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Choreographer Kate Wallich Spreads Her Wings With 'Super Eagle'

Velocity Dance Center/Jacob Rosen
Kate Wallich and Andrew Bartee in "Super Eagle."

When you ask Seattle dance insiders which young artists they've got their eyes on, 24-year-old Kate Wallich's name almost always rises to the top of the list.

The Cornish College of the Arts grad formed her own contemporary dance company, the YC, while she was still in school. Now Wallich has teamed up with Pacific Northwest Ballet dancer Andrew Bartee and the members of the YC to create her first evening-length performance.

"Super Eagle" was commissioned by Seattle's Velocity Dance Center. It's a dance for four performers: Wallich and Bartee, along with YC members Matt Drews and Lavinia Vago.  It features an original score by Lena Simon with video by Jacob Rosen.

Wallich and Bartee have been developing "Super Eagle" for more than a year. That kind of time is a luxury in the world of contemporary dance, something Wallich freely acknowledges. "We've really focused a lot into making everything be there for a reason," she says.

Wallich and Bartee have had help from Velocity director Tonya Lockyer, who is both a choreographer and a teacher. 

"Tonya Lockyer is a personal mentor of mine," Wallich says. "She comes into rehearsal when we need her," and gives feedback on what she sees.

Despite Wallich's reputation as a contemporary dance maker, it makes sense that she'd team up with ballet dancer Bartee. Wallich started dancing at the age of three and studied ballet at the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy when she was in high school. Wallich says all she ever wanted to do was be a ballet dancer.

Once she arrived in Seattle to study at Cornish, though, Wallich's ambitions changed. Seattle has a youthful, creative energy that Wallich says fuels her artistic passions. She sees everything she can, from the cutting edge performances at Velocity to classical ballet.

But for Wallich, the creativity extends beyond her dance world. "Lynn Shelton and Megan Griffiths are making great films," she says, "and Macklemore just won a whole bunch of Grammies!"

Wallich plans to keep making dances in Seattle. "Super Eagle" will be performed February 13 - 16 at Velocity Dance Center.