The Seattle dance community has many outstanding qualities, but what makes it more than just a wonderful place to work, dance, and create, is the fact that it is a community—in every sense of the word. At its core are people willing to help their friends when struck by hardship. Carla María Negrete Martínez has been part of the fabric of the dance community since her days as a student at Cornish College of the Arts. Her wife, Jerusha Johnson, was recently struck by a car while walking home from work. Though Jerusha survived and is now in stable condition, her road to recovery is long and difficult, and the couple faces great emotional and financial strain. This is where the Seattle dance community has stepped in. Friends of Carla and Jerusha have gathered around the couple and organized a benefit concert this Friday, March 28 at 8 PM at Velocity Dance Center. All proceeds will go towards helping with Jerusha’s medical bills and the aftermath of this tragedy.
“The idea for the concert came from a need to help,” says Alicia Mullikin, one of the benefit’s coordinators. “The majority of Carla and Jerusha’s friends are young artists as well. This makes it difficult to contribute monetarily. A feeling of helplessness can be overwhelming for all who love them.” Through a conversation with Cornish professor and choreographer Michele Miller, Mullikin and Miller conceived the idea of producing a benefit show as a way to contribute. “After Velocity Dance Center generously donated their space, we found a number of dance companies and artists that were willing to share their work for the benefit.” Carla has been an active dancer in the community, as well as a writer for SeattleDances, and many of the companies participating in the benefit are groups she has recently performed with. Ashani Dances, Entropy, Badmarmar Dance, and Redd Legg Dance will all present pieces at the event as well as choreographers Michele Miller, Amy Johnson, Alice Gosti and Molly Sides, and Wade Madsen.
“We are a part of a beautiful and generous community that has shown so much love and support for our friends,” says Mullikin. “The medical bills and time lost would be enough to overwhelm anyone. We hope this small gesture will help make their lives just a bit easier.” This outpouring of love and generosity is a testament to the tremendous amount of heart that buoys our local dance scene, as well as to the beautiful spirits of both Carla and Jerusha.