// 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: 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 class etiquette and dance technique while developing body awareness and comfort dancing in a group. We will also explore tactics to remember choreography by learning and building on phrases each week. Intro to dance sets you up to continue exploring contemporary dance classes, other dance forms, and to simply feel more comfortable on any dance floor.
Series 1: JAN 7-FEB 11 with SHANNON STEWART
Series 2: FEB 25- APRIL 1 with BRYON CARR
Series 3: APRIL 15-MAY 20 with SHANNON STEWART
Series 4: MAY 27-JULY 1 with BRYON CARR
Beginning Modern with Shannon Stewart: This class is appropriate for students with little or no dance training or those returning to dance after many years. It is based on the belief that dance is for everyone. Moving your body to music feels good, relieves stress, and makes life better. This contemporary technique class begins with simple exercises to strengthen your core, improve your alignment and build heat so you can safely move and stretch. The movement patterns will grow to take up more space, move you through the room and in and out of the floor. Each class ends with a fun repeatable phrase that allows you to incorporate technical exercises into lush, full body movement. With an interest in the highly physical, as well as the emotional, intellectual and nuanced aspects of dance, Shannon creates space for students to explore movement and challenge themselves in safe, non-judgemental environment. As a lifelong dancer with experience in film, music, theatre, politics, yoga and many somatic practices, Shannon’s class is perfect for athletes, yogis, musicians, actors, social dancers, activists, or performers of any sort who want to try something new and gain more awareness of their bodies.
Beginning Modern with Shirley Jenkins: Students learn 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 with Bryon Carr: This class encourages having fun and taking risks through full-bodied movement and a supportive community of dancers. Dancers develop strength, stamina, stability, and fluidity through phrasework that includes balancing on one leg, moving into and out of the floor, and jumping. Students are encouraged to think about dynamics and their relationship to space and music. Merging basic ballet vernacular with certain free-flowing, movement vocabulary, this class demonstrates that space itself is a support mechanism that can be utilized to attain particular movement objectives. Each class begins with floor work, plies, and sequences for the legs that prepare the dancers for classically influenced phrasework both on and off their centers. These phrases are compiled into a longer dance phrase at the class’s end, so that dancers can revisit all of the material when they are fully warmed up, and integrate what they’ve learned into a full experience of dancing.
Intermediate Modern with 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 with 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 with 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 with 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.
Intermediate/Advanced Modern with Mark Haim: A full-bodied and comprehensive modern technique class for intermediate to advanced dancers. Floor, center and lengthy phrase material. Laban/ Irene Dowd/ Alexander/ somatics incorporated into warmup material, usually through some form of improvisation. Three-dimensionality. Stretch. Volume. Strength. Multi-tasking. Imagination. Joy!
Advanced/Professional Modern with Jody Kuehner: For the highly trained dancer who already has a strong technique base. The flow-based class will keep you moving throughout promising ample time for big movement and artistic exploration. The class will be a container for the advanced body to explore concepts and train through a physical practice. This includes continuous flow, heat, complicated pathways, sequencing, moving from your spine, the separation of trunk and legs, inversions, stretch, strength and long intensive phrase work to end each class.
Advanced Modern with 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.
Advanced/Professional Contemporary with Kate Wallich: Class will be an accumulation of movement integration, sensation/awareness, and strength building. Lead in and out of various states of movement, we will focus on qualitative and dynamic research in the body. We will push to physical exhaustion and find balance inside of technique. Based of various practices of improvisations, we will touch on basic technical forms and approach these with a heightened sense of the self. We will play with dialoguing simple movement vocabularies to push towards a communicative body. This class is highly physical and we will learn material.
All Levels Contemporary Movement Research with Matt Drews: A movement incubator (both technical + improvisational) crafted to ignite union with your highest self. Evolving in verbal, musical, and spatial content this experience is designed for receptive hearts and hungry minds. Wander with curiosity between a fleshy gaga inspired dance practice, towards distilled aesthetic compositions to contextualize the body as a raw material. Invest in fearless dancing, cultivate gut instinct, utilize voice + vibration as impetus for movement, and generate individual + collective ritual as performance. This directed movement lab is emergent as it yields and expands to the artists who shape it by their presence. We will probe our endurance by exploiting our physical edge, approach collapse, and generate material from states of exhaustion and sensitivity. Then, question our limitations between physical, emotional, cerebral, and energetic. Traversing a conscious practice to investigate chaos, stillness, and move towards blissful embodiment.
Timeless Modern with 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.
Movement Jam with 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. For more info, join the Seattle Contact Improvisation email group or Facebook Group.
Beginning Ballet with Shannon Stewart: This class is appropriate for students with little or no ballet training or those returning to ballet after many years. It follows a traditional ballet class trajectory while opening up space for fun and exploration, breaking some ballet norms in order to not take our selves too seriously. Class begins with a warm up that focuses on foundational positions and exercises at the barre before moving into the center for combinations that build balance and strength while exploring different kinds of musicality. We’ll move across the floor waltzing, turning, leaping, and taking up lots of space. As a teacher, Shannon creates space for students to explore movement and challenge themselves in safe, non-judgemental environment. This ballet class offers a level of ritual and rigor for those students who appreciate the formality of ballet, balanced with a playful and curious mindset. Shannon’s class is perfect for athletes, yogis, musicians, actors, social dancers, activists, or performers of any sort who want to try something new and gain more awareness of their bodies.
Beginning Ballet with 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 with 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 with 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.
Intermediate/Advanced Ballet with Chris Montoya: I started teaching at the age of 18. For the first part of my teaching career I ended up teaching like the teachers that taught me, mean and ruthless. Over the years I have learned to refine my teaching style to figure out the rewards and challenges of teaching. When I walk into the studio, my goal is to help define a student’s technique and help them understand how their body moves. Teaching a ballet class, I try to mentor the student in proper alignment without trying to force turn out. As well, I would like to reexamine the main ideas and assumptions that build knowledge in ballet and help students gain new perspectives on ballet technique. My background in ballet is Vagonova and Balanchine techniques. My technique class, however, tends to be more of an American style class. Itry to create a positive learning experience that is challenging but not demeaning. The main objective of my class is to get everyone moving and help progress each individual to the next level while maintaining the enjoyment of the process. My method of coaching is through positive reinforcement. I am not there to tell you what you can or cannot do, I am there to help guide you to look at dance in a way that you may not have thought of. I believe that a class is only as good as the teacher. If you are willing and able to progress in dance then I am willing and able to guide you.
Advanced/Professional Ballet with 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 with 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.
Feldenkrais® Awareness Through Movement® with 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® with 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.
MIXXEDFIT® with Jessica Matsui: MixxedFit® is a people-inspired dance fitness program that is a perfect blend of explosive dancing and bootcamp inspired toning. Everything about our dance fitness program can be described as explosive – all of our movements are always big, exaggerated, full-out, and our very best. We dance to our favorite songs on the radio that we would dance to at a nightclub. Then, we spice things up by adding boot camp-inspired exercises to make your workout more effective and challenging. If you’re plateauing in your traditional dance fitness class, this might be the answer to your prayers. A traditional MixxedFit® class is 60 minutes in length and will get you to your fitness goals a lot quicker than just dancing alone. Why? Because the secret is in the toning that we incorporate. The best part of it all is that we tone using our own bodies. No equipment, no dumbbells, and no awkward toning contraptions! Our choreography is not complex and difficult. Our steps are repetitive and very easy to follow which means that our students can naturally increase their level of intensity during their workouts. We aim to keep our choreography simple. That way, our students can focus on “working out” rather than following dance steps. If you can do things like squats, jumping jacks, and shake that booty, you will have a blast in class.
Zumba® with 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 with 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 with 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
Intermediate/Advanced Jazz with Britta Peterson: Jazz dance is the reflection of the ever-evolving culture and music of the United States. In this class, we’ll navigate contemporary ideas of jazz movement and music, while creating connections to the form’s history and roots. Focusing on rhythm, musicality, and versatility, we’ll move our way through various jazz styles. By blending technical skill with artistry, dancers will find their own voice to add to the jazz lineage.
Intermediate Contemporary Jazz with Xaviera Vandermay: Combining elements from modern, jazz, and hip hop with a strong emphasis on musicality. This intermediate level class will includes a comprehensive warm up with emphasis on leg and core strengthening, progressions across the floor, and combination.
Beginning Odissi Dance with Ratna Roy: Odissi is a classical dance style from Eastern India. Tracing its origins to 2nd century BC, Odissi combines dance and theatre. The Beginning class focuses on the grammar and vocabulary of the dance through yoga stretches, exercises, footwork, eye-chin-neck coordinations, hand gestures (mudras), foot positions, and walks/gaits. The dance style works with the total body, including facial expressions and pranayama (yoga). top
West African with Etienne Capko + 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 with 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 with 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
DANCEPLAGUE with Jessica Rawlings: Inspired by the No Lights No Lycra party in NY this is a dance party for JUST DANCING. No red ropes, no spilled booze, no meat market, no dress code, no judging. JUST DANCING. Bring your best/worst moves, wear your favorite thing to move in (be that your pajamas, your fringed crop top, your grandma’s wig, whatever), and check your inhibitions at the door. We want this to be a safe space, so though you are gonna dance like no one’s watching, please respect people’s space, and mind your flailing elbows and stompin feet. top
Acting for Dancers with Jon Robbins: Theater and dance have many similarities as expressions of a single aesthetic instinct. Dance contains theatrical elements, and theater conveys messages through movement as well as words. Both are performance arts in which actors or dancers perform for an audience on a stage. Both take on the role of a theatrically articulated character that exists in some type of narrative story, explicit or implied. But while Dancers spend countless hours perfecting movement and form, unlike actors, they spend precious little time developing the character and its emotional context despite the fact that acting skills are often a critical part of dance. The purpose of this class is to provide aspiring dancers with the same skills as trained actors through a skill-based program that emphasizes exercises in improvisation, reflexive movement, pantomime, role playing, storytelling, breath control, vocal articulation, mental focus and concentration utilizing improvisation, diaphragmatic voice and breathing drills, theatre games and repetitive exercises. top