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Watch 10 Performances in One Night at the VelocityDC Dance Festival

Mat Elder performs an excerpt from a modern/contemporary dance on Friday night for the VelocityDC Dance Festival. Photo by Joshua Sugiyama.

At the VelocityDC Dance Festival at Sidney Harman Hall this weekend, about ten different dance companies will perform each evening. So if modern dance isn’t your thing, wait 10 minutes. Most performances last about that long, and something that’s more your liking–Flamenco? Step? Ballet?–might follow soon.

“Even if you say, you know, ‘This isn’t my cup of tea,” says Samantha Pollack, director of programming for the Washington Performing Arts. “There are so many performances in one night. It can be a whole evening experience.”

Now in its seventh year, the annual festival–a partnership between the Washington Performing Arts, Dance Metro DC, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and the Shakespeare Theatre Company–hopes to offer audiences a peek into the depth of dance in DC. In a single night, companies like the Washington Ballet’s Studio Company can share the same stage as Yamini Saripalli, who performs a South Indian dance named Kuchipudi. A performance from a company that has been around for years might follow one from dancers who have only been performing professionally for three.

Similarities, however, can tie some participants together. On Saturday evening, for example, two Maryland-based dance companies with Irish influences will be on hand–Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble and Shannon Dunne Dance–highlighting what Pollack describes as the largely unknown trend ofall the Irish dance happening in DC.”

“It’s such a wide range,” she says. “It can appeal to both the newcomer to dance but even to dance aficionados.”

The VelocityDC Dance Festival at Sidney Harman Hall runs October 15 through 17. Tickets cost $18.