Johnnie Cruise Mercer/ TheREDprojectNYC

The REDprojectNYC, photo by Torian Ugworji (@tseredipity) of Mikaila Ware (@mikaila.move)
A black identifying woman moves swiftly in a dimly lit space, she wears all black as a lit shines behind her creating a silhouette.
This image is from TRPNYC’s Process memoir 4: The word, the spirit, and Little Rock presented in 2019 by Danspace Project Inc.

Mikaila Ware (Ritual Director, Choreographer, Embodied Practitioner)

Mikaila Ware, at the age of five, began taking dance classes at a recreational center in Fort Stewart, Georgia. Upon her parents’ military retirement, Mikaila’s family settled in Ellenwood, Georgia where she furthered her training at Price Performing Arts Center and Dekalb School of the Arts. Mikaila then went on to expand her range at intensives such as Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance and obtained her B.F.A in Dance at Florida State University. As a NY-based movement artist, Mikaila has worked in the mediums of dance and film, through collaboration, with choreographers and directors such as Kayla Farrish(Decent Structures Arts), André Zachery(Renegade Performance Group), Johnnie Cruise Mercer(TheREDprojectNYC), and Max Rothman (Monticello Park Productions) with Dubois A’keen. Mikaila’s performances have been featured in articles such as the NY Times, Dance Magazine, Dance Enthusiast, and Danspace Project. Additionally, Mikaila worked both administratively and creatively through the completion of the Accessibility Partnerships and Programs Fellowship at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Furthermore, Mikaila is an alumna of the Diversity in Arts Leadership program with the Arts and Business Council of New York. She is currently a company member with Urban Bush Women.

Adrianne Ansley (Artistic Coordinator)

Adrianne Ansley is from Sarasota, FL, and holds a BFA in dance from Florida State University. Adrianne has been involved and intrigued with bodywork; she is attending Pacific College of Health and Science in the AOS program to become licensed as a Massage Therapist. Adrianne is currently collaborating with Thomas Tyger Moore on ‘Thomas & Adrianne, ’ an experimental collaboration that is multi-disciplinary and multi-dimensional. In their podcast, “You’re Welcome w/ Thomas & Adrianne,” they unpack the intersections of love and “self” elements of Chinese Traditional Medicine while providing commentary on social and cultural topics from their black, millennial perspective. ‘Thomas and Adrianne”  will be showcasing work in the upcoming ‘For the moment’ presented by Gibney in April.

Johnnie Cruise Mercer (Curator, Producer)

Recently acknowledged as a 2021 Princess Grace Award Recipent in Choreograpy, and nominated for two 2021 Bessie Awards in Dance and Performance, Johnnie Cruise Mercer is a queer-black think-maker, freelance-performer, educator and social entrepreneur based in New York City. A native of Richmond, VA, Mercer holds a BFA in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University.

As the Company Director and lead producer of TheREDprojectNYC, his processes/work has been shared and/or hosted by  92Y Harkness Dance Center, Gibney: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center, Dixon Place, Danspace Project Inc, The Fusebox Festival, BAAD!, Abrons Arts Center, Mana Contemporary, La Mama Experimental Theater, The NADA Conference, Abrons Arts Center, and most recently at The Clarice Performing Arts Center’s The BlackLight Summit.

As an educator, Mr. Mercer facilitates within the New York Public School system through The Leadership Program- a mentorship-based organization that uses art to foster/engage restorative justice, and motivate the true empowerment of self. Mercer has also been on teaching faculty/a guest artist at The American Dance Festival, Bates Dance Festival, PRATT Institute, NYU Tisch, Gibney, University of Massachusetts Amherst, DeSales University, Muhlenberg College, The University of Texas at Austin, Virginia Commonwealth University, The University of Maryland, Harlem School of the Arts, and The Dance Institute of Washington. Johnnie is currently on faculty at Sarah Lawrence College.

Most recently Johnnie has had the honor of being a 2019-2021 Artist in Residence at Brooklyn Arts Exchange, a 2020-2021 Ping Chong and Company Creative Fellow, and a 2020-2021 AIR through New Dance Alliance’s Black Artists Space to Create Residency curated by Angie Pittman. He is currently a 2022 Artist in Residence at Center for Performance Research.

Follow him on instagram to find out more about his current projects, and works. @johnniecruisemercer

Produced in partnership with The New Dance Alliance, TheREDprojectNYC is happy to share the second curational year of their BAPTISM series. Partritual, part process sharing, BAPTISM is annually curated/structured for BIPOC/LGBTQ identifying artists who are at the turning points of their embodiment practices.

It’s like a coming out ceremony…an intimate moment for each invited artist to shed and transform.

This year’s curated artist is Mikaila Ware, a maker who worked TRPNYC in 2019 and a current member of The Urban Bush Women. With the support of Artistic Coordinator Adrianne Ansley, Mikaila prepares to take a self-guided metamorphosis, a physical and spirit journey towards letting go.

This event will also be streamed live on NDA’s and TRPNYC’s IG @newdancealliance, and @jcm_redprojectnyc