Presented in partnership with The O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University
Created and performed by Emily Johnson with Aretha Aoki, James Everest, Bethany Lacktorin, and Heidi Eckwall
Choreography, writing, and direction by Emily Johnson
Music composition by James Everest and Bethany Lacktorin
Emily Johnson, Artistic Director/Choreographer
Originally from Alaska and currently based in Minneapolis, director/choreographer/curator Emily Johnson has created work since 1998 that considers the experience of sensing and seeing performance. Her dances often function as installations, engaging audiences within and through a space and environment—sights, sounds, smells—interacting with a place’s architecture, history, and role in community.
Niicugni ― the word ― is a directive to pay attention, to listen. Niicugni the dance quietly compels such attentiveness through its layering of multiple dances, live music, stories, and histories. Housed within a light/sound installation of hand-made, functional fish-skin lanterns, Niicugni asks – can we pay attention to the ways we do and do not listen to our bodies, histories, impulses and environments? Equating the molecules of land with the cells that comprise our bodies, Niicugni is also about how land, or place, like our bodies is a repository of past, present, and future. It holds, at once, myth and truth, magic and evil, hope and death, laughter and monsters, as well as ancestral histories and cultural identities. In the moment of each performance, Niicugni wonders if we can recognize the importance of everyone in the room? Can we see ourselves as part of the whole? Can we absorb that everyone we see is here now and will be gone?
Connect with the dance company’s artists for a Q & A immediately following each Women of Substance performance from the stage of The O’Shaughnessy.
The presentation of Emily Johnson/Catalyst was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and additional funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.