Image: Dancers performing choreography by Emily Johnson on Jeffrey Gibson’s monument installation ‘Because Once You Enter My House It Becomes Our House,’ Photo by Scott Lynch.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021  •  6pm EST  •  On YouTube


The second documentary premiere of the Jeffrey Gibson Screening Series features choreographer and dancer Emily Johnson‘s new piece ‘The Ways We Love and The Ways We Love Better – Monumental Movement Toward Being Future Being(s)’ performed on and around Gibson’s monument installation, ‘Because Once You Enter My House It Becomes Our House.’

Johnson’s site-specific dance work stages pathways for regeneration, renewal and transformation. The performance begins with a gathering at the shore of the East River estuary with words from artist and activist Nataneh River, and then moves to ascend Gibson’s monument. ‘The Ways We Love…’ incorporates storytelling, invocation, movement, and light to illuminate Indigenous presence and the histories held in the parkland, which is situated in Lenapehoking – homeland of the Lenapeyok people. The evening culminates with the planting of tobacco, and the project continues spring 2021 with the planting of Sehsapsing corn seeds — a tribute to the future and a commitment to Lenape return.

The documentary premiere will be preceded by a Land Acknowledgment from the Indigenous Kinship Collective.

Premiere Watch Link

Watch Trailer Now


Emily Johnson and Angel Acuña, Nia-Selassi Clark, Linda LaBeija, Denaysha Macklin, Annie Ming-Hao Wang, Angelica Mondol Viana, Ashley Pierre-Louis, Katrina Reid, Kim Savarino, Sasha Smith, Stacy Lynn Smith, Paul Tsao, Kim Velsey, & Sugar Vendil

About Emily Johnson

Emily Johnson performing. Image by Jeffrey Gibson.

Emily Johnson is an artist who makes body-based work. She is a land and water protector and an activist for justice, sovereignty and well-being. A Bessie Award-winning choreographer, Guggenheim Fellow and recipient of the Doris Duke Artist Award, she is based in New York City. Originally from Alaska, Emily is of the Yup’ik Nation, and since 1998 has created work that considers the experience of sensing and seeing performance. Her dances function as portals and installations, engaging audiences within and through space, time, and environment—interacting with a place’s architecture, peoples, history and role in community. Emily is trying to make a world where performance is part of life; where performance is an integral connection to each other, our environment, our stories, our past, present and future.

Her choreography and gatherings have been presented across the United States and Australia. Recently she choreographed the Santa Fe Opera production of ‘Doctor Atomic,’ directed by Peter Sellars. Her large-scale project, ‘Then a Cunning Voice and A Night We Spend Gazing at Stars’ is an all-night outdoor performance gathering taking place amongst 84 community-hand-made quilts. It premiered in Lenapehoking (NYC) in 2017, and was presented in Chicagou (Chicago) in 2019. Her new work in development, ‘Being Future Being,’ considers future creation stories and present joy.

Emily’s writing has been published and commissioned by ArtsLink Australia, unMagazine, Dance Research Journal (University of Cambridge Press); SFMOMA; Transmotion Journal, University of Kent; Movement Research Journal; Pew Center for Arts and Heritage; and the compilation Imagined Theaters (Routledge), edited by Daniel Sack. She was an advisory committee member for Creative Time’s 10th Anniversary Summit and a Phase One working group member of Creating New Futures. She serves on the advisory committee for Advancing Indigenous Performance Initiative of Western Arts Alliance, The Center for Imagination in the Borderlands and the Native American Arts Program Expansion Committee for Idyllwild Arts. Emily is the Pueblo Arts Collaborative Diplomat at Santa Fe Opera, and a lead organiser of First Nations Dialogues.

Emily hosts monthly ceremonial fires on the Lower East Side of Mannahatta in partnership with Abrons Arts Center. She is part of a US based advisory group—including Reuben Roqueni, Ed Bourgeois, Lori Pourier, Ronee Penoi, and Vallejo Gantner—who are developing a Global First Nations Performance Network.


Programming for Jeffrey Gibson‘s ‘Because Once You Enter My House It Becomes Our House‘ is made possible by generous support from VIA Art FundMertz Gilmore Foundation;  Roberts Projects, Los Angeles; Kavi Gupta, Chicago; and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York. It is also made possible with funds from the NYSCA Electronic Media/Film in Partnership with Wave Farm: Media Arts Assistance Fund, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.