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SPOTLIGHT: Zsilas Michael Hughes

Our Spotlight series emerged out of the desire for audiences and other artists to connect with dancers who they may not know–because the artist is new to the area, or from a different generation or pocket of the dance scene. The Q&A format lets Seattle dance artists to introduce themselves in their own words, or share where they are in this moment in time.

Name and pronoun:

Zsilas Michael Hughes

When did you come to Seattle and why?

I first arrived in Seattle on January 2, 2021 in the aspiration of advancing my dancer career. I was coming to be a professional division student here at Pacific Northwest Ballet and quickly came to be a new member of the company.

What’s your role in Seattle dance?

In the dance community of Seattle, I play the role of a multifaceted artist.
Through the art of dancing, choreographing, composing, and other complimentary crafts such as singing and songwriting, I am able to voice my ideas and points of view with the audience of our community. I also am an active participant in the rising Ballroom scene here in the Pacific Northwest, competing in categories such as Vogue Performance and Runway. You can also find me in performances for The Seattle Project founded by PNB soloist Amanda Morgan.

What kind of work is your favorite to make/do?

Being so young graces me with the luxury of trial and error, rewarding me in the wealth of failure in order to succeed. I have yet to find something I value as my favorite way of being creative. Perhaps in five to seven years I am able to answer that with a clear mastership.

Hughes choreographing and coaching former PNB professional division student Ash Bradley for world premiere of new “Piano Concerto Appasionata.” Photo by Eric Hippolito.

What do you bring to the rehearsal room?

Throughout many fruitful opportunities I have been able to wear many hats in the rehearsal space. Meaning that I understand what it is like to be a choreographer and rehearsal director in conducting a room, whilst playing the role of muse, known as the dancer. Given my experience and knowledge of these specific titles and their mentality, I am able to assess the room’s atmosphere as well as those within it. This assessment allows me to make an active decision about what energy I need to provide the space in order to contribute to the progress of the work as well as the progress of the community.

Soloist in Khepri choreography by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. Photo by Angela Sterling.

Recommend three things!

Three things that I recommend are quite simple:
Love yourself
Do what sets your soul on fire
Spread the love that you share with yourself

If people wanted to follow you and your work, what is the best way for them to do that?

For those interested in following my work, Instagram keeps you updated about my upcoming performances as well as showcases full live performances.
Follow me @Zsilasmichael
(There are a few fan accounts so be sure to look for the legendary Marsha P. Johnson as the profile picture. )