LJD performing Night of the Flying Horses in June 2013. (photo credit: Nir Arieli)

Newport Recap<

This past July, LJD was invited to perform at the Great Friends Dance Festival, run by the Island Moving Company in Newport, Rhode Island. Over the course of two weeks, the company had the opportunity to perform In Conversation (like breathing…like flying…), originally choreographed in 2003-04, on July 18-19, and also one of the company’s newest works, Night of the Flying Horses, on July 25-27. Newport residents, as well as board members and supporters of IMC graciously hosted LJD dancers, as they spent the days rehearsing and performing in the Great Friends Meeting House, originally a Quaker meetinghouse built in 1699. 


LJD dancers "backstage" at the Great Friends Dance Festival in Newport, RI.


LJD’s performances as part of the festival were met with great success and praise. In a review in The Newport Daily News, dance critic Sandra Matuschka wrote:

Another visiting dance company – Lydia Johnson Dance from New York and New Jersey – provided a lovely romantic and classical mood as two couples danced a contemporary pas de deux to Philip Glass's ‘Violin Concerto’. Further defining the classicism of the dance was the attire –the two men in long black pants and tops, the females in white and wearing halter tops. The couples displayed, seemingly without effort, slow motion pirouettes that lifted lightly over heads and backs, and graceful precise coordinated movements that extended even to the fingers and wrists.

The artistry of this group was truly breathtaking and must be seen to be appreciated. The lifts, swirls, leaps, turns, falls, risings and meldings were performed with such athleticism and grace such that watching the changing geometry of limbs it seemed as though Da Vinci anatomy sketches had come alive to dance.

Check out another review of LJD at the Great Friends Dance Festival here. 

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Studio Showing: November 3

On November 3, LJD will hold its third in a series of studio showings that present new and repertory pieces in an intimate setting at Manhattan Movement and Arts Center (MMAC) at 2pm. The afternoon will consist of a presentation by LJD dancers of a studio version of Night and Dreams, which premiered in June 2013 and is set to Schubert lieder, and also new phrases set to music by Mozart. There will also be a Q&A with the company, along with wine and light refreshments. This will be a unique opportunity in an intimate setting to experience dance in the environment in which the work is created and rehearsed. The event is free and open to the public. Spread the word!


Kerry Shea and LJD Guest Artist Carlos Lopez in Night and Dreams, which will be performed as a studio version on November 3. (photo credit: Nir Arieli)d m


For directions to MMAC, check here: Directions

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Deborah Wingert to Teach Company Class

Starting this fall, renowned master ballet teacher Deborah Wingert, a former New York City Ballet dancer, will teach company class to LJD dancers each Friday prior to rehearsal. Ms. Wingert, who joined LJD as Ballet Mistress last season, serves as a wonderful set of extra eyes and can comment and contribute to the movement’s meanings and the individual dancer’s interpretation of the work.

“I think company class allows the dancers the space to learn and to experiment with the way movement occurs within the ballet vocabulary,” Ms. Wingert says. “It is where we can find the similarities and differences among the various training styles and find the elements that enrich Lydia’s choreographic ideas. Lydia is generous, passionate and always uses the music as a jumping off point, which is my ‘cup of tea’ and creates a rich environment to work in.”


Master Ballet Teacher Deborah Wingert will lead LJD company class each week starting this fall.


LJD is excited to have Ms. Wingert on board and expects her offerings to add to the clarity , unity and expressiveness of the company.

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Dancer Spotlight: Sarah Pon and Blake Hennessy-York

On September 1, two LJD members celebrated a wedding…to one another. Dancers Sarah Pon and Blake Hennessy-York, who are starting their fourth season with the Company and have originated several roles and duets in Lydia’s works, celebrated their special day in Santa Barbara, California, amongst family and close friends. The couple, who met in college at the University of CA, Santa Barbara in 2002, were often paired together in school and later during their time with Santa Barbara Dance Theater, where they both danced and toured internationally for three years. During their time with LJD, Sarah and Blake have originated partnership roles in Change of Heart and Night of the Flying Horses. They have also danced side by side in many other works.

LJD dancers Sarah Pon and Blake Hennessy-York celebrated their wedding day on September 1. (photo credit: Brian Gross Photography)


“The thing I love most about dancing with Blake is that I trust him completely, so I am able to totally lose myself in the movement and the music,” Sarah says. “We have such a deep connection that it feels so natural to be sharing the intimacy of a dance on stage.”

“I think that our personal relationship and dancing relationship are linked and have a strong influence on each other,” Blake adds. “There are a few key elements that I find prevalent in our dancing relationship: trust, communication and listening to each other’s body language. Seems like those are pretty important elements in a personal relationship, too, right? What’s special about Lydia’s work is that she finds and follows an individual’s strengths and qualities. There are many layers that already exist between Sarah and I, so the qualities that Lydia pulls from us do tend to come from a deeper place when working on a duet.”

On their wedding day, Sarah and Blake performed a duet that they choreographed. They even included a few lifts (made challenging due to the lack of rehearsal “in costume”) and barrel turns for Blake.

“We have danced together in front of an audience countless times before, but this was so special because we were just us,” Sarah recalls. “It was almost as if everyone disappeared for a moment and it was just me and Blake together in our first moments as husband and wife, doing what we love. It was like a love letter to each other. When the dance ended, our guests erupted in a warm and elated applause. It was and will remain the most meaningful standing ovation I think either of us will ever receive.”more

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Salon Series

This fall, LJD presents its inaugural Salon Series. Lydia, her dancers and guest artists invite dance lovers to a series of intimate conversations in LJD supporters’ homes and apartments about the creative process. Each Salon is free, and seating is very limited. Come to one Salon or come to all to participate in a dialogue of ideas as Lydia creates work for LJD’s 2014 New York Season. Dates and locations to be announced.


Newlyweds Sarah Pon and Blake Hennessy-York dance together in LJD's Change of Heart. (photo credit: Kokyat)read more