March’s Stage Madness: The Other Big Dance

The month, dance comes Marching in — beginning with short new works from local artists, ending with canonical epics, and with just about everything else in between. 

A busy month begins tonight at Base (March 6-7) and culminates in a bursting final weekend, March 24-27. Catch the long-running short-form series 12 Minutes Max, two shows from Pacific Northwest Ballet, the iconic Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and more. The Dance category on NWT’s performance calendar can help you sort it out.

Ticketing links for most shows can be found on the Performance Calendar page here.  


March 6-8 
12 Minutes Max @ Base 

A curated slate of brand new, genre-blending short works from Seattle-area artists
Tonight & Monday (March 6-7). In Seattle (Georgetown)

Nile Ruff will perform in ’12 Minutes Max’ in a work by Akoiya Harris. Photo by Scott Robbin.

12 Minutes Max is a long-running (if not the longest-running) dance showcase for Seattle-area artists, but it’s built on showing the opposite: brand new things, in short bursts of time. Eschewing staleness, it’s thoughtfully curated by two different artists in each iteration — so each version is apt to bring a very different flavor of works.

This weekend the showcase returns for the first time since February 2020, with a lineup curated by Saira Barbaric (“a multidisciplinary, gender-blending hedonist creature in a thicc Black human suit”) and Libby King (“a maker of things, actor, writer, teacher and mom”).

The showcase transcends genre, serving as a platform for experimentation in movement, spoken word, music, film, and other art forms, woven into or alongside dance. This iteration’s artists feature a variety of primary artistic backgrounds, including movement and performance art, writing, theatre, and dance.

The scheduled performances are:

Choreographer and dancer NEVE will perform at ’12 Minutes Max’. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Creation and performance: marco farroni

莎蔓 (Shāmàn)
Creation and performance: Samantha Borje
Collaborators: Lauren Ho, Emma Leah Chong

Eurydice (Letters from Hell)
Creation and performance: Em Wallace

Creation and performance: Bradley Wrenn

Same same but different
Creation and performance: Champi-yễn (Gary Champi and Sarah Nguyễn)

my black nose
Creation: Akoiya Harris
Performance and collaboration: Maven, Nile Ruff, Akoiya Harris

Mr. Theatre Comes Home Different
Creation and performance: Andres Rodriguez

Fish tank, or how we learned to fear water
Creation and performance: NEVE

Note that these titles were provided by the artists recently, but actual titles may change somewhat at their works morph. 

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A bit later this week, The Gray will open the doors to audience members for a filming of their new work, the patient, by Beth Terwilleger. While pandemic uncertainty nixed a formal production, the company promises a full performance (“all the bells and whistles!”) beginning at 7 p.m. (Broadway Performance Hall, March 8)  See NWT’s preview of the work here


March 11-13 
Return @ Wa Na Wari  

Welcome home with these works by Black artists
March 13. In Seattle (Central District)

Wa Na Wari, shown here in early 2020, will host a curated dance show on March 13. Photo by Chase D. Anderson.

Wa Na Wari, a home for Black arts, is housed in a literal home on a residential street in the Central District. Most known for visual arts, installations, and conversations, on this Sunday afternoon they’ll host a series of new dance works curated by Nia-Amina Minor (company dancer and artist liaison at Spectrum Dance Theater).

The dances comprising the Return program invite viewers “to experience live performance as a site of return; a place to meet, to witness, and to gather.” Featuring new works from Akoiya Harris (with Maven + Nile Ruff), marco farroni, and Cipher Goings, these selections might be viewed in conversation with this month’s installment of 12 Minutes Max, at which some of the artists will also perform.

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This same weekend, eXit SPACE, located in the former Velocity space on Capitol Hill, presents a festival of youth dance companies called BOOSTmeUp. This year’s program features performers from Spotlight Dance Center, Evergreen City Ballet, Emerald City Dance Complex, Bainbridge Dance Center, Momentum Dance Academy, Joseph’s Gems, and eXit SPACE thePROGRAM. (NOD Theatre, March 11-12)

And Seattle International Dance Festival concludes its Winter Mini Fest, which began March 4-5, with Khambatta Dance Company and Boston Dance Theater swapping dancers and creating new works together in a week, while Sumeet Nagdev (India) sets work on KDC dancers in a festival of bi-coastal/international collaborations and exchanges. (Erickson Theatre, March 11-12)

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March 18-20  
Plot Points @ Pacific Northwest Ballet  

Bold experimentation is at the core of this contemporary quartet
Runs March 18-27. At the Seattle Center (Mercer St. side)

Crystal Pite’s ‘Plot Point’ will perform as part of ‘Plot Points’ at Pacific Northwest Ballet. Photo by Angela Sterling.

This four-dance lineup features a mix of experimental works seemingly at opposites: a seven-minute piece and a 36-minute one, a world premiere and a 1982 return, childlike wonder alongside themes of violence.

The program includes the world premiere of Before I Was by Robyn Mineko Williams (exploring the inner “kid magic” that shifts with age); the return of David Parsons’ Caught (sequencing light and darkness like snapshots, to appear fully in air) and Crystal Pite’s Plot Point (drawing inspiration from film score and screenplay); and the PNB premiere of Justin Peck’s The Times Are Racing (agitating ballet as means to process everyday life in America).

A streaming version will be available later (March 31-April 4), but will not include Caught.

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This same weekend, PNB also presents Beauty and the Beast, choreographed by Bruce Wells and performed by the students of the PNB school. The production is one of a series of narrated, hour-long, family-friendly ballets; and the first performance of the run will be a sensory-friendly presentation. (Pacific Northwest Ballet School, March 20-27)

And eXit SPACE follows up its youth dance festival the previous weekend with BOOST, a festival of established and emerging choreographers. Presenting works are Alicia Mullikin (El Sueño), Juju Flores (Artistry in Motion), Marlo Martin (badmarmarDANCE), Cyrus Khambatta (Khambatta Dance), Olivia Anderson, Rodrick Barnes, Margaux Gex, Karle Bruesewitz, Rose Amlin, Beth Terwilliger (The Gray), Trillium Dance Collective, Carol Davis and Hayley Keller, and Bellingham Repertory Dance. (NOD Theatre, March 18-19)

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March 24-27
Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company: What Problem? @ Meany Center 

A decorated choreographer draws on community to create
Runs March 24-26. In Seattle (UW main campus)

Bill T. Jones will collaborate with community members and perform at Meany Center. Photo courtesy of the artist.

This year, the Meany Center embarks on a collaboration with choreographer, dancer, theatre director, and writer Bill T. Jones, who will co-create a new series in the 2022-23 season.

But first, the two-time Tony Award winner invites audience members into his creative process, as his company works with community members to create “a provocative and thoughtful meditation on the tension between belonging to a community and feelings of isolation in divisive times.” Jones’s new work, called What Problem? (unpacking a quote on race originating in a W.E.B. DuBois work), will be developed during a week-long artistic residency with community members and a town hall conversation in Seattle’s Central District.

As part of that week-long residency, Jones will talk with guests and community members in a conversation called “Is There a ‘We’?” hosted by veteran arts producer Vivian Phillips. The conversation is held at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute on March 22 at 4 p.m. Tickets to that town hall are free, reserve here.


Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater @ The Paramount 
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performs ‘Mass’ by Robert Battle. Photo by Paul Kolnik.

The legendary dance company presents iconic works and new ones
March 26 & 27. In Downtown Seattle

Long after its namesake’s untimely death, the Alvin Ailey company might still be unparalleled. Its classic epics — including Ailey’s iconic Revelations — remain fresh, while more recent works from Artistic Director Robert Battle and others continue to embolden and expand the repertoire.

At the end of the month, the company tours here to perform three shows: one evening show (on Saturday) of the longer classics that are Ailey’s own choreography, and two matinees primarily of the company’s newer, shorter, works, which Battle choreographed. All three performances will finish with Ailey’s 1960 epic, Revelations.

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Also over this very lively weekend in dance, director/choreographer Alicia Mullikin and filmmaker/dancer Devin Muñoz will premiere a film from Mullikin’s dance company, El Sueño, with a combination screening and after-party. (And not just any after-party, but one with live music, artist discussions, and a margarita bar!) The evening promises a contemporary dance film and multimedia performance created in collaboration by two Mexican-American dance artists, who explore what it means to be powerful brown women and the narrators and illustrators of their own stories. (Velocity Dance Center, NW Film Forum. March 25-27)

Both of the prior weekend’s openings at Pacific Northwest Ballet, Plot Points and Beauty and the Beast, will continue this weekend as well.

And while it doesn’t fit neatly within the genre, Revival, a work by Timothy White Eagle and The Violet Triangle gets a mention here as it involves something of a collective dance through time and stage at On the Boards. Revival, a new work rooted in ritual theatre, explores one of the oldest and most universal myths — the story of a hero being swallowed alive and then returned — which has appeared around the world. Audiences will experience a visit to a carnival, where attendees play games in a loud, chaotic, and vibrant setting; be taken on a journey through space and time; and be swallowed in the belly of the whale, La Baleine. (On the Boards, March 24-27)


Ticketing links for most shows can be found on the Performance Calendar page here.  

Chase D. Anderson is Editor & Producer of