At noon this coming Saturday, June 15, the Seattle International Dance Festival (SIDF) will kick off its “Art on the Fly” street party in South Lake Union, with free performances (including local b-boy heroes Massive Monkees), open classes, bands, margaritas, and a beer garden. Even I, who will freely throw down dozens of dollars for a three-hour ballet in a chilly theater, am much happier about seeing dance if I can watch it while sitting on the grass with a keg cup in hand.
The two-weekend SIDF, produced by Khambatta Dance Company, melds professional dance culture—including an Inter|National series with performers from Israel, Guinea, and Ghana—with an easygoing summer atmosphere. The goal, in part, is to make Seattle’s aesthetically strong and varied dance world a little more welcoming to newcomers, seasoned professionals, and the rest of us in between.
SIDF’s “Spotlight on Seattle” series will offer a different perspective on Northwest choreographers Kiyon Gaines, Amy O’Neal, and Tere Mathern. Instead of performing, they will curate some of their favorite works by Beth Graczyk (of Salt Horse), Jody Kuehner (of Cherdonna and Lou), Danny Long (who weaves together ballet and African dance), and several others. “Spotlight” will give us an intriguing peek into the influences and preferences of the choreographer-curators.
The mysterious “Sanity Cafe,” a cabaret of new pieces based on themes picked by SIDF audiences, will wrap up the nine-day festival with a late-night event in a secret location. That’s another clever tactic in SIDF’s dance/party approach—people love to feel like they’re in on something.
For a full list of festival events, see seattleidf.org.