Dancer by Leonard Ragouzeos

Dancer by Leonard Ragouzeos

Glass with dancing figure by Zak Grace

Glass with embedded dancing figure by Zak Grace

Sharp Dance Co. photo

Diane Sharp's photo of a dancer from her Sharp Dance Co.

The Witnesses by Hugh Joudry

"The Witnesses" by Hugh Joudry

"Movement 2015" Exhibits Set Stage for Dance Festival

The 3rd Annual Southern Vermont Dance Festival is preparing to celebrate the breadth and beauty of movement with a four-day schedule of classes, performances, and other events in Brattleboro on July 16-19. Preparing the way is "MOVEMENT 2015," a multi-venue installation of eleven exhibits featuring "The Art of Movement." Beginning on Gallery Walk Friday, July 3, and on view throughout the month, these venues are showing work by fourteen artists who celebrate movement and dance in paintings, prints, photographs, scrolls, sculpture, and more. Some work will be available for sale.

Pieces of Now photo by Jeff Lewis

Jeff Lewis image from "Pieces of Now"

The Southern Vermont Dance Festival was birthed out of the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene and the Brooks House Fire. Brenda Lynn Siegel, Executive and Artistic Director of the Festival, has a degree in choreography from Hampshire College and has worked as a choreographer, performer, and dance teacher locally, throughout New England, and further afield. While Modern Dance is her specialty, she also teaches Jazz, Hip Hop, Ballet, Belly Dance, and Astanga Yoga, and for a dozen years has run a popular Break Dance camp for local youth. Seeing the need for a consistent and concerted effort to revive and help sustain the local economy, she decided to concentrate her effort where she knew best and in the community with which she was most familiar.

Siegel knew that dancers would come, that they would shop and eat, and would be excited about Brattleboro's downtown community. And she knew that she could excite the community about dance. The benefits of a dance festival would be threefold: "We would offer public art installations, sharing visual arts and performance completely free to the public, thus attracting people from all over New England. Performances would involve world-renowned choreographers, dancers, and faculty from around the globe and show off our talented local dance community." This festival would make Brattleboro a dance hub and attract people throughout the year to vacation, see dance, see theater, and enjoy art exhibits.

Dance Notes by Clare Adams

"Dance Notes 5" by Clare Adams, representing choreographic patterns

SVDF also shows dance as an art form accessible to all, from beginner to professional. It speaks to those who love to watch dance and those who love to take dance. SVDF regular Billbob Brown, Chair of the Performing Arts Academy in Hong Kong, says: "Dance is for absolutely every single person on this planet." Those are the words that SVDF lives by: There is something for everyone.

The Southern Vermont Dance Festival's first year was a great success, and it grew even bigger in its second season, bringing people from all over the world to experience its classes, workshops, a gala performance, informal concerts, and free community events. "We bring people to town by promoting the town as the whole, by embracing collaboration," explains Siegel. "When we start to support each other as artists and as a business community, then and only then will we see our town thrive."

This year's third annual Festival features "Dances By Isadora," a company that teaches master classes in Duncan Technique and shows original works by Isadora Duncan. Another highlight is a talk by Billbob Brown on the importance of the arts to the economy and the social fabric of society, addressing the difference between how artists are supported in the U.S. and in other nations. For a full schedule of events, visit the Festival's website at

Movement 2015

This year's multi-venue exhibit not only offers a reason for folks to explore the downtown but also presents dance through different mediums, once again showing that dance is for absolutely everyone. "Movement is the essence of our being, and we all have some form of movement within us — it's about finding the movement that allows us to feel free," says Siegel.

Further information on each venue and exhibit — and a map of venue locations — is found in this month's Gallery Walk listings.

Scroll by Terry Hauptman

Scroll by Terry Hauptman

BRATTLEBORO SAVINGS & LOAN, 221 Main St.Hugh Joudry, sculptor, celebrates the creative effort with 4 large dancing figures throughout the bank. "As I sculpt, I visualize the movements of tai chi, yoga, and dance." — — NOTE: Beginning at 4:00 p.m. on July 3 (Gallery Walk), SVDF presents speakers and performance highlights of the festival on the BS&L front lawn.

KEY BANK, 185 Main St.Hugh Joudry's exhibit continues with "The Witnesses," two large wooden sculptures celebrating the freedom to witness, with a presence that echoes the resonance of dancing figures. —

GALLERY IN THE WOODS, 145 Main St. — Gallery 1 presents "The Dance": A characteristic focus on archetypal imagery by Leonard Ragouzeos in huge scale, juxtaposed with Marilyn Andrews' exploration of the psychological dynamics of Three Figures in clay. —

VERMONT ARTISAN DESIGNS, 106 Main St."Movement Around Brattleboro," a multi-artist photography show demonstrating the area's wide range of movement- and dance-related businesses and programs. —

HEADROOM STAGES GALLERIA, 17 Elliot St.Clare Adams is showing "Dance Notes," a monoprint series inspired by choreography lessons taught to young dancers at IBIT Dance by Brenda Lynn Siegel. —

MOCHA JOE'S, 82 Main St."Images from SVDF2014," an exhibit of 17 photographic highlights of the 2014 Festival by Diane Sharp, Annie Macey, Ted Thomas, and Jeff Lewis depicting the complete abandon that dance can offer.

GALLERY SHRAM, aka 1/4 Adivasi, 51 Main St. & Arch St. — Featuring drinking vessels by glassblower Zak Grace with embedded copper dancers, and paintings by artist Virginia Driscoll that explore "movement through abstract spaces and time in two dimensions. —

LATCHIS GALLERY, 50 Main St. — Photos by Jeff Lewis of IBIT Dance Company's rehearsals and performance of "Pieces of Now: Childhood Cancer Awareness Project," a choreographic work in honor of Alexis June Giallella, who died in November 2013 —

LATCHIS THEATRE, 50 Main St.Terry Hauptman will be displaying one large wood cut and several dance scrolls that capture the images and movement of dance within them. —

TWILIGHT TEA LOUNGE, 41 Main St., enter on Arch St."Images from the 2013 Southern Vermont Dance Festival" by Kiqe Bosch celebrate the joy and variety of movement presented in the Festival's inaugural season.

SUPERFRESH! ORGANIC CAFÉ, 30 Main St.Tara Gordon's "VITara Live by Design," features a series of digital photographs imposed onto yoga mats. Inspired by movement, Gordon transforms close-up nature photography into reflective patterns, exploring the symbiotic relationship between people and Nature." —

For more information on how to purchase tickets for festival events, become a sponsor, or volunteer at the festival, email

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