The Thank-you Bar – Emily Johnson/Catalyst

What a wonderful intimate experience this was. And the first of it’s kind since moving to Chicago. I wonder how audiences here feel about it, in Emily’s native Alaska they were not as excited about it as I am. For the first few minutes of the piece, the people sitting to the right of my wife kept asking each other rather loudly, “Where is the dance?” And were quite excited when deliberate movement finally made it’s appearance. I guess calling the whole thing a dance piece might be a bit of a misnomer, since dance is not the centerpiece, but simply one of the many tools Emily Johnson uses to create the atmosphere for the evening.

An atmosphere focused on storytelling in general, but also her story in particular, on issues of culture and identity and native peoples, but also the particular history of each space she performs in. An atmosphere evoking a campfire gathering, complete with a dim glow lighting all of our faces and fall leaves rustling among us. An atmosphere that feels interactive and inclusive but not annoyingly so. An atmosphere beautifully underscored by live music, but also at times focused on sonic/movement exploration. In short an exploration, an experiment, a wonderful shared journey.

Check to see if Emily Johnson is coming to your city or town on her website.

october 7 – 10
the dance center at columbia college
chicago, il

photo by Cameron Wittig