by Susan Fried
Joy, just like the music, reverberated throughout the Garfield High School gym as Bubblin Brown Sugar — the long-standing Seattle high school dance contest — got underway on Saturday, June 17.
Continue reading PHOTO ESSAY | Bubblin Brown Sugar 2023
by Victor Simoes
Celebrating 24 years of evolving a distinctly Seattle hip-hop culture, Massive Monkees will kick off their yearly celebration, Massive Monkees Day, on Saturday, May 27. The three-day event will include a hip-hop breaking competition with cash prizes for the winners, outdoor events with vendors and food, and live performances from Seattle’s legendary B-boy crew.
Continue reading Massive Monkees Celebrates 24 Years With a Hip-Hop Dance Competition, Community Jams, and Live Music
by Shamaar Thomas
The “Cake Walk,” an event fondly remembered from Wa Na Wari’s cofounder Elisheba Johnson’s childhood, is getting a 21st-century makeover. On April 4, the nonprofit Black arts center Wa Na Wari will celebrate its fourth birthday and host its first Cake Dance event at Washington Hall in Seattle. Accompanied by Northwest bakeries, such as Tom Douglas, the cake dance is not only a celebration of Wa Na Wari’s presence in the Central District since 2019, but also a moment to capture Black joy, Johnson says. As a Black artist and curator for Wa Na Wari, Johnson says she is excited to bring back a tradition with a history of growing community ties. In doing so, the event aims to carry out Wa Na Wari’s vision of preserving Black culture and art in Seattle.
Continue reading Wa Na Wari’s Upcoming Cake Dance Offers a Moment to Dance, Win Cakes, and Celebrate Black Joy
by Ronnie Estoque
A hole was left in the local dance community’s heart when the Massive Monkees (MM) dance crew had to close their Chinatown-International District studio, The Beacon, in May of 2020 due to the pandemic and increases in rent from the property owner. While MM had occupied the space for nearly eight years, they had only met the landlord once since opening that location in 2013. Other factors contributed to the MM crew choosing to leave their original space, including the apartments right above their dance space, which meant their music had to be cut off early. According to Hocine Jouini, who has been a member of the dance crew since 2008, the studio was a boon to the community: Community members would often support local businesses around the CID after attending events or classes.
Continue reading Massive Monkees Dance Crew Reopens The Beacon Dance Studio
by Fiona Dang
Founded in 2018, the dance company EL SUEÑO centers the experiences of BIPOC communities as powerful narratives worthy of being seen and celebrated. Founder Alicia Mullikin has sought to cultivate an inclusive space in the dance world that recognizes ancestral lineage and Latin American culture. EL SUEÑO seeks to dispel the myth of the American Dream as a self-made accomplishment and recognizes it as a collective effort, tied to the past.
Continue reading Dance Company EL SUEÑO Pays Homage to Ancestry and Latin American Culture
by Chamidae Ford
On August 15, the South Park Collab is throwing a party. Day Party, an outdoor dance event, will take place from 2 to 7 p.m. along the Duwamish River, with picturesque views of Downtown Seattle, and will feature arts-filled fun for those over 21.
The event has been organized by Cheryl Delostrinos, the co-founder of Au Collective. Delostrinos views herself as a connector, and Day Party aims to remind South Park that even after over a year of isolation, a powerful community exists there.
Continue reading South Park Collab Presents Day Party: Celebrating Art, Music, and Community
by Susan Fried
Melba Ayco, the founder and artistic director of Northwest Tap Connection is a Gullah Geechee and Creole storyteller and last Friday and Saturday, July 16 and 17, Northwest Tap celebrated their third annual Seattle Gullah Geechee Festival. Ms. Melba told stories about Gullah Geechee traditions around food, culture, and heritage. She talked about the importance of family and the practice of lifting the baby up during a Gullah christening, the significance of the conch shell in Gullah spirituality, and the history behind the “Emancipation” maypole. In-between the stories, Northwest Tap dancers and instructors performed numerous dances inspired by Gullah Geechee heritage.
Continue reading PHOTO ESSAY: Northwest Tap Connection’s Third Annual Gullah Geechee Festival
by Jasmine M. Pulido
Estrella Gonzales-Sanders’ parents may have been prophetic when they named her Estrella, the Spanish word for “star.” The young Renton resident has already danced in front of notable stars like Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Barry Gordy, and Stevie Wonder, to name a few. Now, she has landed a small feature in Debbie Allen’s newly released Netflix documentary, Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker. And at age 12, Estrella’s own rise to stardom has only just begun.
Continue reading Rising Star Estrella Gonzales-Sanders Featured in New Debbie Allen Netflix Documentary
by Neve Kamilah Mazique-Bianco
You want my words? You want my body. They come from in here.
I have been penning my brain thoughts and dancing my body thoughts and singing my soul thoughts since I was 6 years old. When I was four or so, I performed my own version of Swan Lake for my audience of one, my mama, three if you count the cats. My costar was a stuffed swan, my ballet bar and movement scaffolding my walker.
People love overzealousness. Precociousness. It is shocking and interesting that I could presume that my body is something you would want to look at or see move. Amazing that I wanted to be a dancer, born like I was. I didn’t begin dancing as a symmetrical flower hacked down by a storm, scattered, scattered, replanted and learning to grow into dancing again. I always was this way. And I become more and more this way.
It’s almost like, you consider the unlikely possibility of my seamless inclusion more when I say it’s a good idea. Because I was given the gift of convincing speech. For whatever reason. You believe me.
But how much do you believe me? How much do you listen?
Continue reading POETRY: Incidentally—I Don’t Just Write About Bodies, I Have a Body Too.
by Beverly Aarons
Dance is physical, primal, and ephemeral — bodies brush against each other, and sometimes audience members are so close that they could reach out and touch dancers as they glide by only a few feet away. So what happens to dance in a socially distant world where bodies must remain six feet apart and preferably masked? And how do dancers, choreographers, and the community adapt, change, and provide a sustainable model for the future? Donald Byrd, the artistic director of Spectrum Dance Theater, introspected about how he and Spectrum are transforming and how he hopes to leave a legacy that will provide a model for creating dance performance in the future.
Continue reading What Happens to Professional Dance in a Socially Distant World?