Emily Johnson / Catalyst is a great representation of Northrop’s interdisciplinary mission, combining various community partners through collaboration of the arts, performance, and research. The main performing arts hub of the university, the newly revitalized Northrop aims to be an epicenter of discovery and transformation that connects the campus and communities beyond with an interdisciplinary focus.
This past year, Johnson has been developing her new work SHORE, the third installment in a series that previously included The Thank-you Bar and Niicugni, all of which draw inspiration from her Alaskan roots. SHORE embarks on a journey of research about the act of gathering, basing curiosity on the connections between feasting, volunteering, and performance. In Johnson's words, "It is a celebration of the places where we meet and merge—land and water, performer and audience, art and community, past, present, and future."
Johnson’s mission is to make dance work that is in conversation with the world, which she actively fulfills through her collaborative efforts. In her experiential creative process, she has worked with campus organizations such as Northrop, the Institute for Advanced Study River Life Program, and the University Honors Program, to further the dialogue about lived experiences that feed into her body of work. As described by Johnson, her dances “function as installations, engaging audiences within and through a space and environment—interacting with a space’s architecture, history, and role in community”.
Johnson was in residency at MANCC earlier this spring and utilized her residency as an intensive with FSU students and Tallahassee community members to explore human relationships to the outdoors. She and her collaborators used this exploration to help understand how the work could translate from a large group of performers singing and dancing outdoors to a small group of performers on stage. Johnson is a current fellow at IAS, and in partnership with the IAS River Life Program, held a participatory river walk with the Mississippi River on May 6, starting at the steps of Northrop and ending at East River Flats Park. The silent, reflective water walk was committed to engaging the world and its dynamics by working to understand our human relationship to water and its role as the center of who and where we are. This installation is reflective of Johnson’s focus on experiences of migration and diaspora, in relationship to one’s own heritage and identity. The collabortive nature parallels with Northrop's revitalized identity of interdisciplinary inquiry.
SHORE will be presented in four equal parts: COMMUNITY ACTION (volunteerism), STORY (a curated reading), a PERFORMANCE that begins on Northrop Mall and moves into the theater, and a festive culminating potluck FEAST.
You can join in for just one event as part of SHORE, or all four. Experience the cross-pollination of arts, community, and volunteerism with us!