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Seattle Dance Collective shares performances with the community free of charge

Dancing in the time of COVID has lead to challenging times for artists and audiences alike. #k5evening

SEATTLE — Live stage performances may be on hold right now, but a local dance company made sure the show could go on - virtually - and it doesn't cost a thing to watch.

Seattle Dance Collective was founded by Noelani Pantastico and James Yoichi Moore, who are also principal dancers with Pacific Northwest Ballet. When the pandemic hit, all performances were canceled.

"When we discovered that wasn't going to be a viable option, we wanted to find a way to stay active and create dance,” Yoichi Moore said.

Pantastico added, "It's tough to feel this, as an artist, and feel that you're non-essential and you can't help."

So SDC innovated a way to help, called Continuum: Bridging the Distance – a series of dances posted online for audiences to watch, free of charge.

Local choreographers and dancers created the collection of new works and performed them on location in recognizable Seattle spots. Pantastico and Yoichi Moore's piece is called The Space Between Us.

Each performance began with socially-distanced choreography done via video conference.

“In our situation, my husband choreographs, so we were in the ‘studio’ - in our downstairs family room together - and James was in West Seattle,” Pantastico said.

Other dancers who sheltered in place together used their living rooms and an athletic field as rehearsal venues.

Once the pieces were complete, a filmmaker shot them in parks, on a dock over the water, and on the rooftop deck at MBar to create stunning and meaningful works of art.

"When we're all of a sudden in this world where we're disconnected from each other, finding ways to re-establish that human connection is so important,” Yoichi Moore said.

Credit: Seattle Dance Collective
Yoichi Moore and Pantastico hope SDC's dances will entertain audiences at home and inspire them to buy tickets to live performances when it's once again safe to do so.

The finished performances are now online, available for anyone to watch. Although they can't hear any applause, the dancers hope their work is as meaningful as ever.

"It's part of our job as artists to give back - that's what our life is all about,” Pantastico said.

Yoichi Moore added, "We know that there are a lot of people out there that are really affected by what's going on and many are facing some of the most difficult times of their lives. So to be able to create some art, and present it free of charge to our community, is just something that feels good to be able to do."

They both hope the short films will entertain audiences at home and inspire them to buy tickets for live performances when it's safe to do so. In the meantime, fans of dance can support SDC online.

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