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World Premiere June 22, 2023

Runtime: 11 minutes


Dylan Wald


Penny Saunders



Bruno Roque & Penny Saunders



Bruno Roque



"Vanishing Act" by Lou Reed, performed bMichael Wall

additional music by Fabian ReimAir


Vanishing Act is inspired by dancer Dylan Wald’s journey of self-reflection while grappling with a career-threatening injury. Complex emotions are illuminated by Penny Saunders’ textured choreography and captured deftly on camera by Bruno Roque. The film’s haunting beauty is enhanced by Reed Nakayama’s lighting design and Michael Wall’s rendition of Lou Reed’s evocative song.

Vanishing Act is supported in part by Pacific Northwest Ballet Dance Film Festival


Filmed on location at Open Space for Arts & Community



"Vanishing Act" by Lou Reed ©EMI Blackwood Music Inc. o/b/o Lou Reed Music


“The Vanishing Act project has proven to be very cathartic for me. It’s been a long, emotional journey and I am so grateful for this collaborative and creative outlet that has really helped me to process everything along the way.”


In February of 2022, Dylan Wald, a principal dancer with Pacific Northwest Ballet, found himself faced with a career-threatening leg injury, requiring a complicated surgery and arduous recovery. Dylan had dealt with previous injuries before (somewhat of an inevitability for professional dancers) but they were relatively minor, and none kept him from performing for more than a few weeks. This time was different.


During the long year away from the stage, Dylan contended with a real uncertainty about the future and found himself reflecting on many aspects of his life, including the relationship with his own body and the inevitability of life without dance.

To find a means of artistic expression at a time when his physical instrument was limited, Dylan explored the idea of a film project with SDC Artistic Director James Yoichi Moore. They quickly approached choreographer Penny Saunders and then filmmaker Bruno Roque, both having worked together and also with Dylan in the past.  Lighting designer Reed Nakayama and musician Michael Wall soon joined the team and the ensuing synergy propelled Dylan’s vision forward.


Bruno Headshot by Sebastian Cvitanic (1)

Bruno has been an integral partner with SDC since the company's founding in 2019. As a choreographer, director, cinematographer and editor, Bruno brings a unique aesthetic and clear point of view to every artistic project. Bruno and choreographer Penny Saunders previously worked together on Alice for SDC in 2020 and on In Any Event for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's 2021 season. Dylan performed in Bruno's Frugivery for SDC's inaugural season.

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Referred to by The New York Times as a "remarkably fresh mind, with talents for suspense and surrealism,"Penny has been sharing her choreographic vision with audiences since 2011. She began working with SDC in 2019, staging two of her pieces for the company’s debut. Penny has since created three new works for SDC's film programming: Home, Alice and Vanishing Act - the latter two in collaboration with Bruno Roque.  

Dylan Wald headshot alt ©Dan Lao_edited.

Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Dylan is currently principal dancer with Pacific Northwest Ballet, where he has danced since 2014. He is a frequent collaborator with SDC, having performed in the company's debut program in 2019 and in 2020's Continuum - both of which included work by Penny Saunders. Dylan and Penny also worked together at PNB in her commissioned work,Wonderland .

Reed Headshot 2016_edited.jpg


Reed is a Seattle-based lighting and projection designer, working in a variety of mediums, including theatre, dance, rock concerts, burlesque and circus. Since 2019, Reed has been the Resident Lighting Designer and Supervisor for Pacific Northwest Ballet and has designed new works for choreographers including Alexei Ratmansky (Wartime Elegy), Jessica Lang (Ghost Variations), Alejandro Cerrudo (Future Memory), and Christopher Wheeldon (Curious Kingdom). Reed is a graduate of Cornish College of the Arts.

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Michael has established a reputation as one of the most innovative and impactful voices in the world of music and dance. Michael writes approximately 200 new commissions a year for leading international dance organizations, music licensing, and collaborative projects. Michael is a frequent collaborator with choreographer Penny Saunders and his compositions have been featured in several SDC films, clouding Penny’s Home and Alice. Learn more about Michael and his work at


Avant Physical Therapy

Tavi Black

Chad Kent Design

Janet McAlpin & David Godsey

Shelby Adele Rogers

Soup Rossignol

Cathy Sarkowsky

Photo credits: film stills ©Bruno Roque, Bruno Roque ©Sebastian Cvitanic, Penny Saunders ©Todd Rosenberg, Dylan Wald ©Dan Lao, Michael Wall ©Marissa Mooney

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