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.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Building Performers Kids' Camp July 14-25 in DC

If you live in the DC Metro area and have kids in grades 3-5 (or know someone who does) you should sign them up for the Build, Draw and Perform Camp at the National Building Museum in Washington DC! (located at 401 F Street NW)

I'll be leading the "Building Performers" section of the camp, along with Dance Exchange Associate Artistic Director Elizabeth Johnson (pictured at right, with Cassie Meador). Read on for a full description of the course, and click the link above for more info about the other components of the camp, and how to register.

"Create a performance based on the Museum's historic and storied past! Discover what's hiding in the columns of the Great Hall, unveil the myths behind the Museum's friezes, and bring the outrageous characters found in and around the Museum to life. Under the guidance of members of the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, tell a story using movement, improvisation, and creative drama. The session culminates with the campers' original performance for family and friends in the Great Hall."

Sound like fun? Registration forms are online here.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Sore In All The Right Places

Sorry I've been radio-silent for so long! I've been busy wearing many hats and the writer hat hasn't managed to stay on my head long enough to get productive in any way shape or form.

I have finally managed to get myself into dance class on a semi-regular basis and, as a result, I am finally getting back in shape...little by little, it's finally coming back.

If you live in Vancouver and want a really good conditioning class for dancers, I heartily recommend Marlise McCormick's barre a terre (floor barre) class, at Harbour Dance Centre every Wednesday from 5-6pm. This is my go-to class for getting my dance muscles (rotators, abs, pelvic stabilizers, deep tissue muscles) in shape. Nothing works better - it's an intense hour of really specific work that lets you target all of the muscles you'll need to perform at your technical best when you're up on your feet. Check the link for a full class description from their website.

Every week I kind of forget how hard it is - and every Wednesday halfway through class I'm thinking "what the hell have I gotten myself into" and every Thursday I'm super sore, but in all the right places. After a few months of this I figure I'll finally start to feel strong and stable in class again. Because right now I'm wobbling all over the place, like a rookie.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Three Minute Kiss Freeze

In Vancouver and looking for something loving to do for Valentines' Day? The following idea
comes courtesy of a VPSN member who was inspired by the recent frozen-in-place revelry at New York's Central Station. I can't make it, but I wish I could be there! (Although I'd probably be one of the people kissing my hand, as I have nobody to kiss on this V-Day.

Anyways. Here's what's you do:

Grab a friend, partner, family member, pet or… ? and head down to Waterfront Station for 5:00pm!

At 5:00 pm start walking through the Waterfront Skytrain station, on February 14, 2008. Time your time piece to the atomic clock at


At 5:20 pm, FREEZE in a KISS. The kiss can be on the lips, on the cheeks, on the hands, on the wall, whatever - explore your creative options.

Make sure your alarm on your watch is set for 5:23 pm, at which point we will all casually move out of our kiss and keep walking moving as if nothing has happened. Yes, it's basically like a flash mob but toned down a notch.

The waterfront station on google maps is at:

To be specific, the Kiss Freeze will be main atrium area, or main lobby, that you enter off of water street, at the waterfront station. See picture:


For more information, or to upload photos… See the Facebook event link:

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Perils of Teaching Children's Rec Centre Dance Classes

My friend Melanie Kuxdorf has a blog called "Struggle and Strife: A Dancer's Life". It's a project for her Masters program in Journalism. She recently wrote a really great post about how difficult it is to teach kid's dance classes at community centres. As many of us do. Including myself.

I had lots to say in response but I've already posted a comment there, so why don't you just go on over and read what we both had to say. And leave your own comment, if you feel like it.

Melanie used to teach the classes that I'm currently teaching at Riley Park Community Centre. Barefoot on concrete floors. Preballet, preschool dance, acro dance, hip-hop (at least I can wear shoes for the hip hop classes). Still, I limp home afterwards with throbbing knees and aching feet. And I get the flu from kids with runny noses and coughs. And I clean up vomit on floors when parents bring sick kids to class. And I take kids to the bathroom and wipe their bums because they are too young to do it themselves. And I deal with parents who can't understand why their child isn't ready for pirouettes and grand jetes.

They don't pay us enough to treat our bodies like this.

Audition Notice: Cirque du Soleil

I'm going to an audition on Sunday for Cirque du Soleil. It's always been a dream of mine to dance in a Cirque production, and while I am pretty darn sure I'm not what they are looking for but I'm going anyways. Because hey, you never know. And there are never any auditions in Vancouver, so I go to whatever happens. And not only that but - wherever you are, it's always good to get out there and get seen by as many people as possible.

If you want to go, the audition registration starts at 4:30pm for women (5'4" and taller), 6:45pm for men (5'7" and taller) . It will be held at Harbour Dance Centre, 927 Granville St in Vancouver. You must be 18 years or older to audition. Pre-registration is not necessary. I'm not sure which productions they're hiring for, but you may be able to find more info on their website.

They're looking for professional-level hip-hop, street jazz, jazz and contemporary dancers. My advice is to arrive already warmed up and ready to go (or take class beforehand, there's a Jazz 2/3 class at 2:15), wear something that shows your lines and bring a 1 page resume and a recent 8 x 10 headshot.

Don't call Harbour Dance, they don't have any more info than what I've listed here. And I'm sure they've gotten a billion calls since the email went out this morning.

1 Cirque du soleil characters by MarieLynn on Flickr

2 Cirque du Soleil by saltoricco on Flickr
3 Cirque du Soleil by Arlindo Camacho on Flickr

Some Random Thoughts...

I was planning on seeing Emily Molnar and Gioconda Barbuto's show Lifelines tomorrow night at The Dance Centre. Unfortunately the show was canceled due to an unspecified dancer injury. I got an email notification and was hit with a bit of a reality check...

Life as a dancer/choreographer/dance artist is so fragile. Nothing is guaranteed. A meticulously planned performance can be completely derailed at the very last minute by injury or sickness or something even more random like missing a flight. When your body is your instrument you are completely at the mercy of the body's fallibility, the body's imperfections and vulnerabilities.

Lately I have been worried that I'll be hit by a car (or something just as random and unpredictable) and be unable to continue dancing. I know that the chances of getting hit by a car are very slim, but it's always a possibility. I feel like I'm really just starting my career and to be injured now would be really really depressing. I'm not certain how I would go on with my life - although I'm sure I would - just stream energy into my other artistic interests, like writing and photography and painting.

I guess my mindset right now is that I need to take advantage of every second that I'm able to do what I do. I'm not getting any younger, and I need to make full use of my health and strength and vitality - because I may not have it tomorrow, or next month, or next year.

Photo: I took this pic while sitting in the doctor's office with the flu. It made me smile.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Frozen in Grand Central Station

This is so cool. We should try something like this in Vancouver.

Well, we do flashmobbing here in the form of mobile clubbing (courtesy of Foolish Operations)... but nothing on this scale. This is amazing. Look at the confused faces! lololol

It would be hard to freeze for that long. I'd get sore. better pick an easy position or you'd regret it...lol

This was organized by a group called Improv Everywhere

Event Listing: Metro Dance DC

Dance Magazine Listens: A Conversation with Wendy Perron
February 29 from 4-5pm
The Warehouse

1017-21 7th St. NW Washington DC 20001
Co-sponsored by the Warehouse and Dance/MetroDC
Join Dance/MetroDC for an intimate conversation with Dance Magazine Editor-In-Chief Wendy Perron. The discussion will cover everything from the magazine's changing mission to how editors select Dance Magazine's 25 To Watch. Come armed with questions. Participants will each receive a free copy of the March 2008 issue of Dance Magazine. FREE!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Shadow Dance Improv

At Riley Park.

I promise I'll do some actual writing soon, but I've been in bed sick as a dog for a week. So instead, you get an old(ish) clip of my shadow dancing on the wall at Riley Park. Just uploaded today, by the request of a Mr. Boris Willis aka eager bunny Boris.