Toni Renee Johnson/Maverick Dance Experience

Maverick Dance Experience, photo by K. Bonura

Toni Renee Johnson is an artist, a choreographer, a performer, a dance educator, an entrepreneur, a Maverick.  She creates dances rooted in social commentary, blood memory and complex interpersonal relationships expressing dimensions of the human condition.  Johnson’s choreography is based on the most basic, humanistic tendencies, her sacred form of connecting.   She earned her MFA in choreography and performance from Florida State University in 2005. In New York, Johnson danced with INSPIRIT, a dance company, Nia Love/Blacksmith’s Daughter, Nathan Trice Rituals, Peggy Choy Dance Company and apprenticed with Urban Bush Women, to name a few.  In 2008, Johnson formed her own company, formerly known as Breath of Life Dance Experience, to express her worldview and to begin conversations on topics with global effect. As her inner vision and perception of the world grew clearer, through travel and left turns, BOLDE manifested to Maverick Dance Experience, more directly identifying the style and attitude encapsulated in Johnson’s movement vocabulary and personality.  Johnson’s work tells bold, visceral human stories, urgent and socially relevant, communicating life messages from experiences and perspective of an African-American female artist. Her artistic inquiry includes developing a strong mix of multimedia, integral and integrated into a multisensory, Tim Burton-like, dance theater experience for the dancer and the viewer including video projection, set design, props and live DJ.

Over the past five years, Johnson has been commissioned to choreograph for INSPIRIT, a dance company, Drexel University and Bronx Charter School for the Arts. She have been presented by BAAD!, Judson Church, the NuDance Festival at Riverside Theater, Dixon Place and the Wassiac Project.  She received residency and performance grants from INSPIRIT, a dance company and twice from HT Chen & Dancers Newsteps choreographer’s series (2008, 2012).  Johnson has self-produced two concerts, one at Cunningham Studio Theater, “If You Knew Me…You Would Know…” and the other at Baruch Performing Arts Center, “The T: Dance, Watch, Reflect.”  Her choreography will be performed on County College of Morris Dance Department students in their 2012 fall concert.  Her company has been seen GreenSpace in Queens, NY, Harlem School for the Arts, and Alvin Ailey Theater.  Johnson is also known for her site specific, Guerilla Theater performances, bringing the art to the people at the Highline Railroad Park, Grand Army Plaza and Union Square.  Johnson recently completed her new evening length, multimedia experience, “Reference Point,” and will premiere it in the spring of 2013.