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Review: Seattle Dance Project – Project 4

Oleg Gorboulev in Planes in Air. Photo credit ZebraVisual, 2011


In Project 4, Seattle Dance Project’s latest work, the troupe showcases powerful works created by contemporary female choreographers.

“Planes in the Air”, choreographed by Molissa Fenley, is a lovely Asian-esque fan dance on a grand scale. Dancers Betsy Cooper and Alexandra Dickson made light work of those giant paper fans, maneuvering them about with such grace and control, the entire work appeared effortless. And just when I thought, “Their arms don’t even look tired! Mine would be quaking by now!” Cooper and Dickson then took turns using both fans simultaneously. I have only one word for that, folks. Wow!

Cooper and Dickson are just lovely together and looked as though they were enjoying the gentle escape this piece provides. The incredible upper body strength these two possess in order to give such a light, airy feel to those fans is inspiring. {In fact, they made me want to grab a fan and join them!}

“Surfacing”, choreographed by Heidi Vierthaler, is comprised of four dancers - Betsy Cooper, Lara Seefeldt, Michele Curtis and Oleg Gorboulev—and a single floor lamp. Filled with sharp biting angles, insane contortions and slightly robotic music, “Surfacing” manages to flow with an incomprehensible cat-like grace. The end of the piece features a brief pas de deux between Michele Curtis and Oleg Gorboulev, which provided a stunning visual treat! My only regret was that it had to end when it did.

Ellie Sandstrom’s “Al Poco Tiemp” brought Alexandra Dickson and SDP co-founders Julie Tobiason and Timothy Lynch to the forefront. Tobiason moved with all the grace and precision you’d expect from a seasoned artist. She’s beautiful and powerful—almost fierce at times—and proves she’s still “got it going on!”

Alexandra Dickson and Timothy Lynch in Al Poco Tiempo. Photo credit: Zebravisual, 2011


Alexandra Dickson and Timothy Lynch are absolutely delicious together. In fact their chemistry is so powerful that at times I felt like I was intruding on a private moment. {Yet I couldn’t bear to avert my gaze for fear I might miss something extraordinary!} The piece echoed with all the passion, beauty, and turmoil of a ranging sea with Tobiason somehow guiding these two sailors/lovers safely into port.

“Rodin” is an exquisite pas de deux choreographed by Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Stacy Lowenberg. This gorgeous piece, brought to life by the talented David Alewine and Michele Curtis, featured amazing panches, delicate arabesques and gentle developpes. Alewine and Curtis are sensual, passionate and nothing short of captivating. Pretty please, SDP—bring this piece back soon!

The fifth and final piece was Hilde Koch’s “Torque”. This exotic game of Twister incorporates all eight dancers in a series of nimble twists, swift turns, careful rolls, and skillful catch-and-release moments. I particularly enjoyed the partnership between Alewine, Gorboulev, and Lara Seefeldt. As the two men skillfully passed Seefeldt between them, she didn’t remain a quiet bystander. Instead she seemed to perform her own solo on each of their shoulders. {Superb!}

Michele Curtis and David Alewine in Rodin. Photo credit: Zebravisual, 2011


Seasoned greatness peppered with fresh energy. That’s the only way I can describe my afternoon with Seattle Dance Project and I eagerly look forward to more of their endeavors in the future!

~Denise Opper, Class Act Tutu media

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