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Lorin Johnson

Lorin Johnson, Professor, teaches courses in ballet technique, pedagogy and dance history, in addition to choreographing for and directing department concerts. He is also the Ballet Coordinator and the Production Coordinator for the department. His hobbies include reading, biking and surfing. 

Education/Professional Background

Lorin Johnson trained at the Pacific Dance Theatre and the San Francisco Ballet School where he studied on full scholarship. He performed with the San Francisco Ballet before joining the American Ballet Theatre in New York under the directorship of Mikhail Baryshnikov. Johnson performed at ABT until 1995, appearing in eight seasons at the Metropolitan Opera House and touring nationally and internationally to such cities as Paris, Tokyo, Athens, Buenos Aires, and London. Johnson created original roles in ballets by such renowned choreographers as Ulysses Dove, Clark Tippet and Agnes DeMille, among many others, and he has worked with some of the 20th century’s most renowned choreographers, including Glen Tetley, Kenneth Macmillan, Twyla Tharp, and Jerome Robbins. Following his career as a professional dancer, Johnson earned B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Southern California, focusing on Russian arts and cultural studies. 

Creative Work

Johnson's choreography has been presented internationally, including at The Garage Museum in Moscow, Russia and at the Fabbrica Europa Dance Festival in Florence, Italy. Nationally, his work has been commissioned by the Pacific Symphony Orchestra at Segerstrom Concert Hall; Celebrate Dance in Los Angeles; the Orange County Performing Arts Center’s Invitational Dance Festival; the Laguna Dance Festival; the Dance Under the Stars Choreography Festival in Palm Springs, the Los Angeles Dance Invitational at the Ford Amphitheater and with LA Grand Ensemble at the Los Angeles Theatre Center. He has been artist in residence at Skidmore College, New York and at the Orange County High School of the Arts (OCHSA) in Southern California. Johnson’s project dance company, Body Current Dance, has performed throughout Los Angeles and Southern California since 2009.

Since 2004, Johnson has served on the faculty of the American Ballet Theatre summer intensive program, serving as the Artistic Coordinator of ABT’s program in Orange County for four years. He is a certified teacher of ABT National Training Curriculum and adjudicates audition classes for the ABT summer intensives program nationally. Johnson has taught master classes in ballet internationally and in 2013 taught at the St. Petersburg State Conservatory in Russia (the former school of George Balanchine). During his stay in Russia, he lectured at such institutions as the St. Petersburg Theatre Arts Academy and the St. Petersburg State University of Culture and Arts.


Johnson’s publications include historical and pedagogical research and have been published in Dance International and Dance Teachermagazines, as well as in peer-reviewed journals such as Theatre, Dance and Performance Training(Routledge), Experimentand Musyka. In 2014, Johnson was the editor of the volume Kinetic Los Angeles: Russian Émigrés in the City of Self-Transformation (Experiment, No. 20), which presented research on Russian artists in Southern California. His earlier research in this area led to a co-curated exhibition of Russian émigré artists that was featured in the Diaghilev P.S.arts festival in St. Petersburg Russia in 2013. Johnson has been a pre-performance speaker at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts and the Los Angeles Music Center In 2013 he served as Artistic Advisor for the Music Center’s festival LA’s Rite: Stravinsky, Innovation and Dance during the Joffrey Ballet’s performances of “The Rite of Spring.” He has recently contributed essays for a forthcoming Cambridge University Press monograph on Igor Stravinsky and is conducting research for a co-authored book on the history of American Ballet Theatre. 

Two dancers dance Romeo and Juliet

Johnson and Misty Copeland chat during masterclass

Courtney Boyd in "iSelf" by Lorin Johnson

Johnson teaching