Elizabeth Johnson’s professional dance training began at North Carolina School of the Arts where she studied with many historically notable teachers. She earned a BFA with honors from George Mason University, receiving the Department of Dance Award for Academic Excellence, and her MFA in Performance and Choreography from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) where she was awarded the first Patricia Knowles Scholarship for graduate student excellence and the Wanda M. Nettl prize for student choreography.
Since 2004, her contemporary repertory company, Your Mother Dances (formerly based in Milwaukee), has produced her original work alongside established choreographers from across the country (David Parker, Sara Hook, Gerald Casel, Trey McIntyre, Molly Rabinowitz, Heinz Poll, Luc Vanier, Erika Randall, Anna Sapozhnikov, Dawn Springer) as well as emergent regional and local artists. Johnson's choreography has been seen in New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Minneapolis, Louisville, New Haven, CT, Fort Worth, the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, and has been selected for Gala performance at the American College Dance Association.
As a professional performer, Johnson has toured nationally and internationally as a company member with New York City’s David Parker and The Bang Group and also danced with Sara Hook Dances (NYC & IL), and Molly Rabinowitz Liquid Grip (NYC). She has also performed distinguished classical and contemporary works by Marius Petipa, George Balanchine, Frederick Ashton, Salvatore Aiello, Art Bridgman and Myrna Packer, Rachel Lampert, Mark Morris, Cynthia Oliver, Luc Vanier, Trey McIntyre, and Heinz Poll and has served as rehearsal director for works by Twyla Tharp, Mark Morris, Sara Hook, Rebecca Stenn, Daniel Gwirtzman, Rebecca Bryant, and Maria Gillespie.
A somatic educator and practitioner, Johnson holds a Graduate Laban Certificate of Movement Analysis from Columbia College Chicago’s Department of Creative Arts Therapies where she garnered the Warren Lamb Tuition Scholarship. She is also a dual certified Teacher of the Alexander Technique (AmSAT, ATI), teaching private students and guest teaching in Alexander Teacher training courses in the United States (Alexander Technique Milwaukee, Salt Lake City Alexander Technique) and South America (Escuela Técnica Alexander Buenos Aires, Escuela Uruguaya de Técnica Alexander, Escola da Técnica Alexander do Rio de Janeiro, Técnica Alexander Chile). Johnson is also a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist and Educator (RSMT/E), Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT200) and continues her somatic education/certification in Dynamic Embodiment-Somatic Movement Therapy Training (DM-SMTT) with Dr. Martha Eddy (NYC).
Her teaching and research include the integration of aesthetics, anatomy, kinesiology, and somatic inquiry into embodied movement practices (inclusive of classical and contemporized Western and non-Western dance), Dance making/composition pedagogies, and exploring feminist theory, embodiment, relationship, and popular culture trends and ironies in her choreographies. Her creative work—rooted in autobiography and her love/hate relationship with popular culture—employs interdisciplinary Dance-Theatre to exaggerate and subvert cultural tropes regarding propriety, relationships, and bodies as objects/commodities.
Johnson has collaborated with UF SoTD colleagues to set choreography for plays (The Seagull, Voices From the March) and worked with the Center for the Arts in Medicine (CAM) and the College of Medicine's Department of Neurology considering best practices and protocols for dance/movement interventions for Multiple Sclerosis patients (Dance for MS pilot). She continues as part of a larger multi-site collaboration on Dance and MS with CAM, Georgetown University Arts and Humanities Program/MedStar Georgetown University Hospital Department of Neurology, and Scottish Ballet.
Johnson's guest teaching and/or choreographic residencies include the University of Utah's Utah Ballet Summer Intensive (UBSI), Valdosta State University, Stephens College, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Texas Christian University, Milwaukee Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet Summer Intensive, Danceworks Milwaukee Performance Company, Wild Space Dance Company, and the American College Dance Association regional conferences. She has presented research as lectures, workshops, and embodied choreographies at the International Somatic Movement Education & Therapy Association (ISMETA), International Association for Dance Medicine & Science (IADMS), National Dance Education Organization (NDEO), American Society for the Alexander Technique (AmSAT), Body-Mind Centering Association (BMCA), University of Southern Florida Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA), Southeastern Women’s Studies Association (SEWSA), and Motus Humanus national conferences.
Internationally, Johnson has taught master classes in Dance/Movement, Alexander Technique, Framework for Integration, Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analysis and beyond at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (UK), Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance (London), Universidad Nacional de las Artes (Buenos Aires), Universidad de San Martín (Buenos Aires), Instituto de Artes del Espectáculo, at Universidad de Buenos Aires, the University of Chile (Santiago), DUOC (Santiago), Universidad Nacional de La Plata, SODRE National Ballet School (Montevideo Uruguay), LA CASA Centro de Formación y Producción Artística (La Plata Argentina), Formación de Artistas Contemporáneos para la Escena (FACE) (Buenos Aires), La Fabrica (Buenos Aires), and the mixed-ability dance company Compañía de Danza Sin Fronteras/Dance Without Frontiers (Buenos Aires).
International research presentations and workshops include Movementis Brain, Body, Cognition annual conferences (La Sorbonne-Paris, Harvard Medical School), the 12th (Berlin) and 11th (Chicago) International Alexander Technique Congresses, the Somatic Pedagogies & Performative Practices Symposium at University College Cork (Ireland), Colloque Cybercorporéités: subjectivités nomades en contexte numérique at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), CORPS de Ballet International annual conference (Florence, Italy), the International Symposium on Practice as Research (Hong Kong), and The Fourth International Dance and Somatic Practices Conference at Coventry University (UK).
Johnson is co-author and author of three book chapters featuring Alexander Technique and developmental movement applications that promote conscious embodiment in response to new media technologies (University of Quebec/PUQ and Intellect publishers), student stress and trauma in the ballet class/studio (Intellect publishers), and the psychophysical demands of arts performance (Springer International Publishing). She is excited to be writing a forthcoming book (University of Illinois Press) with co-authors Rebecca Nettl-Fiol (University of Illinois) and Luc Vanier (University of Utah) introducing an emergent movement analysis system called Framework for Integration, rooted in somatic, educational, and developmental methodologies (Alexander Technique, Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analysis, the Dart Procedures, and developmental movement). She has served as an editor for the American Society for the Alexander Technique (AmSAT) Journal and is on the Journal of Dance Education (JODE) Review Board.
An Associate Professor in the School of Theatre and Dance, Johnson has also served as Dance faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of North Carolina-Greensboro, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Texas Tech University.
Book chapter – co-authored
Johnson, E. & Vanier, L. The Subtle Dance of Developmental Self-Awareness with New Media Technologies in Par le prisme des sens: médiation et nouvelles 'réalités' du corps dans les arts performatifs. Technologies, cognition et méthodologies émergentes de recherche-création, Ste-Foy, Canada : Les presses de l’Université du Québec (PUQ), Collection Esthétique. Editors: Isabelle Choinière (Ed. principale) et Enrico Pitozzi (Ed. associé). ISBN: 978-2-7605-5148-0
Book chapter – single author
Johnson, E. Distilling Dart: Minding Bodily Approaches to Performance Through a Framework for Integration and the Alexander Technique in Perspectives in Performing Arts Medicine Practice: A Multidisciplinary Approach. Editors: Sang-Hie Lee, Merry Lynn Morris, Santo V. Nicosia. Springer Publishing. ISBN: 978-3-030-37479-2
Book chapter – co-authored
Johnson, E. & Vanier, L. Ballet Aesthetics: Trauma, Development, and Functionality. (Re)Claiming Ballet. Editor: Dr. Adesola Akinleye. Intellect Publishing. ISBN 9781789383614
Article – co-authored
Jill Sonke, Julia Langley, Bethany Whiteside, Tirisham Gyang, Brooke Borgert, Keely Mason, Elizabeth Johnson, Deborah Riley, Catherine Cassidy, Gay Hanna & Carlos Sollero (2021) Movement for multiple sclerosis: a multi-site partnership for practice and research, Arts & Health, 13:2, 204-212, DOI: 10.1080/17533015.2020.1852435
Abstract – co-authored
K. Mason, D. Leventhal, J. Sonke, J. Langley, B. Whiteside, T. Gyang, B. Borgert, E. Johnson, D. Riley, C. Cassidy, L. Sinclair. Dance for Movement Disorders: Improving Health and Quality of Life. Movement Disorders, 36: S1, S503. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/mds.28794