Granted, it’s not where you go to watch experimental dance. If you’re into seeing people in wacked-out costumes standing in silence for minutes on end, or rolling rolling rolling, or speaking to each other in what might as well be gibberish while moving like boneless creatures—and that stuff can be great, don’t get me wrong—then VelocityDC probably isn’t for you.
But for the rest of you, who likely prefer your dance prettier and a little more traditional, VelocityDC, a curated show starting tonight and running through Friday and Saturday at the Harman Center, was created with you in mind. It’s actually the ideal way to get acquainted with Washington’s dance scene and major companies: There’s nowhere else in town where you can be assured of seeing a lot of great movement from a bunch of talented dancers in one night.
“For me, this is about showing the D.C. community at large the great dance that’s already here, in a high-end production with lots of lights and glitter—a well-encased jewel,” explains Peter DiMuro, director of Dance/MetroDC and one of the key minds behind the event, which is now in its second year. Washington’s dance scene is mostly made up of small companies, so to say that the production includes some of the city’s biggest and best-known groups means it’s not a representative sample. But DiMuro and others carefully chose and organized the various pieces to guarantee that the audience gets a great show, no matter when they attend (there are two different programs). Performers include CityDance Ensemble, the Washington Ballet, the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, Dana Tai Soon Burgess & Co., Furia Flamenca, and Urban Artistry.
Of course, DiMuro and his cohorts designed the event with an ulterior motive in mind: building future audiences. “We hope the audience will be so enticed they’ll go see Dana Tai Soon Burgess, for example, next month—‘Oh, he looks interesting.’ Or, ‘Wow, I never knew I liked flamenco,’” says DiMuro.
Photo by Paul Gordon Emerson