Saturday night was supposed to be Prashant Kakad’s 13th annual Bollywood inspired Jai Ho dance party.
Instead, Kakad, better known as DJ Prashant, is in honor of his close friend Brittany Newton-Miller, one of the first members of the Jai Ho dance troupe, who died suddenly of leukemia on January 18. , turned this occasion into a celebration of life. 31.
“She was the only one who could give some form of comfort and perhaps some joy at this time,” he said. “But it is she who we grieve for.”
Newton-Miller was a noted Portland dancer and choreographer, with the Jai Ho and Wish Heart dance companies, and an avid LGBTQ+ advocate. She has worked at drag shows and pride festivals, and most recently she started working at Prism Health, a clinic focused on caring for the LGBTQ+ community.
Kakado met Newton Miller at a dance workshop in 2010 while a student at Portland State University. She impressed him so much that when he needed a dancer for a show a few months later, she was one of the first calls he made.
“It hasn’t changed since then until last week,” said Kakado. “We traveled all over the country together. She was someone every dancer looked up to.”
Newton-Miller was born in Portland and raised in Seaside by her parents Debbie and Tony Newton. That passion of hers carried over to high school, where she competed on the dance team and cheered for Seaside High School.
“Even when she was little, people would come up to me and say how much presence she had on stage,” her mom said.
Newton said her daughter started participating in LGBTQ+ clubs in high school, which sparked her interest in equity initiatives and rights in the community. Newton-Miller graduated from high school in 2009. At PSU he minored in dance and continued acting.
“She lit up the stage,” said her mom.
Portland dance choreographer and teacher Jeff Wishart met Newton Miller in high school. bottom.
When Wishart decided to put on one final show to end his career more than a decade later, Newton Miller was one of the first people he contacted for a performance. She and the other dancers enjoyed the show so much that they convinced Wishart to let them continue with the company.
“She was top notch in our dance company,” Wishart said. “She put on a lot of shows.”
Newton-Miller’s husband, Elliot Newton-Miller, met her at one of Kakad’s dance classes. He said he was awkward and shy, but her warm spirit and accepting nature opened him up.
Elliot Newton-Miller works with Kakad to produce music. The three worked together for several years, performing performances and shows across the country. During that time, the couple became very close and eventually started dating in 2019. They got married in October 2022.
“She was always very welcoming,” he said. “There was no tension with Brittany at all.”
Newton-Miller highlighted his wife’s work in the LGBTQ+ community. She often travels to drag her shows around town to offer support, and for the past three years she has appeared in John Her Ryan’s Christmas Her Spectacular.
“She was very involved in the queer community and drag nightlife,” he said. “It permeated her entire life.”
Brittany Newton-Miller left her job at Providence Hospital to work with Prism Health as a Patient Eligibility Coordinator as part of the Cascade AIDS Project.
Looking back, Newton-Miller had been showing signs of leukemia for the past year. He had rashes, nosebleeds, bruises, etc. She also had been complaining of pain in her back for weeks before she was hospitalized on January 14, her husband said.
The couple had tickets to one of their favorite bands, Tove Lo, next month.
“It’s very ironic,” he said. “There’s a Tove Lo song that I liked that she didn’t really like. She’s about missing someone.”
Fix: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the age of Brittany Newton-Miller. she was 31 years old.
– Austin de Dios; firstname.lastname@example.org@austindedios; 503-319-9744
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