We are thrilled to announce our 2020 DanceCrush Awards. This year, DanceCrush is doing a special “Decade Edition” for 2020, celebrating contributions to local dance from artists and organizers who have been invested in Seattle dance for a decade or longer!
This year’s DanceCrushes are:
And our Reader’s Choice Award:
DanceCrush is SeattleDance’s program designed to recognize and support achievements in local dance. Started in 2016, SeattleDances annually honors dancers, choreographers, organizers, educators, and productions we have a total crush on. The aim of DanceCrush is not to identify an objective “best,” but rather to recognize local artists making thoughtful, ambitious work, or other significant contributions to the Seattle dance community. 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. Because SeattleDances aims to empower community voices, one DanceCrush is the Reader’s Choice Award, picked from nominations submitted by the Seattle dance community and viewers. More, including previous years’ awardees, at SeattleDances.com/DanceCrush.
This year we are not holding our usual “DanceCrush Celebration,” due to the ongoing pandemic, but instead each awardee will receive an unrestricted $500 grant and be featured in an article published throughout the year on the SeattleDances site – an effort to sustain dialogue and publicity surrounding their work.
About the Artists:
Shawn Roberts serves as the Director of Seattle Theatre Group AileyCamp; Director of STG Dance for PD® (Parkinson’s disease); and Director of STG Dance with Life – programs she has had the honor of helping build from the ground up here in Seattle. Ms. Roberts is the former (and founding) School and Education Director of Spectrum Dance Theater, under the Artistic Direction of Mr. Donald Byrd, where she directed, taught, and produced youth performances for over 18 years. She is applauded for her work in helping transform The School of Spectrum Dance Theater into a curriculum-based school, including a pre-professional division. Ms. Roberts holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and is currently working on her Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She is a Certified Dance for PD® instructor and a Certified Transformational Life Coach. For over 20 years, Ms. Roberts has worked with people of all dance abilities and mobilities and knows the impact that dance can have on the quality of people’s lives. She is grateful to be helping serve the Puget Sound area with the dance programs she directs.
Peggy Piacenza grew up outside Chicago and danced her way to North Carolina, New York and eventually Seattle, where she has lived and worked since 1990. As a choreographer and performer, she’s toured nationally and internationally with Pat Graney, 33 Fainting Spells, Dayna Hanson, and Deborah Hay, as well as with her own work. In 1992, she co-founded Seattle’s repertory dance company, The D-9 Dance Collective. Her choreographic work draws from explorations in video, somatic awareness practices, improvisation and interdisciplinary collaborations. She is co-founder of Base, a nonprofit organization dedicated to elevating risk and invention in dance, performance and multidisciplinary art. She is a 2010 graduate of Smith College’s Ada Comstock Scholars Program where she majored in Religion and Gender Studies. In 2011 she was the inaugural recipient of the Helen Gurley Brown Magic Grant, underwriting her creative project to bring Cambodian and American artists together in Cambodia for a month of cross-cultural dialogue and dancing.
California native Markeith Wiley is a multi-dimensional art-making creative. Influenced by all types of media, the intersections of queerness, blackness & activism, their vocabulary spans a lifetime of experiences. As of late, they have been organizing in the streets of Seattle, working at Cornish College of the Arts, Rainier Dance Center & Seattle Children’s Theater. The pandemic & necessary protests asked Wiley to take a break from creating anything that had nothing to do with the current revolution happening in the USA & around the world. Markeith holds a BFA from Cornish, is a DJ/sound designer & was the Director of Development at Studio Current.
Markeith has worked on too many collaborations to mention them all. Some of their recent favorites include Keyon Gaskin’s “Lavender,” Kitten n Lou’s “Camptacular,” as well as “Jingle All the Gay,” Laura Aschoff & the Grief Girls “Chasm,” and Dani Tirrell’s “Black Bois” just to name a few.
Follow them on Instagram @dark_wiley & stay tuned for their short film “7 Minutes of Your Time” being released at the end of December 2020.
Tracey Wong (she/her) is a queer Teochew-American dance artist, educator, and community space holder. Born and raised in Seattle, Tracey takes pride in representing her city and wishes to inspire folx and cultivate community spaces that empower many to be their full selves, especially for womxn and QTBIPOC communities.
She is the Director of Malicious Vixens, an all-Asian American womxn dance crew and sisterhood who have a solid foundation of love, are about collective creativity, collaboration, and showcase globally to spread their unapologetic joy and bombness wherever they go.
Tracey’s current work centers on the values of joy, community care, sustainability, self-love, and collective-love. She works with her community, peers, and students to build and sustain a strong virtual community through her online dance classes and gatherings — Honey n Sensualitea, Waacking/ Whacking class, and W*acking Open Mic Nights.
Tracey has founded many community arts organizing events such as Queen of the Hill, an all-ladies dance event series, and Punk N Funk, Seattle’s largest Waacking/ Whacking battle. For the past 3 years she has also been a co-organizer and host for Sweet 16, an annual international open-styles dance jam that happens in her favorite neighborhood, Seattle’s Chinatown-ID.
She hopes to continue to face her fears, to continue to learn more in how to honor herself, her culture, and the cultures she participates in. To continue to deepen her understanding of herself, her ancestors, and her communities so that she can continue to heal and sprinkle joy back into her community and loved ones.
Jim Kent (he/him) is originally from Minnesota and Hawaii and moved to Seattle in 2002. He graduated from Cornish College with a BFA in Dance and has performed in Seattle for the last 15 years, touring nationally and internationally with Molly Scott, Mark Haim, zoe | juniper, Dayna Hason, Saint Genet, and Whim W’Him, where he is currently in his 11th Season. His passion for accessible and affordable art space in Seattle has led him to serve on the board at Base: Experimental Art + Space for the last three years. He has enjoyed playing the piano for Diverse Harmony, Seattle’s queer-straight alliance youth chorus, and has been a piano accompanist at PNB, Dance Fremont, and Velocity Dance Center.
Hendri Walujo (he/him) enjoys performing and creating experiences for audiences using his movement-based and improvisational skills. He strives for variety and versatility in life as in performance, and values close collaboration and independent expression. These desires have given him blessed opportunities to work with many notable choreographers on stages and outdoor spaces all over Seattle and beyond since 2002. These performances oscillate between the elaborate and the intimate, from the sublime to the ridiculous.
His favorite memories are walking with a coffee cup in hand in Seattle, NYC and Paris for Mark Haim, running around as showgirl in heels for KT Niehoff in Glimmer 2010 & 2015, being a giant cat and/or mouse for Lucia Neare, channeling mischief and sorrow for Jessica Jobaris, dancing amongst tourists on the waterfront for Kinesis Project NYC, and much more. All can be found at hendri-w.weebly.com. Much love to everyone he’s shared dances with.
Steadily greying female choreographer with film works seen internationally and nationally, Xaviera Vandermay is a Seattle based mover and shaker. As Artistic Director of 3rd Shift Dance and Artist-in-Residence for the city of Redmond, the mission at the forefront of all Xaviera’s projects is to connect communities and artists in new and different ways. She is the creator and producer popular series Battle for the Dance Belt and Shift Session, the later featuring live music by Dark Hip Falls, Naomi Wachira, Whitney Monge, The Bad Tenants, Adra Boo, Caela Bailey, Mike Illvester, Future Shock, LIV T, Rain City Jazz Orchestra, and Julie-C. Ms Vandermay has been seen on stage with Spectrum Dance Theater, Street Level Dance, GI Alliance, Neil Young, VASSY, The Bad Tenants, and Fly Moon Royalty, and on film in the movie Love Pain Sevdah, and music videos by THUNDERPUSSY, Shabazz Palaces, and Caela Bailey. Though now retired from performing, she enjoys teaching classes online as a certified Joel Hall Breathing Floor Barre instructor and working on new film projects under her brand VNDRmade (pronounced Vander-made) with collaborators ARTVISIONAIR. Learn more about Xaviera at www.vndrmade.org.
Special thanks to Case van Rij for underwriting the DanceCrush program.