• Arts Walk 2023 Film and Dance
    Indicative of the vast art and entertainment to be found at Arts Walk, check out the OlyFilm and OlyAct film demo where You’re the Star!
  • Revels and the Queen of the Americas
    Expect miracles, at least those of the theatrical kind, at The Midwinter Revels in Tacoma’s Rialto Theater this holiday season.
  • “The Nutcracker” is back for the holiday season in performances by Studio West Dance Theatre and by Ballet Northwest at The Washington Center
    Visions of Sugarplum Fairies will be dancing across the stage of The Washington Center for the Performing Arts beginning Friday, Nov. 25, when Studio West Dance Theatre’s “Nutcracker” opens. Ballet Northwest’s “Nutcracker” begins Friday, Dec. 9.
  • The Armory Creative Campus: An Inclusive Collaborative Space for the Olympia Arts Community
    Olympia begins planning of city arts space.
  • Washington Center for the Performing Arts Announces 2022 – 2023 Season
    By Molly Gilmore The Washington Center for the Performing Arts’ 2022-2023 season marks both a return to pre-pandemic norms — it’s the first full season with subscription plans since theaters closed in March 2020 — and a fresh start. When the season launches Nov. 4 with “Stunt Dog Experience,” the […]
  • Strip Like the Mountain Is Out: the First-Ever PNW Burlesque Festival
    Valerie Veils, the self-billed “Heroine of the Hoochi Coo,” has dazzled audiences up and down the Pacific Coast. Now she’s extended her talents to produce the first-ever Pacific Northwest Burlesque Festival, a two-day, ecdysiastic extravaganza that’ll twirl its tassels at the Capitol Theater the first full weekend in May.
  • The World Returns to Lacey’s Cultural Celebration
    Lacey’s Cultural Celebration returns to Saint Martin’s University this month after two years found solely online.
  • The Land of Sweets Is Back at The Washington Center
    This year marks The Nutcracker’s jubilant return to The Washington Center, with Josie and Ken Johnson at the helm. Guest artist Lucas Horns will dance the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy’s Cavalier alongside a cast of over 150.
  • Ballet Northwest Updates Classic Nutcracker for the Age of Coronavirus
    By Molly Gilmore Update Nov. 24: “The Nutcracker” dates, times and locations have changed since the original release of this story. Updated information is below the article. Despite COVID-19, Ballet Northwest’s “Nutcracker,” a South Sound holiday tradition for 35 years, is on for the holidays, but the company’s 2020 edition […]
  • The Washington Center Hosts Koresh Dance Company with Help from the National Endowment for the Arts
    By Jerica Pender The Koresh Dance Company, an internationally renowned dance troupe, will dance its way into Olympia at the end of March. In a multi-day experience and learning opportunity is made possible by a $10,000 Challenge America grant recently awarded to the Washington Center for the Performing Arts from […]
  • Ballet Northwest: En Pointe for Half a Century
    By CHRISTIAN CARVAJAL For all the influence they had on popular music genres, aside from success they’ve enjoyed on their own, the Fab Four were only together eight years. Alexander the Great ruled the Macedonian empire from 336 BC till his death a mere eight years later. The Qin dynasty […]
  • Photo Gallery: Ballet Northwest Previews 35th Nutcracker
    An exclusive photo gallery by MOLLY WALSH for OLY ARTS. WHAT Ballet Northwest’s The Nutcracker WHERE The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, 512 Washington St. SE, Olympia WHEN 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Dec. 13 and 14, 20 and 21; 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, Dec. 14, 15, 21 […]
  • Ballet Northwest Brings a Holiday Classic to Life
    By MOLLY WASH Out of the wings and onto center stage, Ballet Northwest will present its 35th-annual production of The Nutcracker at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts from December 13 to 22. Illustrating the time-honored holiday story will be choreography by Ballet Northwest’s co-artistic directors, Josie and Ken […]
  • Photo Gallery: Studio West Dance Theatre Rehearses for The Nutcracker
    An exclusive photo gallery by MOLLY WALSH for OLY ARTS. WHAT Studio West Dance Theatre presents The Nutcracker WHEN 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Dec 14, 20 and 21; 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sundays, Dec 15 and 22 WHERE South Puget Sound Community College Kenneth J. Minnaert Center for […]
  • Studio West Dance Theatre Takes a Holiday Classic To Center Stage
    By MOLLY WALSH Vignettes of holiday celebrations, royal battles and sugar plum dreams will be illuminated on the Kenneth J. Minnaert Center stage with Studio West Dance Theater’s 11th annual production of The Nutcracker. Over 230 dancers will bring Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker score to life from December 14-22. The cast and […]
  • Collaborative Movement and Partnering Workshop Coming to SPSCC
    By Kati Sagawa On Sunday, Nov. 10, South Puget Sound Community College will host a collaborative movement and partnering workshop with two members of visiting “rebellious” dance company Pilobolus, Heather Favretto and Nate Buchsbaum. The workshop will be from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Black Box Theatre at […]
  • Ballet’s Romantic Comedy: Coppélia
    By KAREN LUNDE Coppelia arrives at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts April 18 through 20, bringing a tale of mayhem, mischief and mistaken identities. Studio West Dance Theatre’s production follows the antics of Swanhilda and her friends as they try to discover the identity of Coppélia, a mysterious woman who’s […]
  • 2018 State of the Arts
    By Billy Thomas and Lydia Boss, special contributor Artist Trust is a nonprofit dedicated to helping Washington State artists of all disciplines thrive. Its mission is to support and encourage artists working in all disciplines to enrich community life throughout Washington State. Founded in 1986, it was formed by a group of […]
  • Shake a Shimmy with Mas Uda
    By CHRISTIAN CARVAJAL Each year, Olympia belly-dance troupe Mas Uda donates proceeds from a weekend of workshops and a public performance to a worthy cause. After years benefitting cancer research, Mas Uda made Girl Scouts of Western Washington its focus of generosity beginning in 2015. “That money that we raise,” […]
  • Olympia Dance Festival Celebrates 10 Years
    By KAREN LUNDE Each year, Ballet Northwest celebrates dance in all its forms by bringing local dance groups and guest artists together for its annual Olympia Dance Festival. The group pulled out all the stops for its 10th anniversary this year. The festival always invites a high-profile, guest artist to […]
  • Cranking Out a Good Time
    By MELINDA MINTON This year’s Oly Old Time Festival brings food, music, workshops and new musical talents. Among its featured performers are Allison de Groot and Nic Gareiss. Making use of the South Bay Grange’s beautiful dance floor, they’ll hold a workshop called “Play a Tune/Dance a Tune.” It’s intended to, […]
  • A Nuttier Nutcracker
    By Molly Gilmore For the 10th anniversary of its The Nutcracker, Studio West Dance Theatre has added new treats and trimmings to its production of Tchaikovsky’s ballet about a young girl who receives a nutcracker for Christmas and dreams herself into a magical world of fairies and sweets. The production, […]
  • Ballet Confections
    By Molly Gilmore In Ballet Northwest’s 34th-annual The Nutcracker, sugarplums will dance, as will candies, mice, snowflakes and toy soldiers. It’s Tchaikovsky’s classic, holiday tale with an extra dash of romance: Clara, the young girl who dreams of wintry fairylands, gets a duet with a prince. Giving Clara in her […]
  • Swing by Eagles Ballroom
    By Kameko Lashlee Every Tuesday evening on the corner of Fourth and Plum Street, a cacophony of uptempo jazz music and foot-stomping emanates from the second-floor ballroom of the Fraternal Order of Eagles Ballroom and Conference Center. This weekly shindig, broadly known as Oly Swing, is a time capsule of […]
  • The End of an Era at The Evergreen State College
    by Christian Carvajal for OLY ARTS The Evergreen State College is known for a liberal-arts environment that encourages free artistic expression. However, this spring Evergreen will cut heavily into the budget for staff and facilities that nurture theatrical expression. This year, the last seven shows at TESC will be especially […]
  • Down the Rabbit Hole with Studio West
    by MELISSA AVRIL HARRIS for OLY ARTS In search of an escape this spring season? Take a trip down the rabbit hole with Studio West Dance Academy’s production of Alice in Wonderland. The classic children’s tale of a little girl who ventures into a world filled with tardy white rabbits, […]
  • Swan Lake Showcased by Ballet Northwest
    by MOLLY GILMORE for OLY ARTS Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake didn’t earn much acclaim when it debuted in 1877 in Moscow, but once it took wing, the ballet continued to soar. Ballet Northwest’s production of the classic about a young woman cursed to live as a swan opens May 11 at […]
  • Stephen Petronio Post-Modern Dance Master at the Washington Center
    by Yvonne Joyce for OLY ARTS Stephen Petronio is a name — and dance company — well known to audiences in New York City, but less well known on the West Coast, except among dance aficionados. The post-modern New York-based choreographer and his company will make their Olympia debut next week. […]
  • Ballet Northwest brings the Nutcracker back to the Washington Center
    by Jennifer Crain for OLY ARTS Once again, the stage at the Washington Center will be filled with mice, soldiers and snowflakes in Ballet Northwest’s 34th annual production of The Nutcracker. Ken Johnson, co-artistic director of Ballet Northwest, says this is a landmark production year for the 48-year-old company. They […]
  • Studio West’s Nutcracker Brings Ballet to Life
    by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS No holiday season is complete without settling into a soft, cozy theater seat to watch Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker ballet. Studio West Dance Academy knows just how important the dance is to building holiday cheer, and it’s doing its part to bring The Nutcracker to […]
  • Embellishing Ballet: The Nutcracker’s Dazzling Costumes
    by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS The ways in which The Nutcracker delivers beauty, grace and whimsy to audiences isn’t limited to just dancing (as mesmerizing as every pirouette and twirling leg can be). The intricate sets, sweeping music and, of course, jaw-dropping costumes all add to our ballet experience. […]
  • Behind the Scenes of Cabaret Derriere
    by Christian Carvajal for OLY ARTS The creators and performers of Olympia’s Own TUSH! Burlesque are promotional wordsmiths, though some of their enticements are unprintable here. For the troupe’s recurring series at Obsidian, it promises “a titillating romp to celebrate Halloween,” with lots of “sizzle, sass and fabulous fun.” When […]
  • The Washington Center Season Launch
    by Kelli Samson for OLY ARTS The Washington Center for the Performing Arts has been closed for the summer while the City of Olympia made updates to the HVAC system. Rest assured, come October 5 the center will open its 32nd season with an energetic performance by Gaelic Storm. While […]
  • Random Acts of Dance Collective at Arts Walk
    by Christina Butcher and Ned Hayes for OLY ARTS Olympia Arts Walk is a celebration of the visual arts, but it’s also an opportunity to demonstrate the physicality of creativity. For the fourth year in a row, the Washington Center for the Performing Arts will host a free, public dance […]
  • Lacey Children’s Day at Huntamer Park
    by Kelli Samson for OLY ARTS With the help of Lacey Timberland Library, Lacey Loves to Read and the North Thurston School District, Lacey’s Parks and Recreation Department gives all families a reason to get out of the house this fall. This year marks the 21st-annual Children’s Day, which is […]
  • Studio West Dance Academy’s Decade of Dance
    by Kelli Samson for OLY ARTS Nine years ago, Studio West Dance Academy had two studios, four instructors and one office administrator. Flash forward to this, the company’s 10th season, and to say it’s grown is an understatement. SWDA now has five studios, 15 instructors and six office administrators. Not […]
  • A Season of Diversity at Ballet Northwest
    by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS There isn’t a ballet dancer or aficionado in the South Sound who’s unfamiliar with Ballet Northwest, one of Olympia’s premier, longest-standing ballet companies. That fact is built on Ballet Northwest’s reputation for holding performances with all the beauty and grace for which ballet is […]
  • Rhythm & Rye: Funk, Folk and Fun
    by Adam McKinney for OLY ARTS As the dog days of summer descend on the Pacific Northwest, eyes look to a time when layers and long sleeves will return and it’s even more enticing to venture outside; and in any city worth its salt, there ought to be venues that […]
  • Random Waters: Dance in the Fountain
    by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS On a clear, summer day, the view from the Heritage Park Fountain in Olympia is nothing short of stunning. The Capitol rises behind a line of cherry trees to meet blue sky as jets of water shoot upward, delighting park visitors. It’s the perfect […]
  • Weekend Preview: June 9, 2017
    WEEKEND PREVIEW is your weekly guide to events in Thurston County. This week, there’s enough live music in Olympia to keep your toes tapping all night long, not to mention author readings at some of your favorite bookstores. Click here to listen to our podcast version of Weekend Preview, sponsored by Shur-Kleen […]
  • Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance With Wrinkles of Washington
    by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS For the well-seasoned performers of Wrinkles of Washington, the show must go on. To quote the title of WOW’s new show, happening Saturday at the Olympia High School Performing Arts Center, they’ve Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance. About 25 performers ages 55 and older will […]
  • The ARTery Performance Art Festival
    by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS There’s something unique about the Olympia arts community, especially when it comes to cross-genre collaborations. The arts community is constantly pushing its members to hone their craft, whether through music, theater, writing or dance. This June, that spirit of encouragement and growth will be […]
  • Weekend Preview: May 11, 2017
    WEEKEND PREVIEW is your weekly guide to events in Thurston County. This week, there’s no shortage of theatrical performances, classic dance and musicals to keep you out on the town. The only question is whether you’re in the mood for heart-pumping fun or looking a chance to relax as the curtain […]
  • Into the Woods for Ballet Northwest’s The Sleeping Beauty
    by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS For those familiar with the classic fairy tale — or Disney’s animated takes on it — Ballet Northwest’s The Sleeping Beauty has a few surprises. After the wicked fairy curses her, after she pricks her finger on a spindle, after a kiss ends her […]
  • Young Arts Ambassador Youth Showcase
    by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS The arts are for everyone to create and to enjoy. The Washington Center for the Performing Arts’s Young Arts Ambassadors are learning about the arts from the inside out, and they’ll share their knowledge and creations at a showcase this Saturday. A benefit for […]
  • Studio West Dance Theatre Presents Giselle
    by Nora Kovacs for OLY ARTS Studio West Dance Theatre presents ballet classic Giselle, an adventurous choice for the studio and an emotionally effervescent piece certain to leave audiences filled with joy and energy. From love and the supernatural to vengeance and forgiveness, the ballet spans a multitude of universal […]
  • 2017: The Tigers of Samba Olywa
    by Christian Carvajal for OLY ARTS Samba dancing began as semba in Angola, then evolved into its modern form in early-20th-century Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Olympia’s resident samba troupe, Samba Olywa, united to dance in Procession of the Species 1995. Now it performs several times a year under the direction […]
  • Light It Up at the Luminary Procession
    by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS ((See the OLY ARTS Luminary Procession 2017 photo essay, taken by Shanna Paxton)) The subtler sibling to the many-splendored Procession of the Species, the Luminary Procession shines bright, filling the streets of Olympia with glowing paper lanterns and live music. When it began in […]
  • Experimental Choreography at Out on a Limb
    by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS Out on a Limb, Olympia’s second-annual showcase for experimental dance, promises some surprises, a few chills and a chance to be part of the dance. The event, curated by members of the Random Acts of Dance Collective and Company Y, features a diverse selection […]
  • Studio West Dances to Make a Difference
    by Kelli Samson for OLY ARTS Olympia’s Studio West Dance Theatre and Guild provide an enchanting opportunity each year for the community to enjoy an evening of fine food and dance. All proceeds from the annual Dance to Make a Difference gala go to a local charity. Now in its […]
  • Sealed With a Kiss: Love Letters From Tush! Burlesque
    by Christian Carvajal for OLY ARTS More than love will be in the air when Olympia’s Own Tush! Burlesque takes the main stage of The Washington Center four days after Valentine’s Day. A highlight of the show will be the first-ever aerial burlesque performance by Valerie Veils. “I’m excited. I’m […]
  • Ups and Downs: An Aerial Valentine at Rhythm & Rye
    by Alec Clayton for OLY ARTS Look up, look up for acrobatic feats of aerial grace at Rhythm & Rye as Joanna Gibson and her troupe of nine aerialists offer an evening of dance above the bar and tables at the popular Olympia watering hole—home to entertainment ranging from music […]
  • Whim W’Him Contemporary Dance
    by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS Seattle contemporary dance company Whim W’Him comes to the Minnaert Center for the Arts as part of the South Puget Sound Community College Artist and Lecture Series. The dance company will perform one of its newest programs, SENSATION, under artistic director Olivier Wevers. “This […]
  • Nutcracker, Nutcracker
    by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS As the 124th anniversary of its first production approaches, The Nutcracker might be more popular than ever. There’s an entire website (, in fact, devoted to listing productions of the holiday ballet about a little girl who gets a nutcracker for Christmas and finds […]
  • Jill Carter’s Land of the Sweets
    READ COMPLETE JILL CARTER INTERVIEW HERE >> PRINT ARTICLE BELOW >> by Ned Hayes for OLY ARTS When the curtain first rose on Jill Carter’s original set design for Land of the Sweets 20 years ago, there was a gasp from the audience, followed by a round of applause. The audience […]
  • Jill Carter’s Land of Sweets (Complete Interview)
    READ PRINT ARTICLE HERE >> COMPLETE INTERVIEW BELOW >> by Ned Hayes for OLY ARTS Here’s a holiday story: Once upon a time, a talented, young woman began a ballet class but fell in love with the scenery instead of the dancing. That was merely the beginning of her story. […]