- Alia Swersky and Michael O'Neal are b-s-t winter residency guests for Dec. 16-23, 2017.
- Leslie Kraus is the UW Alum Bridge Project recipient for Winter 2018.
- UW Alum Michael “Majinn” O’Neal is a Bridge Project recipient as well.
About the Residencies:
This Department of Dance program is designed to support local dance artists by offering the gift of space and time during the “off” times, when formal UW dance classes are not in session. We seek to support dance artists in the making of new work and in the exploration of original ideas that may or may not culminate in a performance or methodology. We support innovative ideas while nurturing the vibrant Seattle dance community.
The Bridge Project
The Bridge Project is Velocity’s four-week program for movement-based artists new to making work in Seattle, or who have been making work in Seattle for three years or less. This intensive residency offers four artists up to 45 hours of free rehearsal space for a new project while working with a cast of auditioned dancers. Additionally, all artists receive the creative, financial, and administrative support of a fully produced weekend of performances at Velocity. In programming The Bridge Project, Velocity aims to enhance the artistic growth of the choreographers, and provide an entry point into the local performance scene for dance artists new to the community.
About the Artists:
Michael O'Neal Jr. (Majinn) is an African American professional dance artist and teacher who utilizes his training in both street and classical dance styles to find and express his whole self. Majinn believes that to be the best dancer and person he can be he should be versatile and push his own comfort zone. Through dance Majinn has grown to become a dancer and teacher who loves to see his students growth as well as grow with his students. Majinn teaches the Hip Hop programs at Bainbridge Ballet and Definitive Dance studios as well as helps coach a young competition group known as Remix dance team. Through his art Michael hopes to inspire those he can, to follow their dreams and continue to grow in everyday life.
Some of Majinn’s biggest accomplishments as a professional dancer are working for Choreographer Amy O’Neal on her evening length piece Opposing Forces, and working with her in co-choreographing a duet to premier in July of 2018 for Dance This in Seattle. As well as dancing for Dani Tirrell in his new work Black Bois which premiers at On The Boards in April of 2018. One of Majinn’s biggest goals in dance is to try and bridge the gap between the classical and street dance worlds and build a stronger dance community in his own city and a far. He is a part of both Chapter1NE and Beat Hippies dance crews as well as Seattle’s Au Collecive. You can find Michael under the moniker Choreomike on Youtube and Majinn_mike on other social media.
Alia Swersky is best known as an improviser, performer, ritual creator, mentor, teacher and healer. . She graduated from Cornish College of the Arts in1998 with a BFA in dance and now teaches as part of the creative process curriculum at Cornish as an adjunct faculty member since 2005. She has taught at Velocity’s Strictly Seattle Festival and the Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation (SFDI). She was a long time Co-artistic director of Dance Art Group (DAG), a non-profit organization that promotes the practice and appreciation of dance and somatic education in the Seattle area, including the Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation. Influences and inspiration come from her many years being immersed in movement practices and performance. Specific forms include contact improvisation, release/somatic techniques, yoga, Authentic Movement, Tuning Scores, Buddhist meditation, and many pivotal dance partners and teachers. Alia danced and toured nationally and internationally as a member of the LeGendre Performance Group. She has also collaborated and performed in the works of many Seattle artists some of which include The Maureen Whiting Company, Khambatta Dance Company, Jurg Koch, KT Niehoff, and Salt Horse. Alia has been actively teaching, performing, and creating improvisational and choreographic works in Seattle since 1998.
Leslie Kraus holds a MFA in Dance from the University of Washington and a BFA in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University. She performed as principle dancer in the Kate Weare Company for eight years dancing in over a dozen premieres. She starred as Lady Macbeth in Punchdrunk’s hit show Sleep No More (2012-2015), and as Woyzeck in their latest show in London, The Drowned Man (2014).Leslie teaches and choreographs for students and professionals across the country. (Photo by Christopher Duggan Choreography by Kate Weare, Lean-To)