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, 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