Lydia Johnson Dance


266 Audley Street
South Orange, NJ 07079
County: Essex


Ms. Lydia Johnson

Grant Amount


Program Area



Grant Details

For general operating support of Lydia Johnson Dance including creating, rehearsing, performing and teaching modern dance.

Organization Background

Founded in 1999, Lydia Johnson Dance encourages the appreciation of dance as an art form through the creation and performance of choreographic works presented to a variety of audiences in a variety of settings. In addition to regular appearances at SOPAC, the company has performs at major venues including Jacob's Pillow, Ailey Citigroup Theater, Riverside Church, and Peridance. LJD performs for and holds discussions with broad audiences at its Salon series in intimate spaces and lecture demonstrations in community venues.

LJD receives consistent praise from critics and audiences alike for its distinctive choreography, which uses ballet technique as the basis for the expression of contemporary dance vocabulary. Following LJD's June 2014 season at the Ailey Center Philip Gardner, writer of the esteemed dance and music blog "Oberon's Grove" related the following. "During the intermission, a woman sitting next to us turned to me and said: "'I've never seen anything like this! This woman...who is she? She has really found the bridge between ballet and contemporary dance!' I couldn't agree more." Ms. Johnson's work is noted for its abstract qualities and choice of music ranging from classical composers including Bach and Mozart through 20th Century masters such as Glass and Henryk Gorecki.

The Company has received critical acclaim from The New York Times, The New Yorker and Backstage. Philip Gardner recently wrote, "For musicality and fine structuring, few people currently choreographing in the New York dance scene can compare with Lydia Johnson. There is thought, passion and tenderness in her work, and a depth of musical resonance that is very satisfying to behold." He cited "Night and Dreams" (premiere 2014) as "Lydia's most moving work to date" going on to say, "Here we find the dancers at their most sublime, responding to the achingly beautiful melodies with dancing of quiet resonance. For me, this ballet blossomed from a single word in the opening song ('Du bist die ruh'): sehnsucht - longing - a longing for tranquility, tenderness, and the escape of dreams."

A Massachusetts native, Ms. Johnson studied at SUNY/Purchase, The Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, as well as with masters of the art form Finis Jhung and Sara Rudner. Ms. Johnson received The National Association of Regional Ballet's Monticello Foundation award and a Harkness Dance Center Space Grant from the 92nd Street Y. Ms. Johnson has served as Guest Artist/Faculty at Peridance in New York. Ms. Johnson was recognized for her outstanding artistry with a 2014 Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

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