DANCE This ignites the passion of a multicultural arts community

copyy Christopher Nelson photo

One of Sidney Deering's favorite memories from STG's annual DANCE This performance happened backstage one year. A young hip-hop artist who wasn't sure if he would continue dancing as an adult approached Sidney's husband, Tom. In his 60s, Tom moved with such passion as a member of the Radost Folk Ensemble, that the younger dancer felt compelled to strike up a conversation.

"Tom told him to keep going, to look around and see the community that he was part of through dance," said Sidney, also a performer and artistic director of Radost.

This connection between men from two different life stages and communities is one of so many meaningful stories from DANCE This. Now in its 24th year, this signature program of Seattle Theatre Group (STG) includes workshops, a summer camp for aspiring dancers, and a performance at the Moore Theatre. This year's show features an intergenerational cast performing Mexican, Korean, Indian, Black American, and Eastern European styles, among others. 

The Deering family from left: Lilia, Anya, Tom and Sidney.

"As the People's Theatre, STG is not only thoughtful about the multicultural art it shares with audiences. We are passionate about artists, and supporting a robust dance landscape in our region," said Rex Kinney, Associate Director of Education.

New in 2022 is the DANCE This Artist in Residence program: STG provides funding, space and mentorship to support local artists as they create a work for the Moore Theatre show. Gary Champi (previously of the Merce Cunningham Trust) and Akoiya Harris (previously of Spectrum Dance Theater) have been selected as the inaugural artists.

Guest performers include Bailadores de Bronce, Morning Star Korean Cultural Center, Natya UW, Northwest Tap Connection, and Radost Folk Ensemble. Additional choreographers Adam Parson, plus Niecey & Miguel Almario—have each worked professionally in LA and all over the world. Their participation fulfills STG's desire to connect industry artists with local dancers for mentorship and professional training. Kirsten Barron Kinney returns to choreograph the finale, which celebrates all of the featured groups and cultures.

"With DANCE This, members of diverse communities meet and create connections that carry into the future," Sidney Deering said. "It's important antiracist work for us to try on each other's dances and value each other's artistry."

Akoiya Harris and Gary Champi.
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