Best Dance Performance of the Past 12 Months (local)
by Caroline Palmer
Catalyst Dances by Emily Johnson There's something to be said for a performerwho can put on a pair of pants five sizes too big and dance around to Dolly Partonwith a serious look on her face - and, in the the process, thoroughly convinceus that she has a very bright future. Emily Johnson, of course, doesn't haveto explain what she does. She does most everything with such clear intentionthat we believe - even during the more absurd moments - that she's making perfectsense. Appearing with her company a the Best Feet Forward series in January,Johnson presented a program of considerable maturity for an artist still in hermid-20's. "If I Shut My Eyes, you Can't See Me," set among a forest of hanginglamps, showcased a canny knack for gesture. And "Everywhere Doing This" gavethe tenacious Vanessa Voskuil the opportunity to transform a set of repetitivemovements and tasks into a punk-rock-cum- minimalist romp. After exploring suchdynamic tension, Johnson, a former basketball player in her native Alaska, letdown her postmodern guard with "Power Play," a tongue-in-cheek glimpse into teamsports. Suddenly boxing gloves, coaches, and bags of lime acquired new significance. "Defense!Defense!" the dancers shouted as they clambered over one another. Johnson, wesuspect, won't have to put up such a fight to reach the top of the dance scene.