After much deliberation over so many fantastic performances in the last year, we are thrilled to announce our 2019 DanceCrush Awards. This year’s selection includes artists who have been essential members of the community for decades, newly arrived and under-the-radar artists, and everything in between!
This year’s DanceCrushes are:
Alia Swersky for choreography and performance
Ivana Lin for artistry in performance
La Tercera Reina for dynamic performance
Anita Kuroiwa-Schiff for foundational contributions to Seattle dance
Mikhail Calliste for artistry in performance
Hey There Peach Pot for creative narrative in choreography
Simone Pin Productions for production and performance
Elby Brosch for performance and choreography
And our Reader’s Choice Award:
Meg Fox for championing Seattle dance through lighting and mentorship
We can’t get enough of these fantastic artists, and we’re honoring them at our DanceCrush Celebration on January 18, 2020. Please join us in toasting these artist and for six award-winning performances, including:
La Tercera Reina
By Alicia Mullikin, featuring members of the original cast
Performed and choreographed by Ivana Lin
Hey There, Peach Pot
By Ayako Shapiro, featuring members of the original cast
Choreographed by Shay Simone,
Featuring Annya Pin, Shay Simone, Emily Spicer, and Lindy Lou
WHEN YOUR ARMS ACHED, I WATCHED THE MOUNTAIN HOLD ITS FRAGILE FORM
An excerpt choreographed by Alia Swersky, performed by Hannah Rice
Drama Tops, this is for you (excerpted)
Created and performed by Elby Brosch, co-choreographed and performed by Shane Donohue
DanceCrush is SeattleDance’s program designed to recognize and support achievements in local dance. Started in 2016, SeattleDances annually honors dancers, choreographers, and productions we have a total crush on. But aside from our affections, what will recipients of a 2019 DanceCrush receive? Each artist will be honored at a SeattleDances event in early 2020, receive an honorarium, followed by a feature article on each DanceCrush published throughout the year in an effort to sustain dialogue and publicity surrounding their work. It is our hope that these recognitions will help promote individual artists and create prestige for the dance community as a whole among other arts genres. One DanceCrush is the Reader’s Choice Award, picked from nominations submitted by the Seattle dance community. More, including last year’s awardees, at SeattleDances.com/DanceCrush.
About the DanceCrush Celebration:
Join us at the Erickson on January 18, 2020 for our fourth annual DanceCrush celebration! We will toast this year’s awardees and present a mixed bill of six of the awarded artists. Doors open at 7:00pm, performances and toasts begin at 7:30pm. Festive, celebratory attire encouraged.
SeattleDances is Seattle’s link to all things dance. Through exclusive previews, engaging editorials, and timely reviews, SeattleDances tracks the pulse of the Seattle dance scene. We strive to increase city-wide appreciation of dance and act as a resource to the dance community as a whole. The site creates an opportunity to watch, learn, question, ponder, and discuss dance and dance-related topics. SeattleDances is committed to supporting local dance companies and enlightening audiences with informative previews and detailed reviews. With a comprehensive calendar of dance events, as well as listings of auditions and workshops, SeattleDances is a centralized source for dance information. Anyone interested in dance is welcome here, from patrons to professional dancers and from dedicated students to art lovers seeking to learn more about dance. Check us out at www.SeattleDances.com.
About the Artists:
Meg Fox (our Reader’s Choice Award)
Apart from a brief hiatus while in divinity school, Meg has been designing lights in Seattle since 1986. Before that she had a career in civil disobedience and general trouble making in Arizona. She has lots of fancy pants lighting credits, “Who is that?” kind of credits, and everything in between. A full list is available upon request – but really why would you want that – it’s several pages long and very dull. It is about the people and the practice. She has worked with some amazing humans.
Meg has been on the faculty/staff of the Dance Dept. at Cornish for over 20 years. She lights the work for the faculty and students; and she teaches young dance artists how to design light and work in production. Meg is very grateful to get to do the work she does with the people she does it. She would also like to retire.
Anita Kuroiwa-Schiff is currently on the faculty of Seattle Children’s Theatre and Seattle Academy. She founded the dance program (grades 6 – 12) for Seattle Academy in addition to a children’s dance company. She taught at Seattle Central College for 25 years (the only accredited dance class within the Seattle Community College system).
She has performed, taught and directed in the greater Northwest for the past 40 years. Originally from Chicago, Ms Kuroiwa-Schiff began her training with what later became the Chicago City Ballet. Her training also included Hubbard Street Dance Theatre, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and the Paris International School of Dance.
Her choreographic and teaching credits include working with such institutions as Seattle Repertory Theatre, The Group Theatre, Pacific Arts Center, Evergreen State College, NW Folklife, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Paul Robeson Theatre, Langston Hughes Theatre, Black Arts/West Theatre and Sphinx Dance Theatre. Ms. Kuroiwa-Schiff has written and directed four original summer stage shows for Seattle Children’s Theater (Motor City Musical Revue, Children of War, Say A Little Prayer, and Children of The Sun. She has choreographed/directed over ten other works for SCT form 2001 to the present. Her favorite was The Lion King. “I especially love working with children. Their sense of wonder, discovery and excitement concerning the art of dance is infectious.”
Alia Swersky has been a Seattle based movement artist and creator since 1998. She is best known as an improviser, choreographer, performer, ritual creator, mentor and teacher. Alia is on faculty at Cornish College of the Arts where she has been teaching creative process, choreography and improvisation since 2005.
Swersky is interested in visual beauty and embodied beauty insofar as it paradoxically destroys and amplifies false ideals of beauty. It’s a practice of watching what bubbles up and always asking, who is this for? For whom is this beautiful? It’s a real feeling to stand on the precipice of an aging body and stay with this form that threatens to dispose of anyone over 35 years old. Her teaching and work seeks to create practices that embrace endurance–on stage and in life–and that frame endurance as acts of resistance, resilience, release, and beauty. aliaswersky.com
Alicia Mullikin (La Tercera Reina)
Originating from Los Angeles, Alicia Mullikin is a Chicana choreographer, dancer, and teaching artist. Most recently she received recognition as a Northwest Latina artist and activist on the TASTEMADE series Uncharted: Seattle. Alicia was also a featured artist on the PBS/KCTS-9 Emmy-Winning episode of BORDERS & HERITAGE: Los Artistas (2018/19). Alicia will premiere her new evening-length work EL SUEÑO, at Velocity Dance Center in 2020. EL SUEÑO will reveal the complex navigation between two cultures inherent in the first generation American experience. To make a supporting donation or to find out more info about Alicia, check out ALICIAMULLIKIN.COM
Mikhail Calliste hails from the beautiful Islands of Trinidad and Tobago. Growing up in such a rich culture, his understanding of movement derived from watching local carnivals and folk dance performances that were presented to the public. His love and appreciation for the arts grew after moving to New York and being exposed to different forms of movement languages. Upon graduating high school, Calliste continued to explore more of what world of dance and beyond had to offer. Attending the University of the Arts under the Direction of Donna Faye Burchfield, the possibilities became endless for Calliste. Opportunities to work with Choreographers such as Ronald K. Brown, Mark Haim, Douglas Becker, Netta Yerushalmy, and many more, gave him the tools he needed to further succeed not only within his undergraduate years, but as he transitioned into his professional career. After graduating, Calliste continues to indulge in movement creation and research with intention to further cultivate his voice and define his artistry. Mikhail is pleased to continue his second season with Spectrum Dance Theater, under the direction of Donald Byrd.
Simone Pin Productions
Simone Pin Productions is a west coast-based women of color owned production company, co-founded by Shay Simone and Annya Pin. Inspired by their shared background as women of color and themes of female empowerment, Simone Pin Productions creatively intertwines these concepts and produces thought provoking shows that push the envelope and captivates audiences with their diverse cast, sex appeal and editorial aesthetics through technical burlesque. In addition to entertaining audiences with an experience that is innovative, sexy and powerful, Simone Pin Productions strongly believe in providing artists with a professional work environment where they can train, grow and feel valued.
Elby Brosch (The Drama Tops)
Elby Brosch is a trans masculine dancer and choreographer and the founder of the Drama Tops. He choreographs to build connections and understandings from a marginalized viewpoint to the greater community. He distills the trans experience down to what makes us human and offers that to his audiences. He believes empathy heals wounds and builds connections. His work has been presented by On The Boards in Northwest New Works, at Velocity in a co-produced show, This That & The Other, and in Velocity produced shows, Fall Kick Off, and Next Fest Northwest. The Drama Tops have also performed in Family Meal, Heels! At Cha Cha, The Photon Factory, and Catharsis.
Ayako Shapiro (Hey There, Peach Pot)
Ayako Shapiro was born in a small town in upstate NY and graduated with a BA in Performance and Choreography and Asian Studies at Skidmore College. During her time there, and since moving to Seattle five years ago, she has worked with The Limón Dance Company, Brian Brooks, Take Ueyama, Stephanie Liapis, Alicia Mullikin, and Lauren Linder amongst others. When choreographing, Ayako enjoys exploring the tangible interactions between people and creating a narrative. She looks forward to continuing to choreograph in Seattle and is appreciative of her dancers and magic they breathe into Hey There, Peach Pot.
Ivana Lin is a Chinese, Taiwanese American and local Seattleite who began her dance training at the Pacific Northwest Ballet School at the age of six. She has received a B.A. in dance as well as a B.S. in Physiology from the University of Washington. Ivana has also gone on to perform with companies and individuals such as the Chamber Dance Company, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Bandaloop Company, KT Niehoff, N.E.W. Dance Ensemble, Khambatta Dance Company, and The Gray. She is deeply intrigued in developing an understanding of the human body, expressively as well as physically.