// Class Descriptions + Levels //
Velocity encourages dancers of all levels to reach their maximum potential. Instructors are highly experienced in their art and generous with their knowledge and encouragement in class. Instruction is geared toward motivating the individual student and encouraging personal exploration of movement. All classes at Velocity have a strong technical base but are eclectic in their style of movement expression. Drop-ins are welcome in all classes, unless otherwise noted.
WHAT’S MY LEVEL? Velocity instructors are happy to answer any questions or concerns you might have about your fit in a particular class. The level guidelines below are simply guidelines- we suggest that you try out a few classes to find one that best suits your needs.
INTRO SERIES - Designed for the true beginner with no prior dance experience.
ALL LEVELS - Mixed level class, accessible to dancers of all levels.
BEGINNING - For students with little or no prior movement experience.
SLOW INTERMEDIATE - For students with a grasp of basic movement and alignment concepts. An intermediary step between beginning and intermediate levels.
INTERMEDIATE - For students with a strong understanding of movement and alignment principals. Students should be physically and mentally ready for the challenge of more material, a faster paced class, and elements of risk in movement.
INTERMEDIATE ADVANCED - Appropriate for both intermediate and advanced dancers.
ADVANCED - For students with a high level of proficiency and understanding of movement and alignment concepts, who are ready for a deeper development of their personal expression as dancers.
PROFESSIONAL/ADVANCED - Velocity was founded with the goal to offer daily professional level dance classes to the Seattle dance community. 16 years later we still offer daily morning class by locally + nationally recognized teachers.
**Velocity classes are open to all students 16 years of age and older. **Most instructors offer class cards for multiple classes at a reduced rate. See individual instructors for details. **There is no specific dress code or foot wear; just wear comfortable clothes you can move in. Socks or bare feet are fine for most classes.
Intro to Dance w/ Ricki Mason: Are you interested in dance but not sure where to start? Have you taken a beginning ballet or modern class and wondered if there was a MORE beginning level? Are you intimidated to drop into an ongoing class? This 5 week series is for you! Learn basic dance vocabulary used in Velocity’s ongoing ballet and modern classes with other students who have no previous dance experience. You will learn basic dance technique while developing body awareness and comfort dancing in a group. We will also examine tactics for remember choreography as each class culminates with a simple dance phrase. Moving to music is fun and the more you know about using your body, the more fun it is! This class will prepare you to join any beginning level dance class at Velocity. Email Ricki@rickimason.com for more info and to register. NEXT SESSION TUESDAYS 8-9:30PM, MAY 7 – JUNE 4, $70 for full session.
Beginning Modern w/ Ricki Mason: This class is appropriate for students with little or no dance training. This contemporary dance class is built on the fundamental principal that moving your body to music feels good. Class begins with a simple warm up to improve alignment, build strength, and access each student’s range and flexibility. We will continue to experience our expressive and communicative bodies in lush movement across the floor and center phrase material that is unique to Ricki’s eclectic style. Ricki integrates an intelligent approach to body mechanics with a theatrical sense of musicality, making this the perfect class for actors, social dancers, burlesque performers, and people who think moving around to music is fun.
Beginning Modern w/ Shirley Jenkins teaches students how to move in an anatomically correct way while encouraging their dancing spirits. Her movement is lyrical, rhythmic, romantic, sensual and musical while teaching one to have a strong center. Attention is given to pelvic stabilization and core strengthening while she guides you through a well-crafted dance technique class filled with creative imagery and inspiring music. Throughout her 36 years as a professional choreographer/performer/instructor, Shirley has developed her own artistic voice, inspired by Modern Masters and her knowledge of somatic work. Her priority is to help train dancers to understand sound technique; how to plié without hurting the knees but instead increase support to the joints, how to dance with your torso without injuring your lower back but instead strengthen the spinal and abdominal muscles, how to stretch to increase range of motion and how to understand good form as you move. You will learn how to dance fluidly with an expressive, poetic spirit. The environment is generous and welcoming for all.
Beginning Modern w/ Kristin Hapke is designed for beginning students who want to learn basic technique, have fun dancing to world music and be expressive with their bodies. Through a continuous warm-up incorporating Yoga, Pilates, fundamentals, we will get the blood pumping, strengthen and stretch the body focusing on alignment and fluidity. The across the floor and center combinations will include jumps, spirals, inversions and suspensions cultivating fluidity and momentum. Building on different aspects of technique influenced by forerunners of Modern dance, Ballet, African and improvisation, this class aims to give a solid foundation for other levels and styles of dance.
Intermediate Modern w/ Ellie Sandstrom: By finding the form of our deepest breath to following it’s flow for movement potential, this class asks the students to safely let go and enjoy the journey through their bodies. Classes usually begin with breathing exercises, solo or partner “discoveries”, small improvisational scores and body work. Core strengthening exercises inspired by Graham technique, Cunningham technique, Ballet, Jazz, Pilates, Yoga, Tai Chi, Hip Hop and even Jane Fonda- help the students find support from their center of gravity. Using these grounding tools from various techniques, class builds along with the challenge- mentally and physically, ending with juicy, full bodied movement phrases that remind the students to let go in order to find the flow. Come have fun in this safe environment of body/mind connection
Intermediate Modern w/ Maya Soto: Explores rhythm and dynamics inspired by a wide range of movement styles and genres. Class starts on the floor with breath; connecting to the core and building strength. Drawing heavily on release, flow and momentum, dancers are challenged to shift weight quickly, isolate body parts and move bigger, stronger and faster. This class is geared toward dancers with a solid movement background and understanding of alignment principals. Emphasis is placed on finding a unique voice through exciting movement combinations.
Intermediate/Advanced Modern w/ Aiko Kinoshita: Challenge your-self to go deeper into movement material; making conscious choices in timing, energetic quality, and physical tone. Practice being present in the moment; sensing and following intuition, challenging habits, negotiating between tension and release, and expanding your range of expressivity. Find play, joy and ease as you practice physical, spatial and performative sensitivity with attention to breath and detail in this class which takes you upside down, in and out of the floor, and through more traditional aspects of line, extension, and placement. Following a simple warm-up emphasizing specificity, connectivity and articulation of the body, explore phrases full of motion, layering gesture with full-bodied movement. Be prepared for a work out!
Intermediate/Advanced Contemporary Technique w/ Amy O’Neal: A thorough and focused class for the curious tapping into the body’s innate stability and movement patterns. A simple and effective warm-up to build connection, strength, and awareness is followed by improvisation work with imagery and technical play. Phrase work focuses on musicality, attention to detail, and challenging ideas of aesthetics. The container if Contemporary dance is broad and constantly evolving. Deepen your ability to commit to the ever changing moment. For over a decade, Amy O has been known for mixing and sampling in her dance vocabulary to create a unique and true language of her physical experience. She is inspired by Hip Hop, classicism, club dance forms, Japanese traditional forms, African traditional forms, codified Modern forms, and the teaching methods of Emio Greco, David Zambrano, Kathleen Hermesdorf, Crystal Pite, Ohad Naharin, Wade Madsen, Rennie Harris, Douglas Ridings, and Eric Pranzarone.
Advanced/Professional Modern w/ Jody Kuehner: for the highly trained dancer who already has a strong technique base. One part improvisation and one part movement material, the class will focus on phrase work. Designed with no true front, the material will traverse the space as if dancing in the round incorporating advanced level concepts such as focus, body specificity and momentum among others. The flow-based class will keep you moving throughout promising ample time for big movement and artistic exploration.
Advanced Contemporary Practice w/ KT Niehoff: The intellectual goal of this class is to cultivate unique artists interested in artistic dialogue. The physical goals are maximum joint range of motion, rebounding in relationship to gravity, and the investigation of directional energy’s correlation to expansion, counter tension, momentum and torque. We practice the balance of having an inner dialogue with the biology while maintaining an external awareness, and contextualize the political, personal and artistic meaning behind *why* we move, to find a deeper resonance *when* we move.
Advance Modern Technique/ New Rep w/ Kristin Hapke: Want to delve further into the rigor of technique, investigate new choices and dance with power and ease? This class is designed for the advanced student who wants to deepen thesomatic understanding of their bodies, enhance their palette of expressive choices, take greater risks and explore new choreographic/improvisational strategies. Highly influenced by somatics, Yoga, Release technique, and qi gong, the class will cultivate the body’s energies to work in harmony with power, ease and release. Across the floor and center combinations with include spirals, inversions and suspensions that examine unpredictable spatial pathways and the use of interruption for dynamic shifts. In addition, dance phrases from a new choreographic work will be introduced and manipulated using various improvisational strategies. We will work technically and experientially to deepen the awareness of our artistry and embodiment.
Advanced Modern w/ Wade Madsen: In Wade’s Advanced Modern class students learn to develop keener awareness of their bodies, beginning on the floor with subtle movements of the pelvis and moving into core strength and full body connections. When the class moves to standing, it follows a vigorous and recurring movement structure for spinal mobility and strength. Ongoing standing exercises set the class in motion. Wades class addresses strength, stamina, and flexibility and finds its roots in momentum and multiple articulations. The final combinations, challenge the mind and the body, and develop students’ endurance. Advanced dancers have been training in Wade’s class for more than a decade and a half, keeping the level high and providing opportunities for peers to push one another in a supportive environment.
Timeless Modern w/ Shirley Jenkins: For the ‘Forever Dancing Spirit’, Shirley designed her class after/during recovery from cancer, back surgery and hip replacement. Throughout her distinguished 36+ year dance career, Shirley has developed her own artistic voice, inspired by modern dance masters and the knowledge of somatics. Her movement is lyrical, rhythmic, romantic, sensual and musical. Attention is given to pelvic stabilization and core strengthening while she guides you through a well-crafted dance experience. This class is popular with artists who danced professionally for many years, or are returning to dance after many years of hiatus. The level is Intermediate with an advanced understanding of quality and form. All are welcome.
Dance Church: A multi-faceted approach to technique w/ Kate Wallich: Inspired by the practices of Ohad Naharin, William Forsythe, Crystal Pite, and Zoe Scofield among many others, this class is tailored not only for the highly trained dancer but also to those who have little or no training. Based on a series of images and metaphors, the class is lead in and out of various states of movement focusing on the qualitative and dynamic research of the body. While we attempt to push beyond aesthetics, we are also able to bring awareness to our habitual bodies, noticing without judgment how we move as individuals and within a group. The class culminates into an hour and fifteen minutes of listening, exploring, acknowledging, and grooving.
Movement Jam w/ rotating faculty: The Contact Improvisation Sunday jam is an open event, welcoming everyone. It has been happening around the world since 1985, and typically includes people across a broad range of experience. It’s not a class, but usually includes people happy to explore at whatever level, discuss questions, and if asked, provide guidance. If you’re willing to explore in order to find your way, the jam is a great opportunity to practice and enjoy contact improvisation. top
Beginning Ballet w/ Ricki Mason: This class is appropriate for students with little or no ballet training. Ricki takes an eclectic approach to ballet technique, using a variety of contemporary music styles to inspire dance that feels great. Following a traditional ballet class format, we will begin developing alignment and articulation at the barre, and then move into the center of the room for yummy adagios, quick twitch petite allegros, earthy waltzes, and big glamorous jumps. Ricki integrates an intelligent approach to body mechanics with a theatrical sense of musicality, making this the perfect class for actors, social dancers, burlesque performers, and people who think moving around to music is fun.
Beginning Ballet w/ Ellie Sandstrom: This class is for those that are new to Ballet, those who have distanced themselves from the technique and those that come to class weekly! This class always has a great, multi-dimensional vibe about it, created by the people who attend — join us for a fantastic work out! Ellie stays true to the regime of the “learned discipline” of a Ballet class, whether it’s at the barre, in the center or moving across the floor. As a teacher, she enjoys finding the balance of the strict, ‘set’ exercises found in Ballet technique and the emotional realities of the ever-changing, adult day. By blending the physical body with the mind, the heart and the soul, it is possible to create an emotional, strong, energized and well-balanced dancer. Everyone is welcome in this safe environment of physical challenge. The amazing Jim Kent joins the class live on the piano each week.
Intermediate Ballet for Contemporary Dancers w/ Rosa Vissers: This intermediate ballet class is ideal for dancers with prior ballet experience or contemporary dancers who would like to further develop their ballet chops. It is also a great class if you have taken a break and would like to return to dance. Drawing on both classical and contemporary ballet traditions, Rosa offers a dynamic, lighthearted class, with an emphasis on developing precision, musicality, creativity, and strength. We will expand and fine-tune our ballet vocabulary at the barre and in the center (mais oui!), explore dynamic alignment principles and simply enjoy moving with clarity and freedom. Rosa’s no-nonsense approach to dance encourages you to work smart and hard within the framework of the ballet tradition. If you enjoy an energetic class, with exercises ranging from quick to fast, small and controlled, to large, sweeping combos, this class is for you.
Intermediate Ballet for Contemporary Dancers w/ Mark Haim: Ground your modern and release with fluency in classical technique. This class works for advanced dancers as well as dancers with a good working knowledge of ballet. It can also be a recovery program for those with unpleasant past experiences in ballet. Here, we dance first, perfect ourselves second. Or maybe even third. We dance to a variety of music-—classical, contemporary, solo instrumental, orchestral—and have a great time working on musicality, fluidity, phrasing, and, of course, placement.
More than Ballet | Int/Advanced Ballet w/ Karn Junkinsmith: Find your mental and physical center and integrate ballet into everyday life with born teacher Karn Junkinsmith. Class is geared toward the intermediate/advanced student, with special attention paid to differing levels and body types. Class moves from a grounded, fluid barre, through petit to grand allegro, ending with vigorous original combinations across the floor. Class focuses on musicality, grace, purity of line, logic and incorporating ballet lessons into daily life (and vice versa). Instructor Karn Junkinsmith has been teaching, performing and making various artwork for decades. Accompanied on piano by Erin Jorgensen, Seattle’s resident “punk rock marimbist,” this class is a non-threatening, challenging and occasionally hilarious experience. Challenge old thought processes, find that body/mind connection and re-ignite your love for ballet.
Advanced/Professional Ballet w/ Natascha Greenwalt: This class offers the professional or advanced dancer an explorative approach to classical ballet technique that is both rigorous and supportive where you are encouraged in artistic risk taking, independent thinking and qualitative discovery all the while developing effective moment patterning, and building a supple and articulated body. Natascha utilizes principles from the GYROTONIC® Expansion System, improvisation, and contemporary dance to augment ballet class in a way that is fresh but maintains a traditional class structure. top
YOGA + SOMATICS
Yoga w/ Douglas Ridings: According to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, yoga is a state of mental steadiness. This is potentially more accessible if the physical body is also stable as well as comfortable, and the breath is long and smooth. As a practitioner and teacher I employ a wide variety of Hatha and Tantrik Yoga techniques and also draw heavily from my background as a dancer in the construction of dynamic vinyasa and as a source of coordination and concentration practices. The developmental effect of this practice is intended to be the cultivation of Sattva Guna (a quality of mind which is balanced and illuminated).
Yoga Behind Bars w/ Gwendolyn Payton: Join us for a rewarding and challenging condioning-infused yoga class. Build strength, flexibility, balance, coordination and agility, while gaining focus and clarity. We provide individualized attention that focuses on correct alignment and personal growth. All proceeds from this class go to benefit Yoga Behind Bars: yogabehindbars.com
Feldenkrais® Awareness Through Movement® w/ Lila Hurwitz: The Feldenkrais Method® is a subtle and powerful system of neuromuscular re-education that evokes changes in muscular tone, flexibility, coordination, attention, and the comfort and efficiency of movement. Remind yourself of the brilliant and effortless ways your body is designed to move. It’s scientific and sumptuous! Great for all levels of experience, dancers and non-dancers. Read more about Feldenkrais®.
GYROKINESIS® w/ Shannon Stewart: Developed by a professional dancer for dancers seeking long and healthy careers, Gyrokinesis is a movement system that has since been adapted for movers of all ages and levels. Gyrokinesis deepens our understanding of core strength to include qualities of suppleness, length and expansion. In this class, we will move through the fundamental exercises of Gyrokinesis–including the seven natural elements of spinal movement while also addressing all other joint articulations and ongoing deep abdominal engagement. This class serves as a great warm up for ballet or a rehearsal, can act as a beneficial supplement to yoga and other athletic endeavors, and just a good way to start your weekend. It is helpful to bring a mat or something soft to use as padding for work on the floor.
Zumba® w/ Melanie Skinner: When participants see a Zumba class in action, they can’t wait to give it a try. Zumba classes feature exotic rhythms set to high-energy Latin and international beats. Before participants know it, they’re getting fit and their energy levels are soaring! There’s no other fitness class like a Zumba Fitness-Party. It’s easy to do, effective and totally exhilarating, often building a deep-rooted community among returning students. top
Bottom Heavy Funk w/Amy O’Neal: A non-intimidating approach to Hip-Hop, street, club dance. This class will begin with exercises in body isolation, core strength, and rhythm to prepare us for funked out, bottom heavy, full-bodied, and intricate movement set to and completely inspired by Hip-Hop, Soul, Funk, and R& B music. This is an open level class and will be geared toward the level of the majority of participants. Please wear sneakers that enable you to feel your feet in the floor. Come prepared to be yourself, have fun, and get down and dirty.
Hip Hop for Contemporary Dancers w/ Markeith: This class is geared towards the already body-concious mover. You will learn breakdancing, popping and krumping techniques and discover how to train, access and strengthen the fast twitch muscles used in hip hop. Dress comfortably with a good pair of street shoes. Get ready to sweat and get your groove on.
Hip Hop w/ Jaret Hughes: Learn to move and groove with just the basics. Learn today’s hottest Hip Hop moves with an occassional old skool flare including progressions across the floor. This high energy, intense class is sure to get you movin and groovin and not to mention…SWEATIN!!!! Dress comfortably in non-restrictive clothing and sneakers. top
Beginning Odissi Dance w/ Ratna Roy: Odissi is a classical dance style from Eastern India. Tracing its origins to 2nd century BC, Orissi combines dance and theatre. The Beginning class focuses on the grammar and vocabulary of the dance through exercises, footwork, eye-chin-neck coordinations, and hand gestures (mudras). It works with the total body, including facial expressions. top
West African w/Sarah Lee: West African dance explores movement and cultural traditions from Senegal and Guinea. Through her extensive training and 8 trips to Guinea, Sarah Lee, offers her knowledge from some of the best West African dancers and instructors in the world, including: Alseny Bangoura, Mamadama Camara, Aly Mara and Sorel Conte. Accompanied by live drumming, experience the infectious enthusiasm, playfulness, and generosity of spirit found in West African dance. top
Newcomer Blues w/Burn Blue: Blues dance is a partner dance that emphasizes improvisation, connection, and expression of the music. It is danced primarily to blues music and has roots in African-American vernacular dance. In the past 10 years, blues dance has surged in popularity throughout the US and Europe. This class will give you the basics of rhythm and lead/follow so that you can experience the joy of blues dancing as soon as your first night. No partner required and no experience necessary. Class is followed by a dance which is free to class participants. burnblue.org
Experienced Blues w/Burn Blue: If you have been blues dancing for a while, or if you are an experienced partner dancer, join us for the experienced lesson. This drop-in is taught by a rotating cast of excellent local and national teachers. It explores specific movements or concepts of the dance. A class might examine rhythm, turn technique, improvisation in partnership, blues aesthetic, advanced figures, etc. These classes will expose you to the diverse elements of blues dance as you build and refine your repertoire of movement. No partner required. Class is followed by a dance which is free to class participants. burnblue.org top