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Keith Johnson/Dancers - DRIFTER
Keith Johnson/Dancers - DRIFTER

Fri, Oct 13



Keith Johnson/Dancers - DRIFTER

This new dance work explores the 1960s, investigating the ideology of the hippie generation and the increasing generation gap that signaled a divisive decade where feminism, civil rights, and social norms were challenged and explores the turmoil, confusion, distrust + disappointment that occurred.

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Time & Location

Oct 13, 2023, 8:30 PM – 10:00 PM

Highways, 1651 18th St, Santa Monica, CA 90404, USA

About The Event

Drifter, a four-part, full evening dance explores the decade of the 1960s - both the hope and the change that was imminent. It investigates the ideology of the hippie generation and the increasing generation gap that signaled a divisive decade where feminism, civil rights, and social norms were challenged and explores the turmoil, confusion, distrust, and disappointment that occurred. On a personal level, the choreographer who was born in 1960 and is the son of a Vietnam Veteran, confronts his own experiences of family, forgiveness, redemption, hope, and destruction.

Keith Johnson/Dancers

The company portrays on stage the places we go within ourselves and do not tell about: the desires we hold down, the struggles we hide subtly, in gust of ups and tumbles. A portrayal of intimacy so finely nuanced it could only be called post-modern romanticism. Keith Johnson/Dancers dares to mine the impossible, to shuffle bodies with a process that precipitates astonishing grace and even unthinkable flight, and to dream of forms and motions that conjure within the viewer knots and whirls. These stirrings leave an imprint within one’s self of a possible past, inviting rich empathy if not direct sympathy, like a warm hand on your shoulder suggesting, “someone can imagine what you’ve felt and melt it into flesh and sweat and place it right before your eyes, allowing you to breathe in humanity as you watch each moment, spellbound.” Ultimately, each gem glistens with the luster of humanism.

Keith Johnson

Keith Johnson is originally from Tempe, Arizona. He was a competitive gymnast before he became interested in dance. He received his MFA in dance with an emphasis in choreography from the University of Utah in 1991 where he received the Dee R. Winterton Award for Excellence in Dance. While in Salt Lake City, Keith danced in the Ririe/Woodbury Dance Company working with such choreographers as Alwin Nikolais, Murray Louis, Shapiro and Smith, Kei Takei, and Loa Clawson. In New York City he joined the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, touring the widely acclaimed work Still/Here both nationally and internationally. He also danced in the companies of Creach/Koester and Doug Varone and Dancers. He has also done pick-up work dancing in the companies of Spencer/Colton in Boston and Janis Brenner in California. As part of Doug Varone and Dancers, Keith performed with The Denver Opera and in a site-specific work Neither, which took place in The Lower East Side Tenement Museum in New York City. As a performer he has performed in major festivals and concert halls worldwide including the Joyce Theatre, Jacob’s Pillow, the Redcat Theatre, Tokyo International Festival, The Melbourne Festival, and Queen Elizabeth Hall in England. In 1998, Keith formed Keith Johnson/Dancers. The company received favorable reviews from the Los Angeles Times. Since 1998, the company has performed in California, North Carolina, Utah, Minnesota, New York City and Arizona. He is the recipient of two Lester Horton Awards (2007 and 2008). Keith has also performed with Colleen Thomas Dance, Bill Young/Colleen Thomas and Dancers, Stephanie Liapis, and Victoria Marks. Keith also performed in The Pod Project by choreographer/director Nancy Bannon.

Keith is currently on the faculty at California State University in Long Beach. He is a Full Professor who teaches improvisation, composition and contemporary dance techniques. He is an advisor to the MFA candidates and the BFA students. In addition, Keith has been a guest teacher at the following institutions: NYU's Tisch School of the Arts Summer Program, The Julliard School, Dartmouth College, The University of Oregon, LaSalle College of the Arts in Singapore, The Ririe/Woodbury Summer Dance Intensive, Doug Varone and Dancers Summer Workshop, University of California at Santa Barbara, Scottsdale Community College in Arizona, Brigham Young University, Cal Poly, Virginia Commonwealth University, St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, University of South Florida, Ballet Pacifica Summer Intensive, Southern Methodist University in Texas, Velocity Dance Center, Strictly Seattle Festival, The Beijing International Dance Festival, Malashock Summer Intensive, 5 x5 Summer Intensive, The American Dance Festival, and the University of Utah. In 2005, the Outstanding Graduate Student Recipient, Rogelio Lopez Garcia at CSULB, named Keith Most Valuable Professor. Keith received the Choo San Goh Award in 2002 for emerging choreographers and has had support from the Dance/USA Foundation. His work has been shown in various venues including the University of Utah (with Stephen Koester), The LIT Series, Joyce Soho (with Colleen Thomas), The Rose Wagner Theater in Salt Lake City, The Center Stage Theatre (with Stephanie Nugent), Commuter Festival (CalArts), Breaking Ground Festival, ADF, Highways, Stomping Ground, Sugar Space, The Garage Theatre, Taliesen West, Joe Goode Performance Annex, and The Diavolo Space. His work has been commissioned by the Ririe/Woodbury Dance Company, d9 Collective, CONDER/dance, Contemporary Danceworks, various solo artists, and universities. In 2012, Keith has two works represented at the National ACDFA conference at the Kennedy Center In Washington DC. The performers from Loyola Marymount University were chosen as the Outstanding Student Performer Award for their work in Unscripted/Riptide Into Me. Keith also makes dance films with collaborator Gregory R. R. Crosby and together they have formed Fistbomb Films. Their film, Life In Security, has been screened at the Breaking Ground Festival and Film Bar (both in Arizona), Westfest (New York), Dance For The Camera Festival (California), Conversations at the Flea (New York), and American Dance Festival’s International Screendance Festival. Keith was awarded the 2012/13 Distinguished Alumni Award from The Department of Modern Dance at the University of Utah and is a Djerassi Artist in Residence for 2015. In addition, Keith has explored visual arts in areas of printmaking, art installations, sculpture, neon art, minimalist watercolors, and costuming and hopes to further his studies in the visual arts. He currently is creating found object sculptures, refurbished glass chandeliers and lamps, and abstract paintings. Keith appears in Daniel Cartier’s music video “1234 Rock Out”. Upcoming events include: Keith Johnson/Dancers at Highways (TBA), and a commission for Ririe/Woodbury Dance Company’s 60th Anniversary Celebration in Salt Lake City, Utah.


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