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SPOTLIGHT: NAPHTALI ANN

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:

Naphtali Ann (she/her)

When did you come to Seattle and why?

During college, I had lived in Seattle for a summer and always wanted to come back. Wanting to be closer to ailing parents in Idaho, I moved to Seattle from Houston in August 2009. Though Houston’s dance scene was vibrant, I was excited to explore the growing dance scene in Seattle.

What’s your role in Seattle dance?

I think this is a question probably every Seattle dancer asks themselves on a regular basis. Dancing in my 40s now, personal challenges, and post-pandemic life has led me to search for what I am really passionate about and find joy in. I performed with Karin Stevens Dance company for 7 years and DanceJenkinsDance for a season back in 2013/2014-with freelance work peppered in there-also performing in myriad festivals. In 2017, I continued freelancing and started presenting work. To stay involved in the dance community, I regularly take classes, such as Dance Undercurrent and attend shows as well. I’m freelancing still but also aim to be making work this next season.

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

My favorite kind of work to make or do is site specific, either out in nature or in the city. I love improvisational, partnering, and collaborate work as well.

Tell us about your next performance or last performance.

Last performance I did was in Wade Madsen’s work that was performed as a part of 12 Minutes Max. I’ve also been thrilled to be a part of collaborating with and in Tabitha Steger’s work called Of.The.Seasons this past January and April. It’s an “intermingling of culinary and movement arts into a singularly unique performance experience, with pop-ups in different spaces.” We hope to have something in the works in October. Of.The.Seasons feels like a wonderful way, especially since the pandemic, to connect with community through fantastic food and unique locations. My next choreographic projects include a dance film and a piece exploring grief.

Tell us about your favorite performance that you’ve seen in Seattle and why you loved it.

It’s so hard to decide…but most recently Long Playing by Rachael Lincoln and Leslie Seiters. I loved the use of props in a way that made you feel connected to the dancers, as well as the partnering. And then bringing some audience members to sit on the stage, towards the end of the piece, as Rachael and Leslie moved and partnered around them–was so emotional after the isolation of the pandemic and felt so visceral. The piece really resonated with me and I left feeling inspired.

Photo by Catlyn Griswell.

Recommend three things!

  1. Get outside! Go to the mountains or the water. We are surrounded by so much magnificent hiking to lakes or mountain tops and it will help your mental health and literally change your cells.
  2. Lighthouse Roasters in Fremont! Best coffee and baristas in Seattle!
  3. Dance conditioning work such as lifting weights, Pilates or Gyrotonics is so important! Game changer for longevity as a dancer/mover! I highly recommend Backcountry Pilates or Pivot Movement Studio;)

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

Instagram: @naphster