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Keith Johnson

Keith Johnson, Professor, teaches Modern Technique (All Levels) and Dance Composition at the undergraduate and graduate levels.In addition, he co-directs The BFA Program and has previously been an MFA Advisor. Keith regularly choreographs for Faculty Concerts and directs department concerts. He joined the faculty in 1997. 

Education/Training

  • M.F.A. DANCE -University of Utah -1991
  • B.S. GEOGRAPHY-Brigham Young University-1983

Keith was a competitive gymnast before he became interested in dance. He was coached by Mike Naddour (Arizona), John Pelliken (Texas), and Wayne Young, Eiko Otomo, Hiko Kinjo, and Patrick Fallin (Utah). He was team Co- Captain for the BYU Gymnastics Team and was awarded an Athletic Scholarship. He began dancing in the BYU dance program touring internationally with The DANCERS COMPANY. He received his MFA from the University of Utah where he studied with Joan Woodbury, Shirley Ririe, Abby Fiat, Ford Evans, Susan McLain, Sally Fitt, Phyllis Haskell, Anne Riordan, Sharee Lane and Loa Clawson.

He has also studied with: Christine Wright, Bebe Miller, Doug Varone, Bill T. Jones, Terry Creach, Stephen Koester, Maria Cheng, Doris Rudko, Phyllis Lamhut, Douglas Nielsen, David Parsons, Cliff Keuter, Bill Evans, Linda Smith, Kei Takei, Eddie Taketa, Gwen Welliver, Gabe Masson, Julia Burrer, and Alwin Nikolais.

Keith has also studied visual arts with Lili Lakich (neon), Satsuki Shibuya (watercolor), Cheryl Kline (printmaking).

Performance/Choreography

While in Salt Lake City, Keith danced in the Ririe/Woodbury Dance Company working with such choreographers as Alwin Nikolais, Murray Louis, 
Shapiro and Smith, Kei Takei, and Loa Clawson. In New York City he joined the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, touring the widely acclaimed workStill/Here both nationally and internationally. He also danced in the companies of Creach/Koester and Doug Varone and Dancers. He has also done pick-up work dancing in the companies of Spencer/Colton in Boston and Janis Brenner in California. As part of Doug Varone and Dancers, 
Keith performed with The Denver Opera and in a site-specific work Neither,which took place in The Lower East Side Tenement Museum in New York City. As a performer he has performed in major festivals and concert halls worldwide including the Joyce Theatre, Jacob’s Pillow, the REDCAT Theatre, Tokyo International Festival, The Melbourne Festival, and Queen Elizabeth Hall in England. Keith has also performed with Colleen Thomas Dance, Bill Young/Colleen Thomas and Dancers, and Victoria Marks. Keith also performed in The Pod Projectby choreographer/director Nancy Bannon.  His work has been shown in various venues including the University of Utah (with Stephen Koester), The LIT Series, Joyce Soho (with Colleen Thomas), The Rose Wagner Theater in Salt Lake City, The Center Stage Theatre (with Stephanie Nugent), Commuter Festival (CalArts), Breaking Ground Festival, ADF, Highways,  Dixon Place (NYC) Tempe Center for the Arts (AZ), Sugar Space in (UT),  Velocity (WA), Ruth Page Center For The Arts (IL), DUMBO Festival (NY), SUNY Brockport (NY), SUNY Purchase (NY)  and The Diavolo Space (LA). His work has been commissioned by the Ririe/Woodbury Dance Company, d9 Collective, CONDER/dance, Contemporary Danceworks, various solo artists, and universities. In 2012, Keith has two works represented at the National ACDFA conference at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. The performers from Loyola Marymount University were chosen as the Outstanding Student Performer Award for their work in Unscripted/Riptide Into Me. Keith also makes dance films with collaborator Gregory R. R. Crosby and together they have formed Fistbomb Films. Their film, Life In Security, has been screened at the Breaking Ground Festival and Film Bar (both in Arizona), Westfest (New York), Dance For The Camera Festival (California), Conversations at the Flea (New York), and American Dance Festival’s International Screendance Festival. 

Currently Keith is working on:

  • CSULB Variance Concert- Solo for BFA candidate- October 11-13 in the Martha B. Knoebel Dance Theater at CSULB.
  • Guest Artist for CSU Fullerton—Fall 2018
  • Keith Johnson/Dancers-20thAnniversary Concert- January 17, 18 2019 In the Martha B. Knoebel Dance at CSULB.
  • Highways Performance Space- March 22-23, 2019 in Santa Monica, CA.

Teaching/Guest Teaching

Keith is a Full Professor who teaches both composition and contemporary dance techniques at all levels. He directs concerts and has created over 30 dances for the students at CSULB. He has been an advisor to the MFA candidates and currently co-directs the BFA students.

 In addition, Keith has been a guest teacher at the following institutions: NYU's Tisch School of the Arts Summer Program, The Julliard School, Dartmouth College, LaSalle College of the Arts in Singapore, The Ririe/Woodbury Summer Dance Intensive, Doug Varone and Dancers Summer Workshop, University of California at Santa Barbara, Scottsdale Community College in Arizona, Brigham Young University, Cal Poly, Virginia Commonwealth University, St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, University of South Florida, Ballet Pacifica Summer Intensive, Southern Methodist University in Texas, Texas Tech, Gustavus Adolphus, CSU Fullerton, California Institute of the Arts, Velocity Dance Center, Strictly Seattle Festival, The Beijing International Dance Festival, Malashock Summer Intensive, 5 x5 Summer Intensive, The American Dance Festival, and the University of Utah. 

In addition. Keith has been Rehearsal Director for the following residencies at CSULB:

  • Della Davidson - Angels and Clay - 1998
  • Bill Young - Fault - 1998
  • Joe Goode - Mythic Montana-2003
  • Doug Varone - Aperture-2010
  • Bill T. Jones - Reading Mercy and The Artificial Nigger - 2012
  • Doug Varone - Of the Earth Far Below-2015
  • Colleen Thomas - Catching His Tears-2017
  • Mark Morris - Gloria - 2018

Awards/Highlights

  • Dee R. Winterton Excellence in Dance- University of Utah- 1986
  • Choo San Goh Foundation Award for Emerging Choreographers -2002
  • Most Valuable Professor Award-CSULB- Awarded by the COTA Outstanding Graduate Student Rogelio Lopez and The College of the Arts at CSULB –2005
  • Lester Horton Award- Outstanding Choreography (Long Form) -Awarded by the Dance Resource Center of Los Angeles-2007
  • Lester Horton Award- Outstanding Ensemble (Small Group) -Awarded by the Dance Resource Center of Los Angeles-2008.
  • Distinguished Alumni Award-The Department of Modern Dance at the University of Utah-2012/13.
  • Djerassi Artist in Residence -2015
  • DISBAND-full evening work with collaborations with Gregory R. R. Crosby. This work was nominated for a Lester Horton Award for Outstanding Choreography (Long Form) 2010.
  • BODIES MATTER—an eight-hour installation presented on the campus of CSULB on World AIDS Day December 1, 2016 to bring awareness to HIV and AIDS and to commemorate those lost to the disease.  

Keith Johnson watching a rehearsal