Emily Johnson doesn’t consider her work “activist art.” Though the endangered natural environment has been her theme in several works, the soft-spoken, slender choreographer and dancer says she owes her vision as much to the exploratory vocabulary of contact improvisation as the natural world of her Alaskan childhood.
As a child growing up in Alaska, choreographer Emily Johnson lived close to nature. She was surrounded by spruce trees and streams, and she became acquainted with Alaska's massive Ice Age glaciers. That experience informs "Heat and Life," a dance about the threat of global warming that Johnson's Catalyst Dance company brings to Dance Theater Workshop next week.
Emily Johnson, a native Alaskan now resident of Minneapolis, brings her all-woman contemporary troupe to New York in Heat and Life, which explores issues surrounding global warming. Multi-instrumentalist JG Everest performs his original score. Johnson and her collaborators have worked all over the west and north, as far as St. Petersburg, Russia; here they make their New York debut. A discussion will follow each performance. Through Sat at 7:30, Dance Theater Workshop, 219 W. 19th
Emily Johnson grew up in the wild open spaces of Alaska. While her U.S. contemporarieswere hanging out at the mall, Johnson was hiking and mountain biking on the KenaiPeninsula. Part Yup’ic Eskimo, she and her family fished from remote beaches,picked cranberries from the local bogs, even hunted moose.
Given the clear skies and balmy breezes last August 27, the Stone Arch Bridge would’ve been packed to the viewfinders even without Landmark - exactly as Local Strategy intended. The interdisciplinary art ensemble’s six members designed their 24-hour celebration of our loveliest pedestrian thoroughfare to enhance its setting, rather than to overwhelm it. They succeeded in every respect, including audience composition. Sure, lots of people turned out specifically for the event’s music, dance, performance art, props, installations, and sundry other free attractions.
This may be the first time wind farms and post-modern dance have appeared in he same story. But choreographer Emily Johnson, 29, finds her inspiration in places where humans, machines and nature intersect. Johnson also likes to self-produce her dance pieces on street corners, in sculpture parks, and in art galleries. So it’s no surprise the “Windfarm” addresses her concerns about environmental degradation.