NCDF is excited to be showcasing the stunning trio by Kristi Vincent Johnson, When the Bough Breaks. She describes this dance as “a contemporary work inspired by the cyclical nature and consistent instability of codependent relationships. The work explores how the intensity of one person’s struggles activates the enabling efforts and repeated rescues.” Johnson, a Louisiana native, is a performer, choreographer, educator, and community builder. Johnson has served on the dance faculties of Louisiana State University, Texas Christian University, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, and Jacksonville University and was named the National Dance Association’s College/University Dance Educator of the Year in 2013. Kristi Vincent Johnson received a MFA in Modern Dance from Texas Christian University and was the recipient of the 2014 American Dance Festival’s Charles “Chuck” Davis full scholarship. Presently, Johnson is on the dance faculty at North Carolina Central University, the founder of The Triangle Dance Project and the artistic director of TRANSLATIONS, a project-based dance company.
Dance Project asked her a few questions about her work.
There seems to be a specific dynamic relationship between your dancers in “When the Bough Breaks.” Do you feel that evolved over the span of rehearsals, or was an immediate spark when your dancers began working?
KVJ: The relationship conveyed between the dancers in my work I feel is directly related to their understanding of the intention of the movement and overall piece. I provided them with vivid images of the types of relationships I was inspired by when creating this work. Because the piece in a very real way depicts a common aspect of the human experience, I believe these dancers were immediately able to draw from that information and convey it in their gaze, their touch and their spirit throughout the work. This connection I do feel intensified from one rehearsal to the next.
Could you speak a little bit in general about your process? How has your process been supported or challenged in “When the Bough Breaks”?
KVJ: My process is always centered on finding a healthy balance of staying true to the intention of the work and the natural beauty of each dancer involved. When we reworked this piece, certain movement choices that worked before had to be changed because it was not the best movement choice for the current dancers. When I choose dancers, I am never looking for someone who simply will come in, learn, and perform the work as is, but I am looking for someone who will hear what I am saying, see what I am seeing and then approach the work from a very real and artistic place that is true to their movement style and spirit. I always tell them, “…when the work is real for you, it will be real for everyone else.” That is always a challenge for the dancers and for me, but it is one that always yields work I am inspired by.
When the Bough Breaks will be seen on the NCDF Festival tour in Raleigh September 10th, Boone October 28th-29th, and Greensboro November 12th. For more information, click here.