The festival began in 2006 after Cyrus Khambatta, Artistic Director for Khambatta Dance (formerly Phffft! Co.) attended an Artistic Director Leadership training program with a grant from The Paul G. Allen Foundation and began to realize a long, stirring desire to connect audiences with dance through the festival environment. After a decade in which his own Khambatta Dance (then Phffft! Co.) was invited to numerous international festivals, each with its own particular take on dance, he found the excitement and fervor with which audiences digested dance works to be a stimulating environment in which to create.
After initiating a partnership with Seattle Center in 2007, the festival presented the site specific portion of its festival at the Center House for two years. In 2009, the festival applied and received a grant from the Department of Neighborhoods to revitalize South Lake Union (SLU) through the arts. This initiated an effort to connect to the SLU community, where it found a receptive environment in a growing urban community. This new neighborhood allowed the festival a larger, urban terrain with unique architectural features for its site specific events and access to a soon-to-be densely populated audience. In this same period, the festival initiated a partership with Cornish College of the Arts to bring concert performance, as well as a dance education and instruction program together in one locale. The festival has presented local, national, and international artists, including work from artists from 25 countries in the short time since its inception.
Photo credit: Marcia Davis (Khambatta Dance Company)