WALLA WALLA -- Dancing is as much fun to watch as it is to participate in, especially when the dancers are introducing innovative moves that mesmerize the imagination.
That's what people will see at the annual Walla Walla Dance Festival this year, which is July 28 through Aug. 1 in Walla Walla.
There will be free dance classes offered the first four days of the festival, and the event wraps up with a gala performance by professional dance companies.
The companies performing are ODC/Dance and Amy Seiwert's Imagery, both from San Francisco, Los Angeles group Nobility Mob and from Seattle the Alchemy Tap Project.
All four have performed various forms of dance worldwide, always pushing the boundaries of dance disciplines, festival organizers said.
The performance starts at 7 p.m. Aug. 1 in Cordiner Hall on the Whitman College campus. Tickets cost $25 for adults, $20 for seniors, $15 for students or $65 for a family of two adults and four children. Tickets are available at www.wwdf.org.
Festival organizer Lydia Tetzlaff said the Nobility Mob out of L.A. has refined hip-hop moves that will rock the festival this year.
"The company's choreography and limitless energy under the direction of Chadd Moreau embody the best of this cutting-edge style of professional dance," Tetzlaff said in an email. "They will leave you dancing in the aisles."
Seiwert's ballet company brings an expressive and vital voice to dance.
"Imagery's artists share the belief that through collaboration and experimentation, vibrant and courageous ideas are expressed," she said. "Their work touches the lives of the contemporary artists whose careers are enhanced through the artistic process, and their audiences have come to expect surprising, meticulous and memorable work."
ODC is known worldwide for its athleticism, passion and intellectual depth, she added.
"ODC embodies a full range of dance styles and is noted for a seamless fusion of modern and ballet dance styles, creating an atmosphere on stage of pure theater."
The Alchemy Tap Project out of Seattle performs everything from tap to jazz to classical and electronic dance. The Project's website states it was founded on the principle that neither percussion nor dance are restricted to one style of music, demonstrating that tap can be as stylistically dynamic as its rhythmic.
The festival also features a food and wine pairing event July 30 at Seven Hills Winery and Whitehouse Crawford restaurant, 212 N. Third Ave., Walla Walla. Cost is $25
There also will be free hip-hop classes for kids and adults July 28. Youth classes start at 6:30 p.m. at the YMCA Community Youth Center, 340 S. Park St., Walla Walla, and adult classes are from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in Milton-Freewater. For the location, go to www.wwdf.org.
Then on July 29, there will be a free children's performance at 2 p.m. in Cordiner Hall.
-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @dorioneal