Saturday July 13, 2013

BRATTLEBORO -- The Southern Vermont Dance Festival (SVDF) is about a lot more than dance. It’s about community, the local economy, and showing the world just because you’ve been hit hard doesn’t mean you’re not going to get right back up again.

But, yeah, it’s about dance too.

Last year’s "Take a Chance on Dance" event, put on by the Building a Better Brattleboro group and Brenda Lynn Siegel of the Flow Yoga and Dance Center in Brattleboro, has evolved into the SVDF. The festival has taken months of planning and spans four days, July 18 through 21.

"The idea was to create a really major dance festival that reached out to all of New England," Siegel said. "(And) to make it a festival that’s accessible to anyone who’s interested."

The festival is made up of three main parts: classes, which are available in almost any type and level available, performances, and free downtown events. Siegel, the festival’s director, has worked to gather with top-notch teachers and performers to create what she describes as a "world-class festival."

"I just took it to a whole new level," she said. "Dance is huge in southern Vermont, but it doesn’t get as much attention as it ought to."

In addition to every type of dance imaginable, from ballet to Bollywood, attendees are welcome to learn or practice other physical activities such as yoga.

"There’s plenty there to try out," Siegel said. "World-class instruction for anyone and everyone from ballroom to ballet, from yoga to pilates, there really is something for everyone"

The festival, which is expecting hundreds of attendees this year, has grown by a lot since the small event which spawned it a year ago. But that doesn’t mean it’s done getting bigger.

"It’s already a really huge event" Siegel said. "But I just want to see it grow throughout the years."

"A revival effort"

Brattleboro, like much of Southern Vermont, was hit extremely hard by 2011’s Tropical Storm Irene. Among those affected was Siegel; her house was hit hard by the storm and she lost everything to it. Two years later, Vermonters are still putting their lives back together, and Siegel hopes that the SVDF will help bring in money and tourists to inject life into the local economy.

"It’s not relief effort as much as it is a revival effort," she said.

Getting ready for the festival

For those interested in attending the SVDF, Siegel recommends purchasing tickets ahead of time so that attendees can register for the classes in which they are interested.

The ticket types and prices are as follows: Full Immersion Ticket: $325, this provides access to the festival for all four days, access to two formal concerts throughout the weekend, all informal concerts and site specific work, all music offered throughout the weekend and four workshops or lectures per day.

Dance Adventure Ticket: $250, this provides access to the festival from July 19 through 21, and everything that comes with the Full Immersion Ticket.

Dance Sampler Ticket: $100, provides access to one day of the festival of your choice, access to one formal concert on the day of your ticket, all informal concerts and site specific work, all music offered throughout the weekend and four workshops or lectures per day.

Full View Performance: $100, provides access to all performances throughout the four days.

For full ticket information go to www.southernvermontdancefestival.com. Student pricing is available. For other information visit www.brattleborovt.org, or www.flowyogadance.com

Andrew Roiter can be reached at aroiter@benningtonbanner.com follow him on Twitter @Banner_arts.