// 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 TO DANCE 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.
// Class Descriptions //
INTRO TO DANCE
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 6-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.
WEDNESDAY SERIES / WEDNESDAYS 6:15-7:45PM
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.
Beginning Modern with Kaitlin McCarthy: In this eclectic class, technique is used to access an articulate yet spontaneous sense of movement. Dancers are invited to find freedom and enjoyment within the framework of contemporary and modern techniques. Be in a supportive, easy-going atmosphere where people feel safe to start where they are, take risks, and wonder what really is possible. Class will include a steady warm-up, stretching + strengthening, improvisation and center and across-the-floor phrase work. In other words, expect a dynamic class where you are encouraged to dance with your full self!
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 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.
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. Leading in and out of various states of movement, we will focus on qualitative and dynamic research in the body. We will push toward physical exhaustion and find balance inside of technique. Based on various practices of improvisation, 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 movement material.
Advanced Contemporary: Laboratory + Technique with Tamin Totzke and Alia Swersky: Class offers a space to explore the pleasure and rigor of a rich physicality. We fully inhabit our artistic and technical selves through inspired disciplines, including improvisation, somatic traditions, modern techniques and contact improvisation. Warm-up blends sensation and imagery with movement specificity to articulate a versatile, physical efficiency. We then cover a vast terrain through solos, duets and group scores playing the dynamic tension between compositional design and movement diversity; sensation and detailed vocabulary; and intimacy and expanded awareness. Interweaving technique, scores, phrase-work, and partnering we access a full spectrum of tools and practices to advance the physical and imaginative boundaries of our dancing.
All Levels Contemporary Flow with Matt Drews: A movement incubator, both technical and improvisational, crafted to ignite union with your highest self. A fleshy gaga inspired dance experience to enliven healing and pleasure within your body. We begin as self propelling individuals towards a communicative body with communal awareness. We will experience our body as a conduit for many textures, images, states, and rhythms. Our heightened and available bodies will generate compositional perspectives towards connection. Then excavate our boundaries between physical, emotional, cerebral, and energetic. A conscious practice to investigate the complexities of being and move towards blissful embodiment. Mondays with an eclectic playlist curated by Matt Drews: electronic, ambient, hip-hop and pop styles collide to create highly groovy + accessible ride. Tuesdays [starting March 3rd] featuring a roster of celebrated Seattle composers + musicians to accompany class with a live set.
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.
Dance Church: A multi-faceted approach to technique with Kate Wallich: 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 through various movement states and cues (ie. shaking, softness, thickness). 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 is an hour and fifteen minutes of listening, exploring, acknowledging, and dancing to pop music. It’s like the dance party you wanted to have last night.
Improvisation with Noelle Chun (all levels): This class offers multiple trajectories of inquiry to support a variety of interests in improvisation. A general class structure might start with paying attention to the expansion of individual movement vocabularies and their conscious arrangement, then moving that attitude into group explorations. A practice in attention, awareness, and emergent composition; you practice being you and you practice being with others. All levels of movers are welcome to join!
Intro to Contact lmprovisation: Movement Jam with rotating faculty (all levels): Learn the basics of this partnering practice that revolutionized dance. Guidance on various Contact Improvisation principles provided. Stay afterwards for the Jam! Cost: $5 (includes the Jam)
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. Cost: $5 – $8 sliding scale.
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.
Beginning Ballet with Kaitlin McCarthy: Come learn the fun and rewarding practice of ballet! Traditional and not-so-traditional ballet exercises combine for a thoughtful, anatomically-aware workout while increasing grace, coordination, posture, and strength. Working through imagery and sensation, the class will build a solid foundation in basic ballet steps as well as working with musicality and developing skills for learning choreography. Emphasis will be on working toward individual goals—historied bodies encouraged to attend! Learn how ballet can serve busy adult lives: finding ease in range of motion, personal expression, and the joy of movement in a supportive and fun environment.
Beginning/Intermediate Ballet with Kyle Johnson: This class is designed for the beginner, or the advanced dancer who wants to hone the basics. Focus will be on proper alignment, musicality and phrasing, and making the most of our physicality, without putting unnecessary strain on our bodies.
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. 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 flexibility, strength, musicality, fluidity, phrasing, and, of course,the joy of moving!
Ballet Master Class Series with Stephanie Saland: Stephanie playfully offers classes that are ballet “revisited”… integrating the contemporary spirit with a historic form. The classes are a reflection of life… an ever changing and porous investigation. We create tasks and use unique images that help to understand anatomy. The lessons evolve around rich spatial and textural approaches and tools, Encouraging curiosity, and exploring risk is factored in. Sequences are patterned structurally and musically to awaken and maintain a taste for lush and precise articulation. Many of the exercises are woven with the work inventive work of Eva Nemeth, as well as other aspects from Qi Gong, Body Balancing and Gyrotonics. These influences play out quickly. Shifts and expansion are palpable. Focus and intention are honed.
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.
YOGA + SOMATICS
Yoga with Kathleen Hunt: Yoga Flow builds strength, stamina and flexibility. We will combine Vinyasa (flowing movement sequences) with slow, sustained stretches, refinement of alignment in held poses, as well as breath awareness and mental focus. In short it is a practice of moving meditation, which brings more clarity and peace. Yoga has been defined as ‘Awareness in Action’. We are reminded to listen to our bodies and enjoy the evolution of becoming fully present in the here and now.
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®.
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.
Street Dance Styles (Formerly Bottom Heavy Funk) with Amy O’Neal: Same class, new name! Amy has been teaching this class for over a decade and it remains one of the most popular classes Velocity! Come and learn the stylistic and cultural differences between Hip Hop (which is Breaking, Popping, Locking, and Party dances), House, Vogue, Whacking, Commercial Hip Hop, Street Jazz, and Amy’s signature amalgam of all of these things. Each month we focus on a different style so you get an opportunity to learn a set piece of choreography over 4 weeks. Warm up consists of dynamic stability exercises, isolations, rocking, bouncing, freestyling, and learning to feel the music. Come ready to bring yourself, have loads of fun, and sweat….a lot! Amy is an energetic and charismatic teacher who believes creativity is a birthright. She is passionate about empowering people to be in their body and own their uniqueness. These is an open level class geared toward the majority of the participants. Please wear sneakers where you can feel your feet in the floor and comfortable clothes that make you feel good!
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.
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).
West African with Sarah Lee: West African dance explores movement and cultural traditions from Guinea. Through her extensive training and 12 trips to Guinea, Sarah Lee, offers her knowledge from some of the best West African dancers and instructors in the world, including: Youssouf Koumbassa, Moustapha Bangoura, Alseny Bangoura, and Mamadama Camara,. Accompanied by live drumming, experience the infectious enthusiasm, playfulness, and generosity of spirit found in West African dance.
Magan African Contemporary (Modern) with Kokou Gbakenou: A technique, a concept, a philosophy, a practice and a life style. MAGAN means “I will heal myself”. It is the path to healing any discomfort, stress, weakness and qualm that one might have accumulated in the body and spirit. It is not just a workout routine and/or a relaxation technique to keep the body in shape. It is also a faith concept, hope and joy filled with positivity and respect towards all beings around us, harmony with environment and nature. MAGAN can be practiced by people of all ages without distinction of race, religious affiliation, occupation and social status. It has been said to also carry enormous therapeutic virtues and a true sense of responsibility for one’s health, focused on a meticulous work on the joints, muscles and specifically on the spine while using all the natural elements (water, fire, ground, air).
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
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