Each and every day, I lose myself in the immediacy of the moment, find myself in the joy of the movement. Each and every day, I learn more and more...and, within that new knowledge, realize that I have so much farther to travel.

Shallom Johnson is a contemporary dance artist, visual artist and freelance writer based in Vancouver BC. She holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in Contemporary Dance from Simon Fraser University, and has been active in the Vancouver dance community as a choreographer, performer, and instructor since her graduation in 2004.

Shallom is interested in art in public spaces, site-specific performance, interdisciplinary collaboration, and community involvement. Her street-based artwork, performance and photography examines and documents who gets to make art, where it gets made, and where/how the creative process and product is viewed. In the future, she hopes to explore this theme further via new media and technologies, new methods of creation, collaboration and community engagement.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

For The Luv of It 2009

Finally got the official video from my last performance online.....a collaborative piece between myself Jhaymee Hizon (bboy) and Anna-Lisa (spoken word). Kudos to both of them for making this piece so special.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

LameCamp09, bitches!

"A celebration of things so lame they are cool."

In the tradition of BarCamp style events everywhere, Fiercekitty and I have put our evil genius minds together to come up with: LameCamp09!

There will be nametags with fake nerdly names such as Mervin and Dwight; gratuitous afternoon drinking, pool, filmed presentations and interviews, and possibly cosmic bowling.

LameCamp is this Saturday at around 3pm. We will get started at the Cambie and go from there. Full agenda to be released shortly. The duration of the event depends on how drunk we all get and where we end up.

Remember to use the hatchtag #lamecamp09 if you happen to be tweeting about it.

Bring your friends. Hipsters, nerds, and wannabes are totally welcome, but cool kids can come too.

We will be participating in the following photo project during LameCamp09:


a collaboration foto project

the idea of this show is to show how folks communicate - when they have access to bathroom stall doors, walls etc. The show will highlight the differences or similarities in communication between genders / regions / spaces.

Photos will indicate city / type of location (bar, train depot, chain store etc) / designated gender on stall entrance (gender neutral, male, female, family stall etc) / where stall is located (last stall on the left, first stall when u come in, etc) and photographer

sounds good - get involved // grab a camera and shoot the stall!!!!
shoot it in bits
shoot it in sections
shoot it with tits

just shoot it in large format - so that if we wanna blow up the image for a large effect it can be done without being blurry.

Find LameCamp09 on Facebook here.
Find me on Twitter here.
Fine Fiercekitty on Twitter here.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Phones for Fearless City

During the months leading up to Christmas there's always a lot of shopping and buying going on; and most of us spend a lot of money on presents for our loved ones. Now - I like shopping as much (or more) than most people. In fact I am a bit of an addict sometimes. But when an opportunity comes to give back to my community and find a way to reuse things that are just sitting around gathering dust in my room - well, I'm happy to help out and happy to spread the word.

Fearless City has just launched the Phones for Fearless program that is collecting old cellphones, cameras, phone chargers, etc...gathering them all up and donating them to residents of Vancouver's Downtown East Side. Pickups and drop-offs will be going on next week. Cash donations are also gladly accepted. Here are the details:

To Arrange Pick-up:
  • Let us know - Fearless City Twitter, email , SMS: 604.644.4349, Voice mail: 604.682.3269 xt 8320
  • We'll come by on Tues. Dec. 23rd & 30th to collect your devices
  • We'll take your photo, bring treats, and thank you publicly with a link

Or, Drop-off (after Tuesday, 23rd) at:

Want to be a drop-off point? Let us know.

Even send by Postal Mail to:

Fearless City
PO Box 88023
418 Main St
Vancouver, BC V6A 4A4

Lots more info here.

Thanks to photographer Kris Krug for the photo.

Building a creative community

I've been thinking a lot about community lately. Me and my good friend kk aka Kris aka Kris Krug were just talking about this idea earlier tonight. It's hapening to both of us and has been happening for a while and we both see it in ourselves and others, and want to encourage it and nourish it and watch it grow......it's about having a network of artists that not only support your work as you support theirs, that not only collaborate with you and are there to bounce ideas around, but a community that really functions as individuals and as small functional groups and as a whole. An entity that is loosely tied through all these minimal degrees of separation, so that when you've got something going on and you need to spread the word, and get folks on board, people start talking to their friends in their own little way and one thing leads to another and pretty quick you're in touch with so many amazing people that you can't help but feel the love comin in from all corners of your world. And you end up meeting amazing people whom you never knew existed but always somehow felt like they were out there just beyond your reach and through the magic of mutual friends (or random strangers) something clicks and you connect and wonderful things happen.

Every artist in this community is in the process of building up his or her own network. And all of those networks have little overlaps....places where interests and impulses collide and collapse into eachother and slowly but surely all of these small webs end up becoming one big web and it stretches across the city and the country and the continent and the globe and without knowing it opportunity comes crawling across that wide wide web and knocking at your door with a smile.

I've been thinking about ways to maximize this idea of community building through the arts. Realizing that as my network of friends family coworkers collaborators acquaintances grows, that I have a lot to offer and that my ideas are growing in tandem, necessitating the expansion of my network and feeding the positive cycle.

Ah, finally. A positive cycle. I can use more of these.

I don't claim to be a techie, by any means. I blog, and I use online social media (not nearly as much as many people I know) but I appreciate them and try to put them to good use without letting it go overboard. I am not good at moderation.

For me, the value in online social media lies in the ability to translate into real-life networks, real-life collaborations, real-life inspirations. If things like Facebook and Twitter and all the myriads of blogs out there don't bring us together online and also bring us together offline, then there is really only so much I can get out of it and in the end I need more. I need face time, I need to meet up with the people of the internet in all our nerdy glory and find ways to work together on real-life projects that enrich our respective communities and - hey, maybe those projects find a way to exist online - but there has to be some sense of a feedback loop to what I do as I go about my day, or I'm gonna find more useful things to do.

Lately I've been chatting with a few people about creating an interactive social website for the dance community and the arts community at large. Something that can act as a public forum, something where artists can post public profiles and publish RSS feeds for blogs directly on their profile, something where there is an image/video gallery and possibly a way to combine it with the Open Source Dance idea that Diego Maranan was working on lately (think of it as a creative commons for movement-based art forms) as well as all the good things that CADA and the DTRC and SFU Contemporary arts and W2 are doing....a way for dancers and dance students and former dancers and choreographers and presenters and artists in other genres and audiences and general members of the community can all get together and give each other feedback and have a space for dialogue and find out what's going on with everyone and help eachother build that network that is so very important, and get offline to create projects together, and then upload those projects online to share them with a wider audience and get feedback that would then initiate another project with someone else, or with the same people in a different way...

These are all just random and somewhat jumbled thoughts. But I think that in time they will combine into something wonderful. But I need a team, I need a community, I need a network behind me and under me and around me and above me to make it happen.

Two days ago I was approached by Lee Down of OMC Social Media Solutions, and he basically proposed the idea of this site. Said that he was willing to build it if I was willing to get on board and drive the bus and help build the community that would generate content to make it an effective and useful and interesting place to coexist. And I agreed. So now we're going to do it. Lee found me through Twitter. And we're taking this online connection offline to create something that is going back online that will (hopefully) influence and affect how people exist both on and off the internet. In a small way, in a big way, who knows - but the fact that we are in contact and excited about this project is proof that the system works, and that the potential is there to be capitalized on. And I've talked to Andrea Gunnlaugson at the DTRC and Im talking with Henry Daniel at SFU to try and integrate it into what they are doing with their respective networks (where there is already HUGE overlaps) and I wanna propose some kind of partnership with Irwin Oostindie and Kris Krug at W2 and Caroline Farquhar at CADA BC (where they already have an online community forum but it is inactive and pretty insular and there is so much room for improvement and reaching out to the community instead of keeping it limited only to dancers.....)

Ok, it's 2am and I'm rambling and repeating myself. Time for sleep. I'll keep ya posted. Please, please, come join me and let's help make the dance community in Vancouver - and the arts community at large - a more integrated and interdisciplinary and interesting place to create.

goodnight all
here's to being excited about the future

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Layoffs @ Ballet BC

Ballet BC has for many years been pretty much the only professional dance company in BC that could afford to hire dancers for an entire year at a time, giving them a salary that was enough (barely) to get by without having what we in the industry call a "joe job" - mine being a secretarial position - something that is unrelated to any artistic practice, but pays the rent.

Those days are over. Word has gotten out today that everyone at the company has been laid off - and I do mean everyone. The company's board of directors is pleading to Vancouverites to buy up Nutcracker tickets - as many as possible - to help bail out the company. And, although I hate the Nutcracker and would not otherwise attend, I'll go this year to support, and encourage my friends to do the same.

From the Vancouver Sun:

"The Ballet BC board of directors said in a press release it was faced with declining subscriptions and ticket sales. The terminations affect 38 company dancers, administrative and artistic staff."

Wow. Sad news in a sad time. I know and respect many of the artists involved, and my heart goes out to them - losing their jobs, just before Christmas. My twitter status and facebook status reflected my feelings about the subject, and sparked a bit of a discussion on FB. Here's what I wrote...

"in times of crisis, the importance of the arts to encourage independent thought and engender creative solutions is at its greatest. However it's at these times that the social and political structures supporting its creation fail, and fail miserably, time and time again. Past governments (here referencing FDR's administration during the depression years) have been able to stream some funding towards the arts in times of economic strife. But with our current political situation - and with Olympic construction flushing millions of dollars down the drain - I have my doubts that our government will attempt anything similar.

that said, I will not stop creating, and hopefully the artists who were involved in Ballet BC won't give up either. We'll just find new methods and means of making it work. If it's not practical to continue running a professional ballet company in BC, then it's up to us as individual artists to carry on creating and performing in other ways."

So tighten your belts and carry the torch, folks. We may (or may not) have lost Ballet BC, but that doesn't mean that the arts are on their way out in Vancouver or BC or Canada as a whole. Go out, make art, dance in the parks and in the streets if need be - for it is in these times of need that the arts
shed light on our shared problems, and wave the banner towards a brighter future.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Drugs are bad for you

I am trying to write about my artistic practice but I spent all weekend partying and my brain is shot. I have written four beginnings at a post about my plans for the 2009/2010 season, and four times I have deleted it and started again. My head is thick and fuzzy and I'm making typos with every second word I write.

I was supposed to spend all day on Sunday painting at my studio but instead I slept all day...after a night of drunkenness, mind altering substances and debauchery. And I got no art made and nothing done and now my tummy hurts and I'm at work but not really working.

Let this be a lesson, kiddos. Drugs make swiss cheese out of your brain. They do not make you a more inspired artist. Don't do drugs. Stay in school.

I need to take my own advice more often.

Friday, November 7, 2008

First Day of Show! Contradiction Dance @ Silver Spring Roundhouse, 8pm

Round House Theatre Presents

Contradiction Dance: An Exchange Between Life & Dance

Friday, November 7 and Saturday, November 8 at 8pm;
Sunday, November 9 at 3pm

TICKETS: $15 • Call 240.644.1100 or www.roundhousetheatre.org

Objects of Hope: Washington D.C.

Kelly Mayfield •Terence Nicholson • Kenneth Rascher • Arianna Ross • Chop Shop Studios
Joseph Nontanovan • Jasmine Artis • Shallom Johnson • Reggie Cole • Sylvana Sandoz

“I stood on my steps and watched the city burn, I was eight years old.”
For ages 12 and up.


Photo by Enoch Chan

Friday, October 31, 2008


I performed Thriller with some of the members of Contradiction Dance, for a Cast of Thousands (special events entertainment) gig last night. It was a convention of nurses, and we were hired to perform Thriller and keep the guests dancing and happy.

Here are some pics from the evening:

Monday, October 27, 2008

UrbEx at Westlake in Seattle

I like urban exploration. I like the feeling of being inside an abandoned building when no-one knows that you're there and you could just be there forever. I like the feeling that I'm discovering something that many people pass by in their daily lives but very few step inside.

I like salvaging the detritus of past inhabitants and people who have passed through, and bringing their leftover bits and pieces home with me, and repurposing them into something new.

Most of all I just like wandering round places I shouldn't be.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ahhhhhhhhhh...........feels so good to move

I'm sore. It feels damn good to be sore. Muscles are remembering what it's like to balance on one leg. Body is remembering how to turn, how to leap, how to move into and out of the floor.

It feels so good to be moving again.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Rehearsal Video: Objects of Hope: DC

rehearsal footage from yesterday.....me, Kelly Mayfield and Jasmine Artis...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Frustrated in General

I am quite frustrated with technology right now. My rehearsal footage won't upload - not here, nor Facebook, nor Youtube - and I joined twitter but can't figure out how to tweet from my phone, even though I totally followed all the instructions. And I miss my friends back home....ok that has nothing to do with technology but STILL, it adds to my general feeling of frustrations. Damnit.

Wow, the blog has devolved into a rambling rant. This is getting off to a great start.

......Hey everyone, I'm a great and professional writer, can't you tell? lol

(don't mind me, I'll just go sit in the corner by myself for a bit until I calm down)

BTW, if you wanna follow me on twitter I'm @shallomj

Now if I can just figure out what number to send my SMSes to, I'll be golden.

Settling in.....

Tomorrow I start rehearsals with Contradiction Dance. Settling back to life in DC has been quick and easy. In many ways, it feels like I never left. A part of myself will always feel at home here, even though it's so very different from Vancouver.

This time, like every time I go away, I am missing friends and family from home, but happy to reconnect with everyone in DC, and hoping that this trip will bring some new connections along the way.

....In fact, it already has. Stopped over in Seattle and met up with a couple of amazing artists whom I'd been in touch with online, and have very exciting plans for a spring collaborative art show. This is why I love the internet - it brings people together. But - only if the people are ready and willing to make the jump from web-based communication to meeting face to face and collaborating on making something amazing out of the partnership.

It also helps me keep in touch with those I've left back home, and I stay up til all hours of the night instant messaging the people I miss dearly.

So now it's time for bed, and sleep, and dreams filled with laughter.
Goodnight world. Tomorrow is a bright new day.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Back to DC

Wow, it's been ages since I last posted!

I am on my way back to DC to work with Contradiction Dance, and to visit my friends who I miss so very much.

I'm going to be posting here about my trip and then I am going to continue posting when I get back because.....YES! After a summer of barely dancing at all, I am finally going to be getting back into the swing of things.

I have a great new idea for a multimedia site-specific performance installation piece that I want to develop for next year's New Forms festival.

It's complicated and will take a lot of planning and prep work but I think will be really cool if I can pull it off.

More on that later.

Back to DC as of Monday night! Wish me safe travels.....