BEST DANCER - 2000
Is it possible for someone to be fluent in dance? We've all heard about that flowery concept known as the "language of movement," but surely there is more to this notion, a meaning that transcends press-release superlatives. Watching Emily Johnson perform in Paula Mann's recent Light and Dark: A Digital Dance Mystery, as well as in her own work last fall, provided a rare opportunity to witness firsthand how the body can indeed articulate itself, how the bones can conspire to tell stories, how the face, so often forgotten in dance, can inspire with serenity. In fact, Johnson stands out because she is so calm, even as moments of frenzy swirl about her. Such peacefulness gives the viewer a sense of confidence about this dancer, a satisfying feeling that Johnson has control. Few young dancers possess such innate wisdom, but Johnson, an Alaska native who graduated from the University of Minnesota's dance department, has an old soul inside her, one that recognizes the power of understatement and patience.