“Original Works 2023” — this year’s installment of an annual dance concert of new choreography by local dancers, will take place at 7 p.m. Friday, March 17, and 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, March 18, at Vashon Center for the Arts (VCA).
Conceptualized and launched over a decade ago by long-time Vashon Center for the Arts dance faculty member, Vanesa Wylie, and former VCA director of dance, Christine Juarez, “Original Works” is an annual celebration of the incredible minds and movements of VCA’s dance student body, alongside those of community dance professionals and dancers from additional island studios.
The goal of the concert, since its inception, is to provide young people with the chance to present their own artistic visions alongside those of seasoned professionals.
It’s a remarkable childhood opportunity, resulting in a remarkable concert each year.
As a VCA dance department alumna and current faculty member myself, as well as a current member of several Seattle dance companies, I am especially excited for “Original Works” each year, as it brings my life in dance full circle.
This year, in addition to being the co-director of the dance concert, it is my utmost pleasure to perform “Unbodied,” choreographed by Seattle dancer, choreographer, and director of Slowburn Dance Company, Meredith Pellon, in “Original Works.”
“I am so excited to participate in a show that allows students to create their own works,” Pellon said. “Having the opportunity to share my work when I was a student allowed me to focus deeply on my artistic voice and begin to craft a movement vocabulary.”
Renowned for its startling rate changes, distinct textural shifts, and unique visuals, Pellon’s choreography has been celebrated widely across many Seattle dance festivals, projects, and venues since her arrival in 2018. Some of the Seattle venues and events at which Pellon’s choreography has been featured include the Seattle International Dance Festival (2019 and 2023), Converge Dance Festival, Seattle Center, and The Shed.
Further expanding the breadth of professional talent to grace the stage in the upcoming shows, island dance icon Julie Gibson, a faculty member at Vashon Dance Academy and guest choreographer for multiple VCA dance productions, will premiere a new work, of riveting symmetry and design, to be performed by advanced Academy dancers.
A former professional ballet dancer and beloved island teacher, Gibson is a true gem to have as a contributing artist to this year’s show.
In addition to Gibson and Pellon, VCA faculty members Vanesa Wylie (the director of “Original Works”), Kathy Bonner, Sana Tepley, and Maya Krah will present new works in the performances.
New and returning student choreographers will include Josephine Baker, Signe Blomgren, Sadie Choo, Grace Harvey, Sophia Lanphear, Elouise Lawrence, Edie Lopez, Emma Meade, Claire Mitchell, Isabella Peani, Emily Rock, Bailey Sullivan, and Anna Thompson.
For those students just now testing their choreographic voices in “Original Works 2023” as choreographers, dancers in one of the new pieces, or even audience members, exposure to work by these peers, faculty, and community professionals is sure to unlock horizons of detail and artistic vision as yet unknown to them.
“Original Works” is an opportunity I will never be able to express my full gratitude for,” said VCA veteran choreographer and advanced student, Sadie Choo. “Through these shows, I have always been encouraged to not just learn dance but to create it, and to bring my own ideas and passion to the art. It’s unbelievable that students of different stages and professional choreographers and dancers alike get to share a show and such a beautiful space together.”
At VCA, we hope you will come and share the joy in this year’s celebration of choreography and dance, witnessing yet another cycle of student, teacher, alumni, and professional creative vision in motion.
Our deepest gratitude to Director of Dance Vadne White, VCA Technical Director Jesse Bell, and VCA Event Producer Crissy Baker, Costume Designer and Constructor Kate Guinee, as well as our incredible community of dance families and friends.
Purchase tickets to “Original Works 2023” at vashoncenterforthearts.org or by calling 206-259-3007.