A random beating outside a Seattle bar April 20 has left a celebrated local dancer severely injured and crowdsourcing for financial help.
BoJohn Diciple, a member of the DASSdance modern performance ensemble, was beaten in front of Club Q at about midnight; his jaw was broken in multiple places and he has had one surgery so far to implant metal plates. He finds out this week whether more surgery is needed.
Diciple is a former Jefferson dancer, born and raised in Portland, Ore., a graduate of CornishSchool for the Arts in Seattle, and a key figure in DASSdance’s New York tour – the highlight of the ensemble’s performing year, which has now been rescheduled for October because of Diciple’s injuries.
Seattle fans will recall his soaring choreography and dance for the past several years with Spectrum Dance Company in “The Black Nativity,” the annual Christmas show incorporating poetry by Langston Hughes and vocals by the Total Experience Gospel Choir, led by Pastor Patrinell Wright.
Diciple hopes to raise funds with the IndieGoGo campaign to pay for his living expenses for two months as he undergoes treatment for his injuries.
“Lately I have been working on a project that would take me and my dance company to New York, premiering our latest work and taking our program out into the city to work with at risk teens.
“These plans are now on hold due to a random and unprovoked act of violence on Capitol Hill when I was beaten by 10 unknown assailants and my jaw was broken on both sides,” Diciple’s IndieGoGo page reads.
While Seattle Police conducted a bare-bones investigation and has now labeled the case “inactive” according to the police report obtained by The Skanner News, Diciple’s family says Officer Debra Pelich, who wrote the initial report after Diciple was released from the hospital, appeared to imply during her interview with him that the dancer is a gang member.
Headlines detailing random beatings around Seattle – and speculating about attacks on patrons outside gay nightclubs – flared last August after a videotaped beating outside Club Q. http://www.seattleweekly.com/news/948327-129/hill-seattle-gay-community-hate-capitol
While Diciple is not gay, he was standing outside Club Q when he was attacked; his family says he has no idea who the assailants ; he still can’t speak because his jaw is wired shut.
PHOTO: Diciple is known for his flying style of dance
DASSdance director Daniel Wilkins describes Diciple as an “anchor” of their work.
“His artistic qualities are a 10 out of 10,” Wilkins says. Diciple’s most recent appearance, as part of the company in “The Tale of 10 Green,” depicted the environmental and social struggle of the indigenous Awa tribe of Brazil, using multimedia projections combined with acrobatic and balletic movement.
“With those kinds of topics you must have authenticity to get your point across, and BoJohn is like an anchor of that work,” Wilkins says. “That's one of the reasons why we postponed our tour to New York because, with BoJohn -- the kind of quality he brings to the show is one-of-a-kind.”
Wilkins specifically cited Portland’s Jefferson High School dance program as a bedrock influence on Diciple’s skills, which include tap, ballet, modern and African dance all learned from the time he was a young teen in the storied arts program.
“In addition to having classical ballet training and modern dance training, which is what you want from a contemporary dancer today, he's definitely a shining example of what you want technically,” Wilkins says.
While he is not gay, Diciple, who is African American, was with friends outside the Q Club when a crowd of about four African American youths started punching him on the sidewalk; witnesses say a passing car stopped in the street and as many as six more African American men jumped out and joined the beating, punching him, knocking him to the ground and kicking him repeatedly.
Diciple’s family says he broke away and ran to a nearby pub, where someone called police as the assailants tried to follow him and continue the assault.
When police arrived outside, the assailants ran away and Diciple – severely injured and in shock – was put in a cab and rushed to the hospital before being interviewed by officers.
The police report says the pub bouncer refused Diciple entry, but the pub’s manager told The Skanner News this week that is incorrect; not only did they allow him inside, their two bouncers beat back the assailants until police arrived.
The police report in the case, dated May 3, shows no information from the scene of the beating. A Seattle police spokesman said that's because Diciple left the scene in a private vehicle to the hospital before emergency responders arrived.
The police report, obtained by The Skanner News, shows the case listed as inactive.
Find Diciple’s page on www. IndieGoGo.com by searching, “DASSdancer BoJohn Diciple surgery and recovery expenses.”
Read more about Dassdance at www.dassdance.org