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The Darien Arts Center is delighted to present An Evening with Lydia Johnson Dance on Saturday, March 30, 2024, at 7:30 pm in the DAC Weatherstone Studio. Critically acclaimed dance company Lydia Johnson Dance (LJD), based in New York City, will present a visually and emotionally evocative performance, featuring three major works that showcase the company's distinct choreographic style.


Known for seamlessly weaving components of ballet into a contemporary dance vocabulary, LJD has garnered consistent praise from esteemed publications such as The New York Times, The New Yorker, Backstage Magazine, Dance View Times and Oberon’s Grove. The company's annual New York Season has been critically acclaimed, with its 2019 season chosen by the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts to be filmed and available for viewing at the library.


Lydia Johnson's choreography captures the depth and spirit of the human struggle, characterized by an underlying sense of drama within predominantly abstract qualities. 


Marina Harss of The New Yorker comments, “Johnson is a craftsman and a poet; her works, which stress the ensemble and attend closely to the music, have an ebb and flow in addition to a strong emotional current. The basis of her technique is ballet, and her dancers are strong."


Jerry Hochman of Critical Dance wrote: “Johnson’s piece eliminates overt emotional response to a death without disregarding it, and distills the movement to its essence. So simplified, Johnson converts a worthy, but tired subject into a thing of simple truth and transcendent beauty." 


Brian Seibert of The New York Times wrote: "What seems to count most for Ms. Johnson is music. The four pieces...all showed uncommon skill at matching ballet movement to music, both at the large scale of structure and in small, felicitous details.  Her orchestration of bodies, adding and subtracting, followed the texture of the music wonderfully, coordinating closely with each score's formal drama."


The performance will feature 10 dancers, including guest artists Claire Mazza and Alejandro Ulloa, co-founders of East Coast Contemporary Ballet. The evening will include a revival of Johnson's acclaimed piece from 2011, “Summer House”. "It is an artist's goal to create something that is lasting, a work that will stand the test of time, a work as relevant in fifty years as it is now. Lydia Johnson has done this with Summer House," remarks Darrell Wood of NY Dance. “Giving Way,” a vibrant, propulsive work from 2015, and “Chapters”, a nuanced and emotional look at relationship choreographed in 2023, complete the program. 


After viewing “Chapters” in 2023, Dance critic Philip Gardner wrote in Oberon’s Grove: “As so often happens in Johnson’s work, there were many fleeting moments in which her dancers connect with one another as human beings rather than simply as performers. It is such moments that make dance more than just entertainment: our common humanity is reaffirmed. And Lydia Johnson is so very good at doing just that.”

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