Relay Dance Collective presents PASSAGE Featuring choreography by Brenna Monroe-Cook, Imana Gunawan, Sara Jinks, Mark J. Kane, Anna Krupp, Amy Johnson, Holly Logan, and Austin Sexton. Yaw Theater 6520 5th Ave S Seattle, WA 98108 Cost: General $20.00; Patron (preferred seating) $30
By Gabrielle Gainor I can't remember when my admiration of Amy Johnson (now Lambert) began. I feel like she's just always been a name in the Seattle dance scene who I knew was a big deal, and whose work I knew that I loved for some reason -- though I couldn't put my finger on where I first saw her stuff. On a whim, I decided to see If I'd ever written about her for SeattleDances (considering I've written for this blog off and on since 2012 ... or maybe earlier?!).
Lo and behold, apparently I had reviewed her work before in 2012: From there, the program moved on to MADMAN by Amy Johnson, named one of “Seattle’s most promising emerging choreographers” by Velocity Dance Center. It was refreshing to see classical modern-dance elements such as one might see in New York presented in this more experimental, Seattle setting. Dancing to ominous music that almost resembled the Jaws soundtrack, the four powerful women, dressed in black and metallic leggings, refused to be ignored. Their movements were thrilling in almost a villainous way, and the dramatic side-parts in their hair, and makeup that played up each woman’s eyebrows, added to the intensity. If MADMAN is any indication, Johnson has certainly earned such an honor from Velocity. It will be exciting to see what she does next.
What I loved about that piece is how much Amy captured my imagination through dance. She is a master of knowing how and when to use the tools of virtuosity, gesture, humor, and theater. No movement is ever frivolous or wasteful--her crafting is done with such care for detail, such intention that a story is able to emerge with clarity.
Most of all what I love about Amy, however, is how fun she is to be around -- the girl is simply the nicest, and also, the life of the party. We are thrilled to revive the work she created for her BFA at Cornish this year for our mixed-bill show, Passage.
Who or what are you? Amy J Lambert (Johnson).
Top three loves outside of dance. Go! Books, Food, Sunshine.
Write one sentence about who you are as a choreographer. I spent seven years of my childhood in a competitive marching band.
Tell me about the dancers in your piece. They are awesome! Smart, funny, generous, hard/focused workers.
As an artist, what are your favorite things about either living in or being from Seattle?The mountains and the coffee.
Briefly describe your process for making this dance, Incase Anyone Comes Searching? I made this work back in 2011 as part of my BFA thesis at Cornish College of the Arts. I spent five months rehearsing once a week to put it together. That felt fast at the time (we re-set this work in four days)! My favorite part was listening to CDs of klezmer music trying to find just the right music.
What's your coffee order? Americano with a whisper of cream
What artists/troupes are inspiring you right now? Wes Anderson, Kurt Vonnegut, Charlie Chaplin, Kid Pivot, SNL, 2DopeQueens podcast, Theres No Such Thing As a Fish podcast, Hunter S. Thompson, Amy Poehler.
What's the biggest challenge you face as a dancer/choreographer? Let's be real....Time & money & confidence!
What else have you been working on lately?Savage Summerwith Markeith Wiley, PART 2 of our A Savage Journey tryptic. Premiered at The Slate Theater in February.