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Transitions Ahead for SeattleDances

As you may have guessed from our recent survey, changes are in store for SeattleDances. While change is exciting, it means the close of one chapter in SeattleDances’ seven-year history. Editors Mariko Nagashima and Anna Waller are both planning new ventures in their lives and will be stepping down from their roles with SeattleDances this summer.

Editors Anna Waller and Mariko Nagashima at the 2014 SeattleDances Carnival
Photo by Joseph Lambert of JazzyPhoto

 After five years in Seattle and three and a half with SeattleDances, Anna is moving to New York City in August to pursue a PhD in Theatre at Columbia University. She’ll continue writing about dance, of course—her current focus is Isadora Duncan and early twentieth-century concert dance. She started writing for SeattleDances in January 2013 and became an editor just a few months later.

Mariko has been the constant in SeattleDances: she began writing for the site in 2010, before becoming Blog Manager in 2011, and finally, Editor in 2012. She, too, is ready for a change, although she will continue to be an active part of the Seattle dance community. She plans to stay involved with SeattleDances events like Dance CHAT and Dance CRUSH in 2017, but will be stepping down from administrative and editorial tasks.

Screenshot of the old SeattleDances Blogspot

In the time that Mariko and Anna have been at the helm of SeattleDances, the organization and the website itself have seen extensive growth and change. Looking back, 2013 was a distinctly exciting year for SeattleDances. We held a Carnival fundraiser in July 2013 to raise money for a website redesign. The new site went live in September, just in time for Velocity’s Fall Kick Off and PNB’s season opener. The old Blogspot had served its purpose, and we were excited to present a professional, versatile format of SeattleDances that more closely reflected what we envisioned for the organization: reviews, yes, but interviews and editorials, as well as a comprehensive resource for Seattle dancers and dance lovers.

In 2014, we ran our first guest editorial (Shannon Stewart and Mary Margaret Moore’s “The Hay Way or the Highway”), and we ran an editorial series on the economics of dance during the performance-light summer season.

In 2015, we received a sustained support grant from 4Culture. We were thrilled to receive our first grant support, which in turn helped us organize more events that brought us face-to-face with our community. We ran a press workshop that July and we started hosting our monthly Dance CHAT events in the fall of 2015.

The first SeattleDances Dance CHAT at 10 degrees.
Photo by Warren Woo

2016 has been a year of planning. Knowing that changes were ahead, we have been preparing for the future of SeattleDances. We have more staff—both editorial and administrative—ready to take on leadership, as well as interns and a growing volunteer base. We have plans for DanceCRUSH in early 2017.

The challenge has always been to make SeattleDances a sustainable organization. It continues to be a volunteer-run effort, supported largely through personal donations. If you want to be involved, send us an email. We are always looking for writers, but we are also looking for people who’d like to be involved in other ways, too.

Editors Anna Waller and Mariko Nagashima at the 2014 SeattleDances Carnival
Photo by Joseph Lambert of JazzyPhoto

Anna is leaving and Mariko is changing her role, but we are both keen to see SeattleDances continue under new leadership. We believe that the Seattle dance community is stronger when we talk about the work we see. We want to see SeattleDances continue as a driving force for arts writing in this town. Most importantly, we want SeattleDances to remain a steadfast part of Seattle’s dance culture—talking, thinking, writing about dance and supporting those who do it, make it, see it, and love it. Though this is the end of one era, these are exciting times for the Seattle dance community, and we look forward to seeing what the future holds.