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Seattle Dance Annual celebrates busy dance scene

New online publication chronicles work of 65 Northwest companies.
Dancer Karin Stevens in photo by Dieter Zander.

A brand-new publication, "Seattle Dance Annual 2013," not only provides information and images of last year’s highlights, but also chronicles 65 dance organizations in the area.

“It’s one part resource guide and one part celebration,” said creator Rosie Gaynor, who solicited contributions from local dance scholars, reviewers (including this writer), and photographers.

Gaynor previously started the website seattledances.com after receiving a NEA scholarship for dance writing. Her articles about ballet have appeared in Pointe, Dance Magazine, Dance International, City Arts, and the Financial Times.

“I love dance. I danced as a kid in Milan and Minnesota, and I’ve written about dance for several years,” she said. “When I started working on Seattle Opera publications years ago as managing editor, I had so much fun, and I dreamed of someday creating books about the arts. For this first book, I wanted to show that Seattle’s dance scene is more than just the few dancers and companies who make national headlines. Of course I love those national dance darlings! I’ve written about them myself. But Seattle has other talented and inspired dancers as well, and I wanted there to be a place for them to be recognized nationally too.”

The heavily visual book, with more than 230 photographs from eighty photographers, is available free online or a print version can be purchased from Amazon.com.

“It’s exciting to see 65 of Seattle’s dance organizations all together in one place,” says Gaynor. “From ballet to b-boys to butoh...all in one book. It’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are numerous individual dancers performing here whom I wasn’t able to connect with and so they are not in the book. There are folk dance companies, social-dance organizations, crews, and more that I was not able to reach this first time around. I’ve set up a section on the book’s website to share names, sites, and contact information that come in after the book is published.”

Gaynor is now considering options for turning the publication into an ongoing tradition. “It’ll depend in part on funding and manpower,” said Gaynot. “At the moment, I’m open to coordinating and designing the book again next year—or to serving solely as designer—or to even just passing on files and tips. I’m open, too, to having next year’s annual take a very different approach to content and design.”

A new business, Seattle Scriptorium, serves as an umbrella company for Gaynor’s freelance work in writing, editing, coaching, coordinating, and design. At the root of the name is Gaynor’s dream of running a center devoted to publication arts and projects like Seattle Dance Annual.

Gaynor plans to hold a meeting in September with potential Seattle Dance Annual contributors to discuss how the publication should reflect the city’s dance scene in 2014.

“And the year after that, it could be something different yet again,” she said. “This would reflect what’s going on in Seattle’s dance scene. Ever-changing perspectives on a shared passion: dance.”

Gaynor dedicated this year’s publication to Kaori Nakamura, a principal dancer at Pacific Northwest Ballet, who is retiring from the company in June 2014.

To read Seattle Dance Annual 2013 online, visit www.seattledanceannual.com.