Our Staff:

Staff: Brecca Smith

Brecca Smith

(Competitions Coordinator)

(She / Her)

You know those gifts people give you and you think, this is the thing you wanted for yourself, isn't it? Well, in 2007 my brother gave me one of those — a weekend pass to Emerald City Blues Festival. He'd been taking me out swing dancing since back in 2002, and I thought it was pretty alright. So I went, to humor him. Cue lifelong obsession. Now, you know how this part of the story goes: dancing till dawn every night, traveling, taking classes, sleeping on friends' floors, sloughing off everything that is not dance. Life becoming nothing but dance. Then, a few years in, life becoming a few things besides dance. Art, writing, a career as a Montessori teacher, graduate school. But always coming back to the blues. Coming back to the music that lives in the most achingly painful and passionate human places. I have a suspicion that this — turning to creation in celebration and in struggle, as the blues always does — is what we humans are meant for. It's an honor to help bring that gift to ya'll this year at the return of my inaugural blues event: Emerald City Blues.

Staff: Chelsey Lew

Chelsey Lew

(Web UX Designer)

(She / Her)

Chelsey has had a very close relationship with the Seattle dancing community since the age of 16, when she was introduced to Blues dancing via a partner dance club at her community college. While it may have painted an inaccurate picture of the “adult world”, Chelsey learned an appreciation for music, community, and connection. Her first venue was Back Alley Blues, and she pined after Wades for two years before she could attend at age 18. In 2014, Chelsey co-created Forging Follower’s Friendships on the First Fridays, a community event to provide space for people to meet other follows. Creating the designs for Seattle Fusion Festival in 2015 and 2016, she realized her future career may be in design. She has recently focused on taking the connections created on the dance floor outside of the dance itself.

As a recent graduate from General Assembly’s UX design immersive, Chelsey is looking for opportunities to create intuitive and empowering experiences!

Chelsey believes that ECBF has the opportunity to provide a space of organization, empowerment, and acceptance, and is excited to contribute her pragmatism and enthusiasm!

Staff: Emily Smith

Emily Smith

(Co-Director)

(She / Her)

Emily first learned to social dance at age 16, when she was asked to join a Lindy Hop performance team in small town, Utah. In college, she attended various Lindy Hop events where she was first introduced to Blues Dancing. It was love at first dance. She followed dance to Seattle and wanted to learn anything and everything she could about blues. She first started getting involved as a blues DJ in the Seattle blues scene by taking the advice of Steven Watkins: volunteer to DJ everywhere and often. She started out as one of Burn Blue’s first DJ’s which later evolved into coaching new aspiring blues DJs in Seattle. Since then, Emily has DJ’d at each main blues venue in Seattle for 13 years and many weekend blues events including ECBF, Rain City Blues, Seattle Lindy Exchange (blues room), Camp Jitterbug (soul room), Champagne and Emeralds, as well as regional events like Rose City Blues (Portland). The passion for blues led her to DJ at various national events in the US and Canada including BluesShout, Cuisin’ for a Bluesin’, and many others. In addition to DJ’ing for events, Emily was one of the DJ coordinators for the traveling fusion exchange (Boston, SF, Vegas). Emily currently has the day job of going to college to pursue a career in nursing and is a proud parent of two children age 7 and 9, co-parenting with Michael Smith. Emily is most excited about ECBF for the opportunities for community involvement and growth!

Staff: Kricket Keeling

Kricket Keeling

(Web Dev)

(They / Them)

Kricket only started dancing in the first place because someone told them they were horrible at it and would never be able to dance well. Turns out it was fun too. Starting at school in a k-pop hip hop group, Kricket accidentally discovered partner dancing when they went to the wrong place on the wrong day. And it stuck. As for web dev work, again, wrong place, wrong time, right people. They've never been to ECBF or hardly anything else, but they do hope to climb out of their cave for it this year!

Staff: Lila Faria

Lila Faria

(Volunteer Coordinator)

(She / Her)

Lila is a social dancer who has been movin’ and groovin’ for the past five years. Her movement background includes swing, blues and fusion. She also spent eight years training and performing as an ice skater (2003-2011). After she began social dancing in 2013, she took her skills abroad. Since, she has had the opportunity to dance at venues all over the world, including New York City, London and Berlin.

Lila will be acting as ECBF's volunteer coordinator. She's hoping it will act as an opportunity to reconnect with old friends in scenes around the world. She is also excited to get to know newer folks and figure out what role on the ECBF team would suit them best!

(photo credit: Ismael Fernandez, https://www.ismaelfoto.com/)

Staff: Michael Smith

Michael Smith

(Co-Director)

(He / Him)

Since childhood, Michael has always had a passion for dance and its fun learning environment. He has been a leader in social dance communities for more than 15 years, including Lindy Hop, blues, and fusion communities. Michael began to learn social dance in the St. Petersburg, Florida swing scene in 1998. In college he served as President of the BYU Swing Kids Club. At that time he also organized workshops, DJ'd, taught, choreographed, performed, and hosted regular house parties. He was a co-founder of the Utah Swing Dance Association and In-Between Swing. After moving to Seattle in 2005, Michael was a co-founder of Burn Blue (2007), a director for Blues Underground (2008), a host for Back Alley Blues (2010), a host for Om Fusion (2011), and a coordinator for Seattle Fusion Experiment (2011). Michael also helped coordinate Emerald City Blues Festival 2007 - 2011 and Rain City Blues 2012. Most recently, Michael co-founded Alibi Blues (2016 - present), and is a host for Blues Underground (2017 - present). Michael has a day job building software and is a proud father of two daughters, ages 7 & 9, who rock out on the dance floor in their own unique style.

As a director of Burn Blue and the Emerald City Blues Festival 2019, Michael is excited to help create an environment that lifts both the local community and the national community to higher levels of dance experiences.