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Darla Johnson

Artist in Residence 

Darla Johnson is a choreographer, teacher, and author living in Austin, Texas.  She is the author of The Art of Listening: Intuition and Improvisation in Choreography (2012), and a contributor to Experiments in a Jazz Aesthetic: Art, Activism, Academia, and the Austin Project (2010). She is also a published poet.


From 1990 to 2005 Johnson was the co-artistic director of Johnson/Long Dance.J/LDC received numerous awards and grants from the City of Austin, the State of Texas and the National Performance Network.  The Austin Symphony, the University of Texas, Dance on Tulsa, and Winona State University commissioned dance/theatre works from J/LDC.  The company performed nationally and internationally in such cities as Los Angeles, Honolulu, Little Rock, Albuquerque, and Hamburg, Germany, and taught residencies throughout the United States while touring.


Johnson founded the dance department at Austin Community College.  She has received the ACC Teachers Excellence award twice.  In 2009, she received the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Award for Teaching Excellence and Service. She was invited to be a Visiting Scholar, with a focus on globalizing curriculum, at the University of Texas for the 2016-2017 academic year.


In recently Johnson’s work has been produced and performed at the Austin Dance Festival, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Black Arts Movement Festival, Texas State University, Spelman College, Georgian Court University, with the Shay Ishii Dance Company and in a project with other Austin choreographer’s entitled 11:11.


The JUSTICE Project is Johnson’s current work and research project. The project is a collaboration with Nicole Wesley, Assistant Professor of Dance at Texas State University.  Spelman College (Atlanta, Georgia), Northumbria University and The Contemporary School of Dance (United Kingdom), Austin Community College (Austin, Texas) and the University of Trinidad and Tobago (Trinidad) the University of Bedfordshire, (United Kingdom), Texas State University (San Marcos, Texas) and McCallum Fine Arts Academy (Austin, Texas) have all commissioned The JUSTICE Project. In June of 2016 a chapter that was co-authored by Johnson and Wesley on the McCallum Fine Arts project was published in The Young are Making Their World, Essays on the Power of Youth Culture.

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