Skip to content


After much deliberation over so many fantastic performances in the last year, we are thrilled to announce our 2017 DanceCrush Awards.

Daniel Costa  for performance and community presence

The beginnings of an emergent truth about whipped cream (Lauren Linder) for thoughtful use of props

The Purple Lemonade Collective for their fierce performances all over the city

The SOLO(s) Project (Mary Sheldon Scott) for choreography and performance

Nia-Amina Minor for her performance in Spectrum Dance Theatre’s SHOT

Theory 11: Study Two (Marlo Ariz) for performance and choreography

one great, bright, brittle alltogetherness (Cherdonna) for ambitious vision and outstanding production

Isla (Cameo Lethem) for choreography and performance

And our Reader’s Choice Award:

Nico Tower  for being a multi-disciplinary Seattle dance super-hero

We can’t get enough of these fantastic artists, and we’re honoring them at our DanceCrush Celebration on January 6, 2017 at Erickson Theatre. Please join us for seven award-winning performances, including:

Daniel Costa Dance
Presenting Interposition: Movement II with company dancers

Lauren Linder
Presenting The beginnings of an emergent truth about whipped cream (excerpted), featuring dancers Adriana Hernández, Tess Keesling, and Alexandra Spencer-Beatty.

The Purple Lemonade Collective
Featuring company dancers Kianna Lewis, Emma Alexander, Sarah Stanger, Marcus Fontenot

Cameo Lethem
Presenting Isla (excerpted), featuring dancers Chloe Albin, Alicia Pugh, Hayley Shannon, and Emily Durand

Mary Sheldon Scott
Presenting The SOLO(s) Project (excerpted), featuring dancers Mark Haim, Jim Kent, Corrie Befort

Nia-Amina Minor
Performing an original work

Marlo Ariz Dance Project
Presenting Theory 11: Study Two featuring company dancers

Also Honoring:

Nico Tower

Jody Kuehner/Cherdonna Shinatra


RSVP on Facebook

About DanceCrush
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 2017 DanceCrush receive? Each artist will be honored at a SeattleDances event in early 2018, 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, here.

About the Artists

Nico Tower (our Reader’s Choice Award)
Intermedia artist Nico Tower seeks the unknown.  Educated in multimedia design, she works with graphics, photography, video, and lighting design in tandem with her music and dance practices. Since 2001, Tower has independently released ten albums and performed in more than 40 cities across the US. As a Seattle based artist, she has scored nearly 50 contemporary dance works, appearing in every major dance festival/venue in Washington state. She is a two-time recipient of the Cornish Arts Incubator Residency, and has produced works supported by 4Culture, The Office of Arts & Culture, Velocity Dance Center in partnership with 10degrees, and Creative Dance Center. She currently teaches composition and digital music production at the Northwest School and Seattle Waldorf High School. She is a dance musician at Cornish College of the Arts, and was recently appointed to the board at the Dance Educator’s Association of Washington.  // //

Mary Sheldon Scott (Choreographer of The SOLO(s) Project)
Choreographer & Visual Artist Mary Sheldon Scott has been exploring visual media and creating innovative performance works for over 40 years. In 1993 Scott began working in a dedicated collaboration with nationally renowned composer Jarrad Powell, and in 1994 they formed Scott/Powell Performance to explore the intersection of movement, sound, and visual territories. Scott’s choreographic work has been presented through On the Boards/Seattle, Dance Theater Workshop/NYC, Portland Institute of Contemporary Art’s T:BA Festival, Myrna Loy Center/Helena, The Southern Theater/Minneapolis, Western Washington University/Bellingham, Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Celebrate Seattle Festival, Velocity Dance Center/Seattle, Composer/Choreographer, among others. Projects of Scott/Powell have received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, National Performance Network Creation Fund, Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Artist Trust, 4Culture, and the Office of Arts & Culture/Seattle. Scott/Powell has received three Centrum residencies/Port Townsend, WA, and was a 2008 SCUBA Touring Company. Individual awards include an Artist Trust Fellowship and Velocity Artist-in-Residence. Scott teaches creative process, choreography, improvisation, and performance practice, and has been a guest faculty at University of Washington, Reed College, Cornish College, and Velocity Dance Center. Scott holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Choreography from the University of Colorado, Boulder(1990).;

The Purple Lemonade Collective
The Purple Lemonade Collective is an artist group based out of Seattle, WA. Our objective is to create art that educates, inspires, and entertains. As a collective, we believe that every artist should have the means and a platform to present their work. We draw together our resources to ensure every artist can develop their craft to its fullest potential and create more avenues for expression. Every project is produced, directed and presented by a member of the collective. The PLC includes choreographers, dancers, models, stylists, graphic designers, videographers, and music producers working together to make art accessible to our communities whether they’re across the street or around the globe.

Cameo Lethem (Choreographer of Isla)
Cameo Lethem is a Seattle-based choreographer and dancer originally from Kaneohe, Hawaii. Though a passionate dance-maker at the age of 5, her formative background began as a competitive gymnast until she was 14. Cameo then received her formal education at Skidmore College where she graduated with majors in Dance and Neuroscience. She’s had the privilege of sharing her work as part of Velocity Dance Center’s The Bridge Project Summer 2017, On the Boards’ Northwest New Works 2017, //TECTONIC MARROW SOCIETY’s IOTA (2016), and Ellenore Scott’s The Breaking Glass Project (2015).

Nia-Amina Minor
Nia-Amina Minor is a performer, teaching artist, and screen dance filmmaker from South Los Angeles. Her points of inspiration include cinema and the intersection of performance studies and social movements. She is a co-founder of No)one Art House, a multi-disciplinary collective that creates movement-based artistic experiences throughout Los Angeles. Nia-Amina received her MFA in dance studies at UC Irvine. Prior to that she studied at Stanford University and graduated with a major in Communication and a minor in Film and Media Studies. She began her dance training at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy in Los Angeles.  Her professional career includes dancing with The Union Project Dance where she performed at the Inside/Out series at Jacob’s Pillow, as well as performing with No)one. Art House throughout Los Angeles. She is currently in her second season with Spectrum Dance Theater and has performed in acclaimed new works such as Shot and (Im)pulse.

Jody Kuehner/Cherdonna (Creator of one great, bright, brittle alltogetherness)
Jody Kuehner is a Seattle-based dance artist, director, and drag queen Cherdonna Shinatra. She is 2015 Stranger Genius Award winner, Velocity Dance Center’s 2014 Artist in Residence, and 2010 Spotlight Award winner. Her choreography has been presented by every major contemporary dance venue in Seattle including On The Boards, Velocity Dance Center, Bumbershoot, CityArtsFest, Northwest Film Forum, Henry Art Gallery and Frye Art Museum. Jody received funding for her current work from the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project. Jody was Dayna Hanson’s Production Coordinator and Assistant Director 2010-2015 for various projects. She danced with Pat Graney company from 2007 – 2016 also assisting Graney’s KTF Prison Project. As Cherdonna, she performs with award-winning international sensations Kitten N’ Lou and The Atomic Bombshells.

Daniel Costa
Originally from New Jersey, Daniel Costa moved to Seattle, WA in 2015. Costa is a choreographer, performer and educator who seeks to strip away shame and access vulnerability by channeling athleticism, artistry, and healing through dance. He teaches classes at Velocity Dance Center and Fremont Abbey Arts Center, and choreographs, directs and performs for his company, Daniel Costa Dance (DCD). His recent choreographic project, Interposition: Movement II, has received partial support from 4Culture and the Seattle International Dance Festival’s James Ray Residency Project. As a performer, Costa has worked with Chamber Dance Company, Madboots Dance, Stephanie Liapis, The Three Yells, Wade Madsen, Cherdonna Shinatra, and has performed works by Crystal Pite, Kate Weare, Shen Wei, Larry Keigwin, and Manuel Vignoulle, among others. Costa holds a BFA in dance from Rutgers University. More info on Costa’s work and his company can be found at

Marlo Ariz (Choreographer of Theory 11: Study Two)
Marlo Ariz is a director, teacher, and producer in Seattle, WA. She finds fulfillment and joy in celebrating and practicing all that encompasses and defines dance. Originally from Michigan, she earned her BFA in dance from Western Michigan University. After moving to Seattle in 2004, Ariz founded Exit Space, a center for dance education and performance. While developing Exit Space, Ariz has continued to work as a choreographer and teacher. Her work has been presented at Bridge Project, Nextfest NW, and Strictly Seattle (Velocity Dance Center), High Wire Series (Seattle U), Bellingham Rep Dance, Boost Dance Festival, Cornish Dance Theater, Western Michigan University, and Jazz Dance World Congress (Mexico and NY). Through Badmarmar Dance, she self produced works Ten Sides and Split Bill. Ariz has served as faculty at Cornish College, produces Boost Dance Festival, and last year founded a new artist’s space, The Nest. After folding her long time company, badmarmardance, Ariz returned to creating with Marlo Ariz Dance Project. Her new company is project based with core company members and guest performers.

Lauren Linder (The beginnings of an emergent truth about whipped cream)
Originally from Indiana, Lauren Linder earned a BFA in Dance and a BA in Spanish from The University of Iowa. Since 2015, Linder’s choreography has been presented at the Iron Factory in Philadelphia, RAD Dance Fest in Kalamazoo, MI, the Seattle International Dance Festival Spotlight Series, Converge Dance Festival, Inlay Dance Festival, Sanity Café through SIDF, Ktisk Contemporary Dance through Access Velocity, and On the Boards Open Studio. As a performer Linder has worked with Petra Zanki, Alice Gosti, DangerSwitch!, Alyza DelPan-Monley, the Baker-Tarpaga Dance Project, and Anna Krupp. Currently Linder dances for The Three Yells.