Dear SeattleDances Community,
After nearly five years running this mighty little organization, we, Megan Stevenson and Kaitlin McCarthy, are ready to move on to other pursuits and perhaps let someone else have a turn at the helm. This decision has been a long time in the making, as we have known always that this would not be a forever-position for either of us, and we always intended to pass it on as it was passed to us.
Established in 2009 by writer Rosie Gaynor, SeattleDances began as a personal blog focused on the Pacific Northwest Ballet, but soon expanded its coverage to include a wide range of dance performances under the management of Kristen Legg in 2010, and subsequently Mariko Nagashima and Anna Waller from 2011 to 2016. Under their leadership Kaitlin began writing for SeattleDances in 2012 and Megan began as an administrative intern in 2015. When Mariko and Anna were ready to move on in 2016, we knew we wanted to take up the mantle of the organization to which we already felt significant connection and commitment.
During our tenure we have left our mark on the organization. Editorially, we increased focus on independent dance that gets less coverage from other sources, broadened the writing styles featured on the site, brought on new writers, started an internship program for aspiring writers, and expanded our readership through social media and monthly newsletters.
Our website also saw improvements with a complete redesign, updated calendar for better user interface and mobile compatibility, updated donation software, and more. On the business end, we established SeattleDances as a 501c3, received grants from 4 Culture and the Office of Arts and Culture, and shifted from a volunteer-organization to one that pays its writers and staff, at least a little bit!
As for our programs designed to serve artists, we offered free seminars on publicity for dance artists and on how to establish and run a dance business, one-on-one grant-writing help, and produced the DanceCrush program for five consecutive years, designed to celebrate local dance through performance and continued press coverage of highlighted artists. We also continued the DanceCHAT program through 2018, to create space for artists and audiences to reflect in person on art-making and issues in the dance community.
We certainly learned a lot along the way, messed up, and figured things out by trial and error, but we are forever grateful for this vehicle that allowed us to put our visions (or at least some of the many!) out into the world. Now we are seeking a new leadership team with a vision for SeattleDances that will continue its legacy of serving the Seattle dance scene. Perhaps that will be through continuing to be the holdout of dance journalism in this city, or perhaps through new and different strategies to serve the community where it is now. Please help us spread the word, so that folks with the imagination and gumption required might envision what they could do with this organization! Application is available now!
We will be accepting applications through the end of March, at which point interviews and transition will happen through June. In the event that an appropriate leadership team is not found by April, we will continue operation of the site at a reduced capacity. We have installed calendar software that will allow producers to submit their own events (check that new feature out HERE) and we may publish an occasional piece. All current articles will remain up and available to view. Then at any point if new leadership expresses interest we can interview/transition at that time. Please download the application for more specific information about SeattleDances.
There are a few people we’d like to thank. We couldn’t have done this without our team of writers, whose contributions of time, skill, insight, and thoughtfulness have been at the very heart of everything SeattleDances has accomplished. We also have endless gratitude for our dedicated supporters, whose belief in dance journalism has kept coverage going while all other news sources have cut back. Thank you to our board, for believing in us, our predecessors, Mariko and Anna, the incredible area artists, and to our readers, for taking the time to learn more about local artists, share their stories, and engage in critical thought around an art form we care so deeply about.
Kaitlin McCarthy and Megan Stevenson
Cover image photograph by Warren Woo.