Creative Residency: Emily Johnson / Catalyst – Danspace Project
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Creative Residency: Emily Johnson / Catalyst

Emily Johnson. Courtesy the artist.

In-residence April 8-12

Research and creative residencies are a responsive container for artists’ work and processes. Danspace welcomes Emily Johnson back to the Sanctuary for a weeklong creative residency.

Johnson is an artist who makes body-based work. She is of the Yup’ik Nation, is a land and water protector and an organizer for justice, sovereignty and well-being. With her company, Catalyst Dance, Johnson will use her time at Danspace to continue the work of her most recent multiscalar performance/process, Being Future Being, a constellation of performance gatherings that delve into the power of creation to build a visual, aural, and ancestral landscape of Indigenous power.

Residencies are not open to the public.

EMILY JOHNSON is an artist who makes body-based work. She is a land and water protector and an organizer for justice, sovereignty and well-being. Emily is a Bessie Award-winning choreographer, Guggenheim, Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, and United States Artists Fellow, and recipient of the Doris Duke Artist Award. She is based in Lenapehoking / New York City. Emily is of the Yup’ik Nation, and since 1998 has created work that considers the experience of sensing and seeing performance. Her dances function as portals and care processions, they engage audienceship within and through space, time, and environment — interacting with a place’s architecture, peoples, history and role in building futures. Emily is trying to make a world where performance is part of life; where performance is an integral part of our connection to each other, our environment, our stories, our past, present and future.

Her choreography and gatherings have been presented across what is currently called the United States, Canada, and Australia. Her large-scale project, Then a Cunning Voice and A Night We Spend Gazing at Stars is an all-night outdoor performance gathering taking place amongst 84 community-hand-made quilts. It premiered in Lenapehoking (NYC) in 2017, and was presented in Zhigaagoong (Chicago) in 2019. She choreographed the Santa Fe Opera production of Doctor Atomic, directed by Peter Sellars in 2018. Her new work Being Future Being, premiered on Tongva Land in Los Angeles in 2022.

Emily’s writing has been published and commissioned by The Open Society University Network’s Center for Human Rights and the Arts, ArtsLink Australia, unMagazine, Dance Research Journal (University of Cambridge Press); SFMOMA; Transmotion Journal, University of Kent; Movement Research Journal; Pew Center for Arts and Heritage; and the compilation Imagined Theaters (Routledge), edited by Daniel Sack.

Emily hosts monthly ceremonial fires on Mannahatta in partnership with Abrons Arts Center and Karyn Recollet. She was the Pueblo Opera Cultural Council Diplomat at Santa Fe Opera 2018-2020, and a lead organizer of First Nations Dialogues. She was a co-compiler of the documents, Creating New Futures: Guidelines for Ethics and Equity in the Performing Arts and Notes for Equitable Funding, was a member of Creative Time’s inaugural Think Tank, and serves as a co-lead consortium member for First Nations Performing Arts.

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