Tonya Lockyer began as a touring artist and educator, eventually finding her roots in Seattle after joining Velocity Dance Center as an artist and completing graduate school at the University of Washington. She went on to be Velocity’s programs and communications manager, and eventually its executive director.
In June, Lockyer announced she will be stepping down from her post this fall after 16 years with the organization.
Entering Velocity in a time of instability, debt, and amid an emergency capital campaign, Lockyer implemented operational and artistic direction and, in just two years, had Velocity operating in the black.
With accolades like the Mayor’s Artz Award, Tonya’s tenure has brought national visibility to the dance center and its residents, acting as the “portal to Seattle dance,” and a destination for touring choreographers. Her leadership influenced exceptional growth in audiences and artist residencies, with consistently sold-out community events and classes.
CHS spoke with Lockyer about how she got involved with Velocity and Seattle’s dance scene, her proudest moments as Artistic Executive Director, the importance of dance for our community, and what’s next for her.
How did you get involved with Velocity?: When I first moved to Seattle, I was teaching and I ran into a Seattle choreographer and said that I was moving to Seattle. She said, “Seattle is great, and my friend KT Niehoff needs someone to stay in her house!” So the very first place I ever lived was in the home of the co-founder of Velocity, KT Niehoff. Continue reading