Carlie Anderson, who grew up in the vibrant dance education community of Vashon, returned to the island earlier this year with her Seattle dance troupe, ZTheory, to record a video at a well-known location — Engels Repair & Towing, a gas station just south of Portage that has been owned by the Engels family since 1951.
The mom-and-pop station, which was the subject of a photo spread in The Seattle Times a few years ago, is a picturesque place that hearkens back to a time when attendants in oil-stained coveralls stepped outside to personally pump gas for customers. At Engels, they still do.
Coveralls were also part of the costumery in ZTheory Dance Academy’s video — along with the ensemble’s signature high-heel shoes, as they performed in front of the gas station to the high-octane beats of Christina Aguilera’s “Dirrty.”
Anderson, who co-founded ZTheory with Natalya Z in 2020, said that the video project was the culmination of the dance company’s intermediate/advanced program, called ZTheory Academy.
She had long wanted to create a piece for dancers in heels, set to Aguilera’s song, she said. And once her team had settled on the concept of the dancers playing the role of car mechanics, Anderson told them that she knew the perfect place to shoot the video.
“I reached out to Paul Engels and he was gracious enough to open up their shop for the shoot,” she said. “This is such an iconic spot on Vashon, and it meant the world to me to be able to share the Vashon community with this dance family.
The whole Engels family, including the friendly station dog Archie, came out to watch the video shoot, she said, along with other islanders who stopped by to see what was going on at the station.
Watch the video on YouTube at tinyurl.com/5dyk9zyc and find out more ZTheory’s hybrid online and in-person classes, beginning on Sept. 25, at ztheorydance.com.