Dance Fest comes to Brattleboro

BRATTLEBORO - TV dance shows have boosted the interest in dance. From little kids to college students to baby boomers more and more people are interested in dance. This hype has helped draw attention to dance programs at colleges and universities across the country. Now, Brattleboro looks to boost economic development and morale following the devastating effects of 2011's Tropical Storm Irene with a major dance festival -The Southern Vermont Dance Festival.

The festival is slated for July 18 to July 21, and will take place for the most part in downtown Brattleboro with time in between workshops for people to shop and enjoy the town. The four-day festival will be filled with lectures, workshops, performance, live music and community events taught by world-class faculty.

The Artistic Executive Director of the Festival, Brenda Siegel, lost everything in Tropical Storm Irene. Her love and concern for her hometown are at the heart of her interest in the festival. She has been displaced since this past December when she and her son moved into a new house. "If I am going to organize and host a dance event that takes place in Brattleboro, it has to help rebuild our businesses," she said. "It has to contribute to the growth of our local economy in a real and tangible way."

The president of Building a Better Brattleboro, Donna Simons, has embraced the festival under the BaBB umbrella.

"Brattleboro is known as an arts community and now we can add the art of dance," she said. Top sponsors include Entergy Vermont, Marlboro College, Marlboro Grad Center and BaBB.

The long weekend will host a wide variety of workshops that are aimed to reach all levels of dancers from the professional to the dance enthusiast. Instruction will be given by faculty including Donlin Foreman, former Martha Graham dancer, Billbob Brown, Director of Dance at Umass, Amherst, Felice Wolfzahn, Dance Faculty from Mt. Holyoke and Bennington College, Maria Simpson, dance faculty at Bard College, Lorraine Chapman, director of LCTC (Lorraine Chapman the Company) and faculty at the Boston Conservatory and Adrian Hawkins, world renowned choreographer and dance faculty.

There will be formal performances on Friday, July 18, Saturday, July 19 and Sunday, July 20. Presenting work on these three nights will be many of this generations greats, Chaos Theory Dance, LCTC Lorraine Chapman, Jennifer Weber from Decadancetheatre, Felice Wolfzahn, Jessica Howard, IBIT Dance Company and many more.

Classes will be offered in Ballet, Modern, Middle Eastern, Jazz, Hip Hop, Composition, African, Yoga, Pilates and more. Ticketed festival-goers will be offered four classes per day and two formal performances throughout the weekend in addition to access to all informal performances, outdoor performances, live music and all other community events.

Participants can choose to attend the festival for the full four days or sample the festival on one day only; in addition they can purchase tickets to attend the performances throughout the weekend. Classes will be filled on a first come first serve basis and can be registered for online once a ticket is purchased. Tickets are available by visiting

The festival weekend will be filled with raffle events, downtown performances and workshops as well as live music and performances hosted by various local businesses. The event will be accessible to everyone who is interested in participating in a weekend of dance and movement.

For more information on how to purchase tickets, sponsor the event or volunteer at the festival, email


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