Marcie Sillman

Document Type


Publication Date



Peter Boal, Donald Byrd, Alice Gosti, Pat Graney, Dayna Hanson, Gaelen Hanson, Tonya Lockyer, Michelle Miller, AC Petersen, Andrea Wagner


Susan Kunimatsu


The Seattle area’s dance ecosystem developed in critical ways during a 25-year period of growth and change between 1990 and 2015. Professional journalist Marcie Sillman brings more than 40 years as a witness to and chronicler of this change to this article, with a focus on four seminal organizations and the artists that have thrived under their auspices: On the Boards, Velocity Dance Center, Spectrum Dance Theater and Pacific Northwest Ballet. The author conducted interviews in 2022 with ten leaders in the dance community about their lived experiences of this time and integrates their viewpoints. New industries and new artistic endeavors attracted tens of thousands of new residents to the Seattle area during this period, adding new energy and perspectives to the local arts scene. It also intensified some of the challenges faced by performing artists, in particular the escalating cost of living and working in the city. Despite the enormous growth the region experienced over this time period, Seattle remained a city of neighborhoods, with porous boundaries between them. The same porousness holds true when talking about Seattle’s many dance companies, artists and schools. Seattle’s thriving dance community can be likened to a number of streams that converge and diverge as they race along. Each stream is unique, but together they form something distinctive, a river that is constantly flowing and carving out new channels as the years pass.

Organization or Event

On the Boards, Velocity Dance Center, Spectrum Dance Theater and Pacific Northwest Ballet

Form of Entity


Area of Activity

Producer; Presenter

Artistic Discipline