Dancing Around Seattle

A look into the studios of some of Garfield’s dancers

Photography by Angela Sterling

Photography by Angela Sterling

Garfield High is home to many dancers who spend their free time perfecting their technique and artistry. Here are profiles of five studios around Seattle.

Spectrum Dance Theater

Located on the shores of Lake Washington on Madrona Beach, Spectrum Dance Theater has been operating since 1982 as a studio dedicated to making dance
accessible to all communities. Under the
current artistic director Donald Byrd, the
Spectrum company has explored political
and social issues with performances like
Shot and The Theater of Needless Talents.
Senior MiReya Rodriguez is a full-time
Running Start student from Garfield, and
dedicates the majority of her time to the
Academy, a pre-professional program

at Spectrum. She said Spectrum’s stu-
dents and staff have played a big role in

her growth as a dancer. “I feel as if you’re
not really looking at the time, or wanting

to get out of class. It’s always just a real-
ly positive space, you just wanna stay in

class….[and] learn more.”
Northwest Tap Conection
Northwest Tap Connection is located in

Rainier Beach and teaches dancers Afri-
can, jazz, modern, ballet and swing with

a strong emphasis on tap. The studio is

dedicated to social justice and empow-
ering their students to create change. In

2016, NWTC collaborated with local

choreographer Shakiah Danielson to per-
form Hell You Talmbout, a pro-
test piece responding to the

murder of Black lives
by police officers.
Lakelle Bridges is
a junior at Garfield
and has danced at NWTC
for eight years. “I started out
– really shy and not too good at
dancing. – I feel like I got better
because of the teachers. They’re
really good dancers, first of all,
and they also encourage you
to be better and push you to
be your very best. The peers
around me do the same thing. I [have]
learned a lot from them.”
Pacific Northwest Ballet
Pacific Northwest Ballet is perhaps the
most recognizable name in Seattle’s dance
community. Since 1974, PNB School has
trained over a thousand students every
year in classical George Balanchine ballet

technique. Lucy Carlin is a Garfield se-
nior who has been dancing for ten years

at PNBS. She is there for six days a week
while balancing schoolwork and college

applications, as well as preparing audi-
tions for dance schools. “The training is

definitely really rigorous and the class
schedules are pretty intense…
PNBS is for people who are
dedicated to improving
their ballet technique and
artistry,” she said. “All my

classmates are super sup-
portive and we definitely

get really close, so it is
not as competitive as
I would think a lot of
other big ballet schools are.”
Dance Fremont
From its home across Lake
Union, Dance Fremont has
provided ballet and modern
education for 25 years to Seattle’s next
generation of dancers. The studio is
committed to offering quality training to

anyone who needs it, through scholar-
ship programs and community outreach.

“They make everything very accessible to
everyone. With the pandemic they allow
people to just call in through Zoom to

participate in class,” junior Kohana Whit-
ney, who joined Dance Fremont in early

September said.“There [is] a family type
of feeling. Even though I’ve only been
there for a couple weeks, I feel like I’m
pretty good friends with everyone there.”
Emerald Ballet Theater
Across the water in Bellevue is Emerald
Ballet Theater, founded in 2007 by former
Bolshoi Ballet company dancer Viktoria
Titova. The curriculum centers around

Vaganova ballet technique, the other ma-
jor ballet style besides Balanchine. Danc-
ers at Emerald Ballet Theater compete in

a variety of dance competitions including
YAGP (Youth American Grand Prix), the
largest ballet competition in the world.
“You’ve got to love ballet if you want to
go there, and you have got to be prepared
to put in a lot of hours and a lot of work,”
Garfield senior Helena Salathe said. She

has been dancing for 13 years and recent-
ly moved to EBT after her studio at Cor-
nish College closed during the pandemic.

Salathe expressed excitement about im-
proving this year, “I feel like I’m challeng-
ing myself.”

Photo by Angela Sterling