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.

Monday, December 31, 2007

New Choreo Ideas

As I was lying in bed last night I came up with an outline for a new work. This project has been at the back of my mind for months, years…but I haven’t felt strong enough to tackle it.

I want to make a piece that is mostly auto-biographical. It will be a duet between myself and a male dancer. The concept of the work will revolve around my dysfunctional relationship with my ex-husband. The cycle of abuse that we became trapped in, and our mutual inability to let go. The way that we reached a point of crisis again and again. His anger and violence, apologies, my forgiveness, acceptance, unexpressed anger that turned inwards upon myself. Feeling trapped. Reaching the point of no return. Leaving, looking back, leaving again, finally letting go.

My challenge will be to abstract this narrative structure, to strip away meaning in the generation of movement and to add it back in during the crafting stages. Today I will be creating a phrase that will be incorporated into the final work. I will be working from some poems that I wrote during and after this relationship to generate a first draft of movement that can be manipulated later on.

I have one section semi-complete already - the chair duet that I posted a while back. (See it here)

I will be continuing work on this piece when I get back to Vancouver. I need to find a male dancer to work with, someone who is interested in contributing to the choreographic development of the work - and who doesn’t mind that this piece will eventually end up set on someone from DC. Hopefully I can present the completed work in Vancouver and/or Seattle this spring. I'll also need to find a partner to continue the work with when I get back to DC this summer. If you're reading this and are interested, email me at shallom.johnson@gmail.com with your CV and picture.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Welcome to Dorothea's World!

Okay everyone, this is completely not dance-related, but I'd love to introduce you to my latest creation: Dorothea the Robot DIVA!

Myself and the lovely KK Mayfield have created a blog that will document all of Dorothea's lessons learned on this fabulous planet - in hopes that these adventures will enlighten, intrigue and most of all entertain.

So please - stop by Dorothea's World, have a look at what she's got to say, and tell me what you think!

Keep checking back as there will be a new comic strip at least once a week :)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Thoughts about Hip-Hop

I've been thinking lately about my qualifications as a dance instructor, especially in the realm of hip-hop and street jazz, styles in which I am less experienced. I taught a hip-hop workshop at St Mary's College and felt really nervous going into the class - I love hip-hop, and I teach a lot of into/beginner kids' classes for the City of Burnaby, but I wouldn't describe myself as a hip-hop dancer, and I sometimes feel like my ballet/modern/jazz training has given my dancing less of an urban style. And I worry that this affects my confidence as a teacher, and my ability to give a good class.

I think that physically, I need to focus on cultivating the short, sharp places in my movement - to find the spots where the free flow stops, and becomes bound. I need to work on isolations and develop the sense of being lowed to the ground, less pulled up and held away. I need to go to hip-hop class more often. I think that not only will these qualities help me to improve as a hip-hop dancer, but also to deepen my range in my contemporary work.

Just things that have been on my mind lately, is all...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Dancing Waters by Claudia Molina

Last year I was involved in a short film called Dancing Waters, directed by Claudia Molina. I wanted to share the video with you, as it's just been uploaded to YouTube. The movement is choreographed by yours truly, and I also played the role of Oya (Orisha of wind and fire).

This was the first time that I had ever danced with fire and it was quite an experience. it was also the first film that I'd been involved in, and the first time that I'd been required to perform topless.

It's amazing how quickly you get used to being the only naked person in the room.