement.

SCOTT DAVIS is a Seattle-based educator, dancer, and movement improviser. His most influential dance improvisation mentors include KT Niehoff, Amii LeGendre, Karl Frost, and Cyrus Khambatta. Scott has a long history of teaching, touring, and performing with various dance ensembles and has most recently appeared with Seattle’s AVID, a group whose work is built on the shared vocabulary of Contact Improvisation.




Somatic Costumes into Improvisation

Wear, move and create in Somatic Costumes that generate specific body-mind experiences.  ‘Balloon Hats’, ‘Feather Fingers’ & ‘Heart Protectors’ will heighten awareness, fuel creativity and imagination into subtle and wild improvisations.

SALLY E DEAN (USA/UK) – international, interdisciplinary performer, maker, teacher, writer and somatic practitioner. A certified teacher of Skinner Releasing Technique, Javanese Amerta Movement practitioner, founder of ‘Somatic Movement, Costume & Performance Project’, supported by Arts Council England and British Council, MPhil Candidate at Royal Holloway University, London. www.sallyedean.com

Flooding Pulse

Inspired by acupuncture’s pulse listening method, Paige Barnes will share a pulse responding dance practice formed while studying Chinese medicine at Bastyr University. Together we will create pulse dances.

PAIGE BARNES is a movement artist and Chinese medicine practitioner. Born in Alabama, raised in St. Louis, MO, Paige moved to Washington to attend college in 1994. Her coursework led her to study in Ecuador. There, she met choreographer Pablo Cornejo and began to train and perform internationally. After returning, she received a BA in Dance from the University of Washington in 1999, formed a dance company with Pablo and co-founded Open Flight Studio in 2003. Expanding her education, in 2001 Paige became a certified practitioner of the GYROTONIC® method, training under Magali Messac. After fifteen years of dance making, teaching, and performing, Paige wanted a deeper understanding of the body’s energetic and healing capabilities. In 2016 she received an MS in East Asian Medicine from Bastyr University. Now, Paige works towards merging her practices in art and energetic medicine.





dropinbanner-5Space Mix

Sampling two unique systems—Material for the Spine (including CI) and Tuning Scores—we will dive deep and fast into the slow-time speedless body: inner sensations + composition = space mix

KAREN NELSON, dance explorer, teacher, maker, touring performer, author/contributor to Dancing with Dharma and Contact Quarterly began dancing CI in 1977. In Material for the Spine (Steve Paxton) and Tuning Scores (Lisa Nelson), she found her niche. Interrogating whiteness in her own embodiment, and larger community is ongoing.



Minute Collaboration

HIJACK methods for taking turns, cozying in, slamming up against, scores to betray what you think is set, what you think is improvised, what you think is yours.

HIJACK is the choreographic collaboration of Kristin Van Loon & Arwen Wilder, based in Minneapolis since 1993. HIJACK specializes in the inappropriate, and performs in both social and theatrical spaces. HIJACK visits the Seattle dance wonderland as often as possible: most recently performing at NW Film Forum and SFDI 2016.




dropinbanner-3We’ve Changed

Mystery and mechanics of state change in contact improvisation. Informed by rich imagery, anatomical reality checks and sensation training, this class will explore the occurrence of small and big transformations within the contact improvisation duet.  Special attention will be given to attention – how we focus, distract and listen at varying degrees.

MELECIO ESTRELLA has been making and performing dances globally for the last couple decades. He is associate artistic director of Bandaloop, co-director of Fog Beast and a longtime member of the Joe Goode Performance Group. Melecio engages improvisation toward performance making, as well as an awareness practice for life.

dropinbanner-8Moving From Touch

Touch comes in many shapes and sizes. When we give touch, we receive touch in return – an exchange of information – reciprocity. In this class we will explore moving from touch.

EVA KARCZAG, independent dance artist. Since the early 1970s performs, teaches, and advocates for explorative methods of dance making, utilizing somatic methods. Member of Trisha Brown Dance Company (1979-1985). Currently working in both the U.S, and Europe, she is in constant conversation with dance communities on both sides of the Atlantic.





Ayurveda and Improvisation

We will dive beneath the more familiar ayurvedic concepts of vata, pitta and kapha to explore the three source forms of prana or life force, unlocking their flow in our body with marma points, mantras and guided improvisational movement practices.

ANNA DIXON practices Shaka Vansiya Ayurveda in the form of transdermal marma therapy and lifestyle consultations. She is an AntiGravity Aerial Yoga and Fitness instructor trainer and has been engaged in the practice of movement improvisation for over twenty years.

JOHN DIXON has been exploring improvisational movement for over three decades. He is currently on faculty at East Carolina University where he teaches improvisation, composition and other strategies for subverting social norms and redirecting habituation.



Falling and Rising in Contact Improvisation
In this class, we’ll be FALLING: down to the ground and RISING: back out of it. Falling maximizes a helpful kind of freedom in Contact Improvisation: the freedom to not know where we are or where we are going. Working solo and with others, we’ll explore pathways down and up in all manner of strange circumstances. There are classical mechanics at play in our bodies and our environment, and the physics of it can give us extraordinary rides.
KATHERINE COOK is a dancer, teacher, and mathematician in Seattle WA. She has taught and performed in Seattle, around the US, and internationally. Current dance research includes necessary and sufficient: the expression of mathematics through dance, studying ensemble coordination with Nita Little and the Institute for the Study of Somatic Communication, on the Underscore with Nancy Stark Smith, and with the Seattle Contact Improvisation Lab. She has studied intensively with Nancy Stark Smith, Karen Nelson, Nita Little, and Deborah Hay, among others.






dropinbanner-10Doing it!

What is your first impulse? Can you trust it? What happens when the judge falls asleep? Can sight be a handicap? Can you know too much? This workshop is about Composition.

ISHMAEL HOUSTON-JONES is a choreographer, author, performer, teacher, and curator whose improvised dance and text work has been performed in New York City, across the United States, in Europe, Canada, Australia and Latin America.



Surrounding Desire Workshop

Where in our practice does desire bump up against the quantum impulses all around us? Can space be said to want something of us? Or are we in a relationship with space beyond desire? We will use this workshop to explore what exists beyond “intuition” in the classical sense of “direct spiritual perception” with “being watched over” (in tueri). We will put this inside a temporal framework that we could call a dance.

ANNA MARTINE WHITEHEAD makes work by herself and with others addressing the body as archive. She teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and with Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project, and she writes about race, gender, and performance for various publications. Her book TREASURE | My Black Rupture is available from Thread Makes Blanket. See more at annamartine.com





Freedom + Rigor + Courage

Open Source Forms, fluidly expanded from Skinner Releasing, prepares for experiments with scores in Skura’s current work. Freely explored physical specificity creates fluid narratives & powerful presence. A process prioritizing diversity, individual autonomy, sturdy respect for the subconscious, & deep connections amidst differences.

A radical & perpetual innovator & Bessie Award-winner, STEPHANIE SKURA has been redefining boundaries of dance & performance for over three decades. Surreptitious Preparations for an Impossible Total Act, her current work presented during SFDI 2018, instigates anti-fascistic scored improvisations in collaboration with five beloved, wizardly, age-inclusive women.


Contact Improvisation a la HIJACK

HIJACK loves it from the source AND to make it up. We aim for contradiction, surprise, and cultivate a sense of humor about constant failure in the pursuit of perfect form.

HIJACK is the choreographic collaboration of Kristin Van Loon & Arwen Wilder, based in Minneapolis since 1993. HIJACK specializes in the inappropriate, and performs in both social and theatrical spaces. HIJACK visits the Seattle dance wonderland as often as possible: most recently performing at NW Film Forum and SFDI 2016.









Handles and Bridges

Improvisation following a subtle exploratory Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement® Lesson that draws on novel constraints and variations to play evocatively and provocatively with our sense of self in action.

DEBRA WANNER is a dance artist and Feldenkrais® Practitioner. She has performed with numerous performing artists and improvisers. Debra has taught dance, improvisation, and experiential anatomy at colleges and dance institutions. Her work has received awards from National Endowment for the Arts and New York Foundation for the Arts.



dropinbanner-15Witnessing and other Inner States

Explore the action of seeing and nuances of being seen. As movers and as witnesses we will be present with “now”, shed light on our stories, and investigate inner states.
SHEILA SKEMP is Seattle-based and has been an active improvisational and modern dancer for 30 years. As a figurative artist and pediatric occupational therapist she has extensively studied anatomy and the poetics of the body.Most recently she is re-committing to continued training in cranial sacral therapy and somatic psychology.

dropinbanner-14Horizons: Exploring arcs of transitions in solo and duet partnering

In this drop in class we will differentiate centers of gravity through exploring perceptions of horizons and spirals of the skeleton. We will use inversions, slow motion falls, rapid heart maneuvers and race of uncertainties.

K.J. HOLMES is a Brooklyn NY based dance artist/actor/singer/teacher who has been practicing improvisation as process and performance for three decades. Major collaborators/influences include Julie Carr, Simone Forti, Karen Nelson, Lisa Nelson/Image Lab and Steve Paxton and the work of Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen and Andre Bernard.



The Poetics of Resistance

Here we will stand inside a variety of movement practices and contact exercises to help us contemplate and re-conceptualize ideas of social justice, interdependence and collective action across our bodies.
TAISHA PAGGETT’s interdisciplinary works re-articulate and collide specific western choreographic practices with politics of daily life to interrogate fixed notions of black and queer embodiment, survival and desire. Such works include the collaborative project School for the Movement of the Technicolor People. paggett is an assistant professor at UC Riverside.





Diversity in Dancing: Start Where You Are 

(Class begins at 2:15PM)

Calling all movers of diverse identity, ability & humanity to explore, share and enjoy their unique embodied connection and current expression. Our long class includes deepening into sensing, perception, creation, composition + communication. All levels welcome.

DIVERSE DIVINERS: Yulia Arakelyan co-artistic director of Wobbly, movement artist, choreographer, loves Butoh and improvisation. Corrie Befort dancer, choreographer, designer, filmmaker—also teaches Dance for Parkinson’s through Path With Art. Karen Daly 20-year dance artist tours internationally with DanceAbility. Erik Ferguson co-artistic director of Wobbly, anti-virtuosic movement artist trained in improvisation, DanceAbility, Butoh. Karen Nelson mutator of Contact Improvisation co-started DanceAbility and Diverse Dance, divines Tuning Scores. Syniva Whitney instigator Gender Tender performance project, dancer, actor, choreographer, visual artist.



Improvisation is powerfully precarious. Together we will respond to uncertain times by centering resilience in our practice and generating new scores to take back into our lives and communities.

NORAH ZUNIGA SHAW is an artist, performer and creative director best known for her award-winning digital projects for physical ideas including Synchronous Objects with William Forsythe. Focusing on creative approaches to livable futures, her most recent works address climate change through dance and computer music improvisation. She is director of dance and technology at the Ohio State University where she teaches improvisation and intermedia.
dropinbanner-18Feldenkrais® for Dancers 

Neuromuscular re-education evokes changes in 
muscular tone, flexibility, coordination, attention, and the comfort and efficiency of 
movement. We’ll explore common dancer issues, review anatomy and integrate it all with improvisation.

LILA HURWITZ, Feldenkrais® Practitioner, has been teaching since 1987. She’s performed with Nina Martin, Karen Nelson, Lucia Neare, Stephanie Skura, Crispin Spaeth, and others, and co-produced SFDI for 18 years. Now in RI, she’s performed with Shura Baryshnikov, Heidi Henderson and Cathy Nicoli. Lila runs Doolittle+Bird, specializing in management and grant-writing.



IMG_7993 webRELATIVES by Shannon Stewart + Ellery Burton
MON JUL 30 / 9PM 10degrees
Free for SFDI attendees, $5 suggested donation for general public

RELATIVES is a movement and light meditation on the (in)visibility of identities – seen, felt, heard, remembered, presented, and “repeated to form what appears a natural being.” or a relative one.  or two relatives. 

(no tech show, running length 60 minutes)




WEDS AUG 1 / 6-8:30PM Founders
FREE + open to all

In this popular evening of performance, presentations, and community dialogue, SFDI intensive faculty share what’s currently driving their research and practice.




FRI AUG 3 / 7:30-11PM
FREE + open to all

A long-form open improvisation structure for practicing and examining dance improvisation. If you’ve never attended an Underscore, be sure to attend the talk with Katherine Cook in Velocity Founders Studio on Thursday AUG 3 / 5:30-6:30PM.

SAT AUG 4 / 7:30PM Founders
FREE + open to all

Performances by SFDI participants.

Free for SFDI Participants / $5 at the door

Open movement jams. All welcome.


Erickson + Founders Theaters
Free for SFDI Participants, $20 full day ($10 per-performance drop-in)


speakeasy-series_sfdiCONVERSATION: A HISTORY OF SFDI
THU AUG 2 / 10:30AM
Erickson Theatre Lobby

Facilitated by: Lila Hurwitz, Karen Nelson and guests

Join SFDI Faculty for an informal conversation about Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation’s 25-year history.

KarczagSkura Web

THU AUG 2 / 12PM Erickson Theatre
Free to SFDI Participants, $20 full day ($10 drop-in)

with Sally Dean (London), Paige Barnes (Seattle), Eva Karczag (NYC & Netherlands), Wendy Perron (NYC), Debra Wanner (NYC), Stephanie Skura (WA State)

In a rare Seattle presentation of her work, Stephanie Skura will offer Surreptitious Preparations for an Impossible Total Act after last season’s performances in New York City at Roulette & Sundays on Broadway. Part of the celebration of Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation’s 25th anniversary, six age-embracing improvising dance mavens from around the globe, all of whom share long histories & loving connections, will also teach various approaches to somatics as entry into improvisation, & facilitate discussions about underlying concepts.


THU AUG 2 / 2PM Founders Theater + Studios
Free to SFDI Participants, $20 full day ($10 drop-in)

More info coming soon!





Alchemy of the Grand Union

FREE + open to all

Grand Union was a leaderless improvisation group that included Steve Paxton, Trisha Brown, Barbara Dilley, David Gordon and Douglas Dunn.



THU AUG 2 / 5PM Erickson Theatre
Free to SFDI Participants, $20 full day ($15 drop-in)

More info coming soon!





THU AUG 2 / 6:15PM Erickson Theatre
FREE + open to all

Wendy Perron, Norah Zuniga Shaw, Ismael Houston-Jones: facilitated by Tonya Lockyer

Why archive SFDI? How can we make knowledge happen through archives? What might the targets or directions of an online archive of SFDI, or dance improvisation be?






Free to SFDI Participants, $20 full day ($15 drop-in)

Investigations centered on intersections + stories of CI thru the Body~~a lec/dem & participatory jam event.

CI (embodied) interrogates its own history, a performance event previously called The History of Contact Improvisation through the Body, came to life because of an invitation, an election of a president, an evolving dance form, a roster of Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation’s (SFDI) diverse faculty—inclusive of people of color, queer, trans, abled and disabled, white, cis women and men, to name several general identity categories—and my own white, cis woman eyes opening to the fact that people of color were not visible in the earliest CI archival video footage.


Work-Study Scholarship

Interested in our Maximum Velocity Work-Study Scholarship? Read full details on our Scholarships + Work-Study page.

DEADLINE: rolling 


“CI (embodied) interrogates its own history” by Karen NelsonContact Quarterly (Nelson’s participatory research will continue at SFDI 2018, and has become a key anchor and lens for the Festival)




SFDI 2017

  • Intensives: Joe Goode, Angie Hauser, Hilary Clark, Andrew Marcus, I Moving Lab, Anya Cloud
  • Classes + Performances: Karen Nelson, Raja Feather Kelly, Mike Hodapp, Katherine Cook, Corrie Befort, John Dixon, Kris Wheeler, Chris Aiken, Sheri Cohen, Haruko Crow Nishimura, Alice Gosti, Tamin Totzke, Wobbly, Karen Daley, Ann Cooper, and more

SFDI 2016

  • Intensives: Bebe Miller, Darrell Jones, luciana achugar, Cathie Caraker, Krista DeNio, Stephanie Nugent with Shel Wagner Rasch
  • Classes + Performances: HIJACK, Morgan Thorson, Linda Austin, Cyrus Khambatta, Aaron Swartzman, Lila Hurwitz, Alia Swersky, Amy O, Victoria Jacobs, Douglas MacKenzie, Melanie Noel, Karen Nelson, Wobbly, Corrie Befort, Karen Daly, John + Anna Dixon, Katherine Cook, and more

SFDI 2015

  • Intensives: Ralph Lemon, Andrew de Lotbinère Harwood, Jennifer Monson, Joy Davis, Jimena Paz, Ronja Ver
  • Classes + Performances: Onye Ozuzu, Karen Nelson, Cathy Madden, Scott Davis, John Dixon, Katherine Cook, Nóra Hajós, Ralph Lemon/ Jennifer Monson, Joy Davis, Andrew de Lotbinière Harwood, Jimena Paz, Ronja Ver, Dani Tirrell, Sarah Gamblin, Michal Lahav, Jessica Jobaris/ Matt Drews, Corrie Befort

Questions? Please email Velocity Associate Producer Erin Johnson at erinjohnson@velocitydancecenter.org.