Johnnie Cruise Mercer

Johnnie Cruise Mercer

Johnnie Cruise Mercer is a maker, freelance-performer, educator, and artistic entrepreneur based in New York City. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a BFA in Dance and Choreography, he has had the privilege of performing for, and collaborating with Antonio Brown, Monstah Black, Andre Zachery, Yon Tande, Ishmael Houston-Jones (2018 remount of THEM), Netta Yerushalmy, Maria Bauman/MBDance, Edisa Weeks/Delirious Dances, and Antonio Ramos, and was a part of Ishmael Houston-Jones’s and Miguel Gutierrez’s Bessie Award-winning reconstruction/reimaging Variations on Themes from Lost and Found: Scenes from a Life and other works by John Bernd.

An active educator, Mercer teaches in the New York public school system through The Leadership Program, a mentorship-based organization that uses art to engage restorative justice, and self empowerment. Mercer has also been on the teaching faculty at the American Dance Festival, Bates Dance Festival, Pratt Institute, NYU Tisch, Gibney, University of Massachusetts Amherst, DeSales University, Muhlenberg College, and the University of Texas at Austin (in residence as its 2016 Vanguard Choreographer).

As the Choreographic/Company Director of Johnnie Cruise Mercer/TheREDprojectNYC, his processes/works have been shared recently at 92Y Harkness Dance Center, Gibney: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center, Dixon Place, Danspace Project Inc, the Fusebox Festival, Mana Contemporary, the NADA Conference, and Abrons Arts Center. Mercer is currently in his second year as an Artist in Residence at Brooklyn Arts Exchange. Follow him (and his company) on Instagram to find out more about his/their current projects and works. @jcruisem, @jcm_redprojectnyc

Process Memoirs

Process Memoir 1: plunge in/to 534 

Shared: April 22nd 2018 @Fusebox Festival (Austin, TX) 

Plunged into the spirit, the body reacts and finds joy in exhaustion. It clings to the acceptance of weight. Pain becomes the inspiration for continuation. Exhaustion. Sweat. Blood. Your (our) fluids become the call to conjure figures that linger in the darkness. The audience, I, we all are transported into an exorcism, a ritual of containment, of freedom, of war between realism, and deep trance. Our poly-centric origin is given permission to possess us- as our people, we are called upon. Something responds. Deep. Inside, it responds. Conceptualized through the lens of Johnnie Cruise Mercer’s black southern queer-baptist roots, plunge in/to 534 initiates a ritualistic ceremony (a practice) that calls/responds to the need for emotional, spiritual and generational release.

Residency Support: 2017 BAX Fall Space Grant, CDI (York College), Silo Dance/NOW, AIRspace Artist Abrons Arts Center, RVA Homecoming hosted by Virginia Commonwealth University 

Original Event:


Process Memoir 2: on the action of black&white 

Shared: May 11, 2018 @York College Arts Festival (Jamaica Queens, NYC) 

on the action of black&white became a reflective performative practice that spilled from the stage into reality. Inspired by political images, audience expectations, and personal moments of soliloquy, The ensemble tumbles through familiar environments/modes as they comment on, surrender to, and construct a pre-mature world based on dual opinion, influence, artistic demand, proposition, and spiritual instinct.

Residency Support: CDI (York College), Silo Dance/NOW, AIRspace Artist Abrons Arts Center, RestorationArts Choreoquest 2018 AIR 



Stay tuned next week for more process memoirs from Johnnie!

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