// Class Descriptions + Levels //

class descriptions velocity

PHOTO JOSEPH LAMBERT

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. 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 for 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 guideline. 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—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 principles. 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.
  • Advanced/Professional—Velocity was founded with the goal to offer daily professional level dance classes to the Seattle dance community. Sixteen years later, we still offer daily classes by locally and nationally recognized teachers.

Velocity classes are open to all students 15 years of age and older.

There is no specific dress code or footwear; just wear comfortable clothes you can move in. Socks or bare feet are fine for most classes.

Children are welcome to watch some classes; look for the Kid-Friendly label below associated class descriptions.

Class Index

INTRO SERIES
INTRO TO DANCE: CONTEMPORARY MODERN* with Maya Soto
INTRO TO DANCE: CONTEMPORARY MODERN* with Leslie Kraus
INTRO TO DANCE: MIXED MODERN, HIP-HOP, BALLET with KJ Dye
INTRO TO DANCE: HIP-HOP* with Jaret Hughes
INTRO TO DANCE: HIP-HOP* with Michael O’Neal Jr.
INTRO TO DANCE: HIP-HOP* with Zsa Mae
INTRO TO DANCE: WEST AFRICAN* with Sarah Lee Parker

AFRICAN
WEST AFRICAN with Naihla Harris

BALLET
BEGINNING BALLET with Kaitlin McCarthy
INTERMEDIATE BALLET with Mark Haim

HIP-HOP
HIP-HOP with Jaret Hughes
INTERMEDIATE HIP-HOP with Jaret Hughes
STREET STYLES with Michael O’Neal Jr.

MODERN/CONTEMPORARY
3RD SHIFT DANCE: CONTEMPORARY JAZZ with Xaviera Vandermay
ADVANCED/PROFESSIONAL CONTEMPORARY with Christiana Axelsen
ADVANCED/PROFESSIONAL CONTEMPORARY with Daniel Costa
ADVANCED/PROFESSIONAL CONTEMPORARY with Jody Kuehner
ADVANCED/PROFESSIONAL CONTEMPORARY with Stephanie Liapis
ADVANCED/PROFESSIONAL CONTEMPORARY with Kate Wallich
ADVANCED/PROFESSIONAL MODERN with Kim Holloway
AU COLLECTIVE CLASS with Au Collective
BEGINNING MODERN with Kaitlin McCarthy
CI FUNDAMENTALS with Rotating Faculty
CREATIVE / PROCESS SERIES with Rotating Faculty
DANCE CHURCH with Kate Wallich
DANCE HEALING with Hayley Shannon
INTERMEDIATE MODERN with Maya Soto
MOVEMENT JAM with rotating faculty

ODISSI
BEGINNING ODISSI DANCE with Ratna Roy

STRENGTHENING
ASS: A STRENGTHENING CLASS with Kate Wallich

VOGUE

YOGA + SOMATICS
FELDENKRAIS AWARENESS THROUGH MOVEMENT with Sarah Huntting
GYROKINESIS® with Tabitha Steger
PUNK PRAYERS with Syniva Whitney
YOGA with Kathleen Hunt

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 an even more beginning level? Are you intimidated to drop into an ongoing class? The Intro to Dance 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 modern 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.

INTRO TO DANCE: CONTEMPORARY MODERN with Leslie Kraus
My Intro to Dance class teaches the basics of ballet and modern techniques in a relaxed and friendly classroom environment. I am a firm believer that everyone can dance, and for those that want to dance with a bit more information and structure in these Western techniques, this class gently introduces movement phrases and simple choreography that stretch, strengthen, and stimulate both your body and mind. I particularly love teaching absolute beginners; it is quite an honor to be one of the first teachers in someone’s life as they embark on a dance journey. My classroom is a place that invites people of all races, ages, genders, religions, or sexualities, and it is important to me that the environment of the class is inclusive and supportive of everyone.

INTRO TO DANCE: MIXED MODERN, HIP-HOP, BALLET with KJ Dye
If you’re ready to have fun, this class is for you! Over the course of the series, we will focus on the basic elements and techniques of modern, ballet, jazz and hip hop, as we explore how the body moves through space, allowing students to immediately feel connected physically and emotionally.  Students will progress through each class, developing body awareness, correct alignment, strength, and increased flexibility. This easy to follow class uses imagery, allowing students to understand and connect with the movement as we learn upbeat and fun choreographic phrases. This class exists to be a positive and safe space to inspire and support risk taking. Class will become our ritual. We will set intentions and always thank our bodies for dancing.

INTRO TO DANCE: HIP-HOP with Michael O’Neal Jr.
This series will focus on party/social dances—Roger rabbit, Patty Duke, Running man, Groove, freestyle/improv, basic breaking—and will also have choreography mixed in. The class will share some history of hip-hop dance and culture and is a welcoming and safe space for all. 

BALLET

BEGINNING BALLET with Kaitlin McCarthy
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. The fun, supportive environment is perfect for the beginning dancer looking to tackle new steps, or the experienced looking to hone their technique. This class celebrates ballet’s rich theatrical history with choreography that encourages a broad range of dramatic expression and unbridled, joyous dancing!
Kid-Friendly

INTERMEDIATE BALLET 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, and 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!
Kid-Friendly 

HIP-HOP

HIP-HOP with Jaret Hughes
Learn to move and groove with just the basics. Learn today’s hottest hip-hop moves with an occasional 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.
Kid-Friendly

INTERMEDIATE HIP-HOP with Jaret Hughes
This class takes all the elements from the all-levels hip-hop class and turns it up a few notches! Learn more intricate, musicality-driven choreography taught at a slightly faster pace. If you’d like more of a challenge, this class is for you. Prior dance experience strongly recommended but not required.

STREET STYLES with Michael O’Neal Jr.
Class draws movement from street styles Majinn has trained in or been influenced by (breaking, popping, locking, house, waacking etc), as well as from other styles he has trained in such as contemporary and ballet dance. Class movement is heavily influenced by the beats, tone, and lyrics of the music used while still allowing for students to add their own personal individuality to the foundation/choreography. Every three weeks or so there will be a new set of choreography or foundational street styles movement to new music which will vary in movement and feeling. Warm up consists of dynamic stability exercises, isolations, freestyling, and more. Class may end with a freestyle/improv circle of everyone having fun and vibing with one another if they choose to do so. Come ready to be yourself, have fun, and challenge yourself! This class is a safe space and is welcoming of all people.

MODERN/CONTEMPORARY

3RD SHIFT DANCE: CONTEMPORARY JAZZ with Xaviera Vandermay
3rd Shift Dance is a contemporary jazz company directed by Seattle choreographer Xaviera Vandermay. Based on Capitol Hill, 3rd Shift Dance aims to provide its dancers with the best possible range of opportunities; on stage, on camera, and beyond. 3rd Shift Dance has been presented at MixMatch Dance Festival (Los Angeles); Galaxy Dance Festival (Portland); On the Boards; Seattle International Dance Festival; Seattle RAW Artists; Seattle Art Museum; the CW television show “Band in Seattle;” onstage with live music by Fly Moon Royalty, VASSY, Whitney Mongé, The Bad Tenants, Caela Bailey, Dark Hips Fall, Adra Boo, Naomi Wachira, Mike illvester, and Future Shock; and in music videos for Naomi Wachira, Caela Bailey, Thunderpussy, Shabazz Palaces, and Vespera. In this open company class, dancers will be lead through a thorough, upbeat warm up, progressions, and learn past and current repertoire from the 3rd Shift Dance vault. Come Embrace the Shift Mondays at 8pm!

ADVANCED/PROFESSIONAL CONTEMPORARY with Christiana Axelsen
This is a technique class. One of those classes that you take to get yourself all warm and ready for the day. There are tendus. There are rond de jambes. Legs go into the air. Maybe there will be jumps. It is a meditative, repetitive, rhythmic, nourishing, and physically joyful wonderland for dancers who just want to dance.

ADVANCED/PROFESSIONAL CONTEMPORARY with Daniel Costa
This contemporary dance class focuses on bold dancing with an attention to fine details, heightening our sensory awareness, and encouraging voluminous dancing. We will begin by slowly awakening our systems and increasing perception of all six limbs and their tactility on the floor, incorporating psychomechanical principles based on the Alexander Technique and Body Mind Centering®. Our approach will assist in opening our joints, help us discover advantages of momentum, and build our strength and flexibility when we repeat phrasing and add on new material. We will conclude with full-bodied and vigorous movement that challenges our ability to maneuver swift changes in direction and space. Phrase work will utilize principles from class—featuring segmented and successive sequencing in and out of the floor—creating a boneless appearance and a loose-limbed, articulate style. Expect somatic exercises, conditioning, floor-work, improvisation and technical exercises that encourage strong locomotion within a grounded movement vocabulary.

ADVANCED/PROFESSIONAL CONTEMPORARY with Jody Kuehner
This technique class will begin with a warm-up that builds heat in the body through continuous flow. We will strengthen the stabilizing muscles of the pelvis, work through concepts of widening and narrowing, use elements of Ashtanga yoga to stretch as well as prepare for inversions. The class will be a container for the advanced body to explore these concepts and train through a physical practice. We will get on our hands and work various inversions across the floor. Movement material at the end of class will focus on spinal articulation, complicated sequencing, low and wide weight shifting, and floor work, all set to pop music for fun!

ADVANCED/PROFESSIONAL CONTEMPORARY TECHNIQUE with Stephanie Liapis
Stephanie’s class is based in release technique and highly influenced by her work with Doug Varone & Dancers. Class begins with a guided improvisation investigating ideas of weight, effort level, and sensation. The aim is to help students increase awareness of both intrinsic motivations as well as the body’s relationship to space. These concepts are further explored and developed through more traditionally-structured exercises. Students are asked to move boldly and physically, finding ease in the joints and committing to the movement task at hand. Class culminates with a vigorous, high-energy movement phrase.

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/PROFESSIONAL MODERN with Kim Holloway
Kim’s Advanced Modern class cultivates an inclusive environment while simultaneously seeking excellence and the furthering of our physical, dancing, and artistic selves. We seek freedom of movement within technique, and use its clarity and structure to stretch past our usual limits. We begin on the floor slowly, awakening sensation and awareness, taking the time to map our body and its needs. As we build heat, we move to standing and find articulation of the spine and limbs through conventional exercises. Class culminates with a fun, dance-it-out phrase focusing on momentum, extremes of dynamic, expression, and articulation throughout the whole, connected body.
Kid-Friendly

AU COLLECTIVE CLASS with Au Collective
Au Collective highlights the voices of people of color, queer people, womxn, and femmes. This open collective class at Velocity is taught in a skill-sharing format designed to receive movers of all skills and backgrounds, encouraging them to try something new in a warm and supportive environment. Each week highlights the professional dance knowledge and training of a different Au Collective instructor. Class is community-oriented and open-level for a $0–$15 sliding scale studio fee. Past classes have focused on contemporary modern, heels hip-hop, MixxFit, and popping.  Follow Au Collective on Instagram and Facebook to see who is teaching that week and what their style specialty is.

BEGINNING MODERN with Kaitlin McCarthy
Work your brain, body, and artistic spirit in this enlivening start to your weekend! An organic, easy-to-follow warm-up integrating strength-building, healthy alignment, and dance concepts will help students move with freedom both on the dance floor and in everyday life. This class focuses on applying concepts of weight, energy, rhythm, and momentum to choreographic phrases. A new combination is taught each week and students are given tools for learning phrase-work and inviting artistic expression. Through use of images and sequence, you can learn fun and dynamic choreography, even as a beginner. This class fuses a broad and eclectic mix of techniques that will prepare students to springboard into any dance form that piques their interest.
Kid-Friendly

CI FUNDAMENTALS with Rotating Faculty

CREATIVE / PROCESS SERIES with Rotating Faculty

DANCE CHURCH with Kate Wallich
Dance Church is an all-abilities movement class that offers a fun, nonexclusive approach to dancing. Designed for people of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and identities, Dance Church is a communal space for everyone who wants to move their body. No previous training is required, but open-mindedness is a prerequisite. Over the course of 90 minutes, Kate guides the class in a series of movement cues, accompanied by a curated playlist of multi-genre pop music. The group listens, explores, laughs, and sweats together. From the elation of exhaustion to the stillness of a daydream, Dance Church is a physical wild ride. The mirrors are covered, the lighting is dim, and the music is loud. The format is open; there is no front. This is the dance party you wish you had last night. Dance Church was created by Kate Wallich in 2010.

“Real church has nothing on Velocity’s Dance Church”­—Katie Herzog, The Stranger, “I went to Dance Church and danced in the dark at Velocity”

DANCE HEALING with Hayley Shannon
Rooted in the philosophy of dance as a non-judgmental gateway to connect authentically to ourselves and others, Open Contemporary invites movers of all backgrounds to build their dance toolset in support of personal agency and creative expression through the body. Class includes somatic embodiment practices, movement fundamentals and strengthening, improvisation explorations, and phrase work. As an open-level class, each class will be adapted to those present. Inclusive to people of all physical bodies and backgrounds.

INTERMEDIATE MODERN TECHNIQUE with Maya Soto
Class starts on the floor with breath, connecting to the core and building strength. Drawing heavily on flow and momentum, dancers are challenged to shift weight quickly; isolate body parts; and move bigger, stronger, and faster. Focus is placed on understanding and maintaining healthy alignment while moving. This class flows through traditionally structured exercises and guided improvisations inspired by release and countertechnique principles. Solid technical practice is paired with individual exploration. The dialogue between work and play is important. Increased spinal mobility, range of motion, articulation, and specificity are the goals. Class culminates with fun, challenging phrases that emphasize rhythmic dynamics and artistic expression. This class is geared toward dancers with a solid movement background.
Kid-Friendly

MOVEMENT JAM with Rotating Faculty
The Contact Improvisation jam on Sundays is an open event welcoming everyone. It has been happening around the world since 1985, and typically includes people with broad ranges 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.

ODISSI

BEGINNING ODISSI DANCE with Ratna Roy
Odissi is a classical dance style from Eastern India. Tracing its origins to second century BC, Odissi combines dance and theatre. This beginning-level class focuses on the grammar and vocabulary of the dance through yoga stretches, exercises, footwork, eye-chin-neck coordination, hand gestures (mudras), foot positions, and walks/gaits. The dance style works with the total body, including facial expressions and pranayama (yoga).
Kid-Friendly 

“…a challenging, beautiful and fascinating way to move.”—Nicole Tsong, Seattle Times ,“Classical Indian Dance works your body and your brain” [spacer height=”20px”] 

YOGA + SOMATICS

FELDENKRAIS AWARENESS THROUGH MOVEMENT with Sarah Huntting
Awareness Through Movement lessons are for anyone who wants to reconnect to their natural ability to move. Each class is designed to expand your sensory awareness and ability to coordinate movement. you’ll discover where you get stuck, lost or use excess effort to move. You’ll learn to refine a more efficient and elegant way of moving as you roll, reach, spiral, and find your way to standing, walking, and moving through life. No experience necessary. Wear comfortable clothing to move in.

GYROKINESIS® with Tabitha Steger
The GYROKINESIS® movement method was developed to increased strength, flexibility, range of motion, and our sense of calm and well-being. One begins the class on a stool, awakening the senses to then move into rhythmic sequences tapping into the deep muscles close to the bones. The class moves to the mat with gentle exercises that target the typically weaker muscles of the body. While this class was originally designed for dancers, it is for all ages and abilities and can be easily modified for new movers.

PUNK PRAYERS with Syniva Whitney
Queer guided meditations, yoga for all levels, dance exercises to shake off the haters, a qtpoc led event for all interested humans. PUNK PRAYERS welcomes whispers and screams, the sacred and profane, the soft hearted and the hardcore.

YOGA with Kathleen Hunt
Yoga Flow builds strength, stamina, and flexibility and combines Vinyasa (flowing movement sequences) with slow, sustained stretches, refinement of alignment in held poses, as well as breath awareness and mental focus. 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. All levels welcome.