Artist in Service with KT Niehoff

Artist in Service
Velocity Dance Center

“As a co-founder of Velocity Dance Center I have been a part of the family from the beginning. As the organization approaches the two-decade mark, I am honored to reunite with Velocity on two overlapping endeavors – my next performance project, Helium Poised, to be developed through Velocity’s Made in Seattle program, and a post Velocity’s Artistic Director Tonya Lockyer and I are dubbing Artist in Service.”

“When KT approached me with her initial idea for Helium Poised, I recognized a wonderful opportunity to celebrate her legacy but also to look to the future by helping devise a project bringing together the many facets of her creative identity. KT is a multifaceted maker. She is a choreographer, producer, entrepreneur, a creator of social experiences, and a builder of public spaces like Velocity and 10degrees that are valuable community resources. . . her performance projects focused on dance and social engagement were ahead of the curve. As with many entrepreneurial artists, these aspects of KT’s creative life have often been separated. But what happens if we see all these endeavors as artistic engagements? KT brings a choreographic lens that is both poetic and practical.”

Photo: Tim Summers

Photo: Tim Summers

2016 marks the 20th Anniversary of Velocity Dance Center. As the co-founder, along iwth Michele Miller, I have been a part of its journey from the beginning. Velocity was established in 1996 in one room on the 2nd floor of the Oddfellows Hall, where it grew from a single room studio managed by Michele and I to three studios, a convertible studio theater, a staff of five, and a Board of 12. Michele and I left in 2006 and since then, Velocity has continued to thrive, becoming the sophisticated arts organization it is today. 

As an artist and producer with 25 years of experience, I have been thinking about the word "generation" and all it encompasses. How generations of artists support and thwart one another, growing through encouragement as well as resistance. And how aptly the root of the word - "generate" - applies to artists as well. We make and make and make again. Over and over we build ideas, dances, classes, and movements that shape the objectives and aesthetics of each era.

As Velocity approaches its 20th year, Tonya and I have constructed a post we are calling "Artist in Service." We are layering the framework for this newly created title together - developing platforms for artists in my strata to become mentors both in the studio and out - scheduling, taxes, finacnes, advocacy, and entrepreneurial strategies. We are also developing a prospectus that imparts the stories and accomplishments of Seattle's dance scene. Contemporary artists push against the restraints of their field and forge new territory - a remote existency by nature. Teaching the living history we are all a part of allows each artist to establish their place in a larger context, empowered by the knowledge we are all pushing forward together. 

From May 2015 – December 2016 we will present a series of entry points under the Artist in Service program. Stay tuned.