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World Premiere + BroadStage Commission

September 8-10, 2022

A dance work that uniquely integrates movement, rich storytelling, sound, and social practice; you are invited to Gather Here. Being Future Being is a constellation of activities, performances, and gatherings.

Being Future Being delves into the power of creation, building from an ancestral landscape of Indigenous power. Created by choreographer and writer Emily Johnson, who belongs to the Yup’ik Nation, and featuring a score by Pulitzer Prize-winning Diné composer Raven Chacon, this multilayered performance invites you to experience a transformation, ushering into focus new futures with the potential to reshape the way we relate to ourselves, our environment, and to the human and more-than-human cohabitants of our world.

This is a pay-what-you-choose performance. BroadStage is on the ancestral unceded territory of the Gabrielino, Tongva, and Kizh people. As a tangible action that acknowledges the history and colonial occupation of the land on which we reside, a portion of all ticket sales will be offered to a Los Angeles-based, Indigenous-led organization that works to revitalize Indigenous ways of being and knowing.

In Conversation with Rob Bailis

Listen in as Emily Johnson shares about the evolution of Being Future Being and the community she includes in the process.

Inside the Pillow Lab: Emily Johnson/Catalyst

Go Inside the Pillow Lab with Emily Johnson during her early-stage creation residency at the acclaimed Jacob’s Pillow. This short film captures Johnson and performer Jasmine Shorty, as they spent ten days in November 2020 dancing on the lands of the Mohican, Nipmuc, Pocumtuc and Agawam people. Their work is supported by in-depth conversations with Indigenous scholars Karyn Recollet, Dylan Robinson and Camille Usher, who joined the residency remotely. The Pillow Lab 2020 provided crucial safe space during the pandemic to develop Being Future Being.

Videographer Ellen Maynard 
Performers Jasmine Shorty and Emily Johnson
Produced by Nel Shelby of Nel Shelby Productions 
Directed & Edited by Ashli Bickford 
Graphic Design by Benjamin Richards

Monumental Movement Toward Being Future Being(s)

The Ways We Love and The Ways We Love Better

Walk along the pathways of regeneration, renewal and transformation with Emily Johnson's 'The Ways We Love...' site-specific dance work. 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 Jeffrey Gibson’s monument installation, ‘Because Once You Enter My House It Becomes Our House at Socrates Sculpture Park. Incorporating storytelling, invocation, movement, and light, 'The Ways We Love...' illuminates Indigenous presence and the histories held in the parkland, which is situated in Lenapehoking – homeland of the Lenapeyok people. The performance culminated with the planting of tobacco - a tribute to the future and a commitment to Lenape return.

'The Ways We Love...' was performed by Emily Johnson, 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, and Sugar Vendil
Invocation by Nataneh River
Garments and masks by Jeffrey Gibson

This film was shot and edited by Cut/Cut/Cut: Chelsea Knight & Itziar Barrio. Drone footage was captured by KMDeco Creative Solutions: Mark DiConzo & R3D Shifters: Angelo Soriano. Audio recording and mixing was done by Tristan Sheperd.

STTLMNT Presents: A Responsive Witnessing

Emily Johnson is joined by Indigenous futurists, visionary thinkers and organizers Karyn Recollet, Joseph M. Pierce and Camille Georgeson-Usher for this Responsive Witnessing process conducted in conjunction with the online presentation of The Ways We Love and The Ways We Love Better, Monumental Movement Toward Being Future Being(s). You are invited to first watch that performance, using the link above. 

Originally presented as part of STTLMNT, an Indigenous artist strategy utilizing occupation (digital and physical) to disseminate post-colonial artworks and create our own living archive. More info at

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. Johnson is a Bessie Award-winning choreographer, Guggenheim and United States Artists Fellow, and recipient of the Doris Duke Artist Award based in Lenapehoking/New York City. Johnson 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 care processions: they engage audienceship within and through space, time, and environment —interacting with a place’s architecture, peoples, history, and role in building futures. She is trying to make a world where performance is part of life, where performance is an integral part of our connection to one another, our environment, our stories, our past, present, and future.

Johnson’s writing has been published and commissioned by The Open Society University Network’s Center for Human Rights and the Arts at Bard College, 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.

Johnson hosts monthly ceremonial fires on Mannahatta in partnership with Abrons Arts Center and Karyn Recollet. She was the Pueblo Opera Cultural Council Diplomat at Santa Fe Opera 2018– 2020, and a lead organizer of First Nations Dialogues. She was a co-compiler of the documents, Creating New Futures: Guidelines for Ethics and Equity in the Performing Arts and Notes for Equitable Funding, was a member of Creative Time’s inaugural Think Tank, and serves as a working consortium member for First Nations Performing Arts.

Raven Chacon is a composer, performer, and installation artist from Fort Defiance, Navajo Nation. As a solo artist, collaborator, or with Postcommodity, Chacon has exhibited or performed at the Whitney Biennial, documenta 14, REDCAT, Musée d’art Contemporain de Montréal, San Francisco Electronic Music Festival, Chaco Canyon, Ende Tymes Festival, 18th Biennale of Sydney, and the Kennedy Center. Every year, he teaches 20 students to write string quartets for the Native American Composer Apprenticeship Project (NACAP). He is a recipient of the United States Artists fellowship in music, the Creative Capital award in visual arts, the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation artist fellowship, and the American Academy’s Berlin Prize for music composition. He lives in Albuquerque, NM.

Made possible with the support of BroadStage, The Ontario Arts Council and The Canada Council for the Arts.