My name is Natalie Deryn Johnson. I’m a multi-media and improvisational performance artist based in NYC. I’m a dancer, choreographer, photographer, writer . . . all the things, and hopefully least of all a jack of these trades. I’ve been living in New York City for five years. This was never my intention, but a photography internship planted a seed that has grown into a life I could not have planned myself. The unexpected has been filled with both beautiful and uninvited experiences, which is to be expected. This is life after all. However, these jarring or uncomfortable moments, filled with grief and ultimately wholeheartedness, propelled me into the writing of a project that has come to be known as "Patient History | a movement memoire."
This evening-length work, my first evening production in five years, is not explicitly a dance show, but more of a multi-sensory one woman show.
Over the last two years in process of writing this performance, I have ventured into my fragility and proximity to loss, structuring a narrative that has been waiting for presence. I have now begun to invigorate these stories with poetics of movement, visual projection and an original sound score made in collaboration with Reed Kackley, a Brooklyn-based musician (Bio Below). All of these efforts are pushing me beyond my limits, which is saying something considering the comfort I usually have with weakness as beauty.
I want to invite an audience to talk about deeper and darker subjects, to laugh at me, certainly laugh with me, and hopefully allow space for reflection while taking witness of what can only be described as my intentions towards honesty and embodiment. Despite the alluding to despair, the show is not without comedy as even silly people experience chronic humanity.
This work is the junction of my body as home, creator, and performer: a commitment to personhood, witness-ship and advocacy, all of which creates a backbone to divulge the intimate for sake of community.
I perform as dancer mostly, but in all truth, I’m just a person, just a human . . . and that’s a big part of the multi-dimensional script, choreography and overall composition that I’ve worked towards. I’d say I wrote a play by accident and then rescued said play by returning to a place of intuitive story-telling, a documentarian escapade. So now, bleeding between genres of communication, with visuals contributed by myself and various artists on top of recorded audio and original music, I dance and talk my way through an evening of visibility. It’s been a whirlwind of an experience bringing the narrative to this stage of development. Now It’s time to come to you, which makes this a very exciting time as there is no more room for hiding. Plus, one doesn't know what they have made in the theater until they place themselves in the theater!
So . . . In order to support the artists that have been commissioned thus far and the original work contributed to this show, including renowned photographer Paul B Goode, illustrator Jessica Olah and others . . . to cover the costs of rehearsal space, props/stage design, the performance venue, documentation, promotion and the hard working production team led by my Co-Producer Melani De Guzman, I ask for the generosity of the public. It means a lot to fulfill this project and pay respectfully the people that have made this vision possible, to make this conversation possible, a story that has given me no other option but to share it in what has been an utterly challenging performance undertaking with the tiny hope of sparking compassion, connection and insight.
Lofty goals, I know, but I can’t do it alone. And my bravery is in asking for assistance to create the premiere of what shall be an on-going movement in my art and public relations.
This endeavor has humbled me greatly and I thank you for your ears and heart at this time. To have your attention is more than enough. But now it is my job to see this project through to its first rendition. I feel strongly, as does my team, that this project can bring to surface important topics while also providing a platform for depth of craft, the expansion of capacity to connect and communicate with integrity, while ultimately working towards the manifestation of transformative experiences.
Patient History: let this be a shared experience. Let me be honest.
Performing on September 8th and 9th at Mister Rogers in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
About our musician:
Reed Kackley, the Brooklyn-based producer operating under the moniker BAILE, makes texturally rich dance music inspired by house and downtempo.
Over the past 2 years Kackley has been tapped to remix artists like Beacon, Baio, Mansionair, Doe Paoro & Tusks. In addition to receiving airplay by Pete Tong (BBC Radio 1), he has had multiple tracks in the top 5 of Hype Machine’s ‘Most Popular’ chart and has received coverage from sources like Mixmag, Data Transmission, Fader, Deep House Amsterdam & Earmilk.
2017 finds Kackley releasing a steady stream of singles & A/B sides that channel his love of somber & atmospheric dance compositions.
On the subject of his creative process, BAILE explains:
“When I’m listening to music I find myself more drawn to individual sounds and textures within a song rather than the songs as a whole. During the writing process, I focus on juxtaposing raw elements with synthetic ones, creating something that can feel crisp and clean but also organic and natural. I’m always striving for a really open, clear mix where every nuance of each sound can be heard.”
Risks and challenges
The risk of working towards a project of this nature rests in its exposure of the human spirit and the culmination of so many moving parts into a fully realized performance. This is also its beauty. Other than the creative process itself, the real obstacle is fundraising as I am committed to the fulfillment of this show and to the venue that has welcomed me to perform in September. There is enthusiasm for and belief in this story by everyone on board. It is just a matter of rallying behind the fortitude to continue the work to its end. Of course, much of the performance rests on the completion of the sound score and the taming of a body that can enter into a performance setting with both improvisational and structured execution, which involves bravery and dedication. However, this is something I am equipped with and take very seriously. Plus, a production of this kind is based on the validity of living art and the presence created in the room once the lights go up and the script falls away. I am not aiming for perfection. I am aiming for connection. So, I recognize that plans do not always go as planned and that this show asks of me the potential for what some call failure, but this narrative will find a way. However, without financial help, it is difficult to keep working on this project or with my musician and team to bring this kind of storytelling to the public. The risk is my embarrassment, which is negligible. The real risk is not having the money to have a conversation that desperately needs to be had in a community setting.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)