Nor I by My Johansson
Photo: Eleanor Chownsmith
The black box is blackened. A spotlight illuminates the middle of the stage and in it lays a dancer. She is dressed in a blue and airy jumpsuit that is easy to move in. Arms across the face, legs bent.
I wait for the music to begin. My doesn’t.
She starts to tug her hair. Drag her legs on the floor. Twist and turn her body. Roll across the floor. And in a simple but precise balance between technique and art a minimalistic solo piece follows, combining stillness with chaos. With her body as the instrument we hear and see in the silence My turning into the different entities of water.
Legs that drag themselves across the floor-waves. Hair falling towards the ground-waterfall. Fingers drumming- rain drops. Arms that heavily pull against each other- a gushing river. Hands beating against chest- storm. The constant floor work-the sea.
The occasionally rich in detail, scaled-down movement patterns repeat themselves but tell a different story to each single spectator.
Abstract art pieces can, however, often fall within an anxiety-charged sphere, when the interpretation space becomes too large, but Nor I allows one to chose for oneself. I saw something as easily digestible as the free force of water whilst the choreographer just as well may have mediated claustrophobic isolation. Somewhere it is required that you come with the right mindset/mood to really be able to appreciate the piece. Otherwise you’re left confused rather than reflective.
Bottom line: A compact piece that allows the audience to breathe thoughts, whether it is ones cup of tea or not.
Edwin Chalice, 26 August 2016, Scenkonstguiden,
'A strong relationship with the floor was evident in My Johansson’s solo Negotiating Space. She stayed low and in a horizontal plane throughout yet kept your interest as she slowly uncurled from a quasi- foetal position, propelling herself around the performance area by relying on the mobility of her spine and strength of her leg muscles. There was something powerfully biological about it and instead of coming across as bizarre, it felt as though what was happening was part of a natural process.'
Claire Cohen, 8 June 2015, Londondance
‘…a short (and wriggling) piece Negotiating Space by My Johansson which was a late 'addition to the programme’
Maggy Pigott, September 2014, Gowritereviews
‘New on Sunday’s bill was Swedish-born, Laban-trained My Johansson, sliding across the floor in a not-at-all-silent silence as if in a sleep from which she wakes before falling back again; falling (although not literally) but floor-bound. Hanna [....] She also twists, spirals, drags herself along the floor, repeatedly falls and reaches up, up and up again before a final sinking down… Yes, there are links between this and My’s more austere solo, Negotiating Space but I appreciated them rather than, say, finding them too similar. For me their shared kinetic echo is fascinating although now, several hours after seeing them in close proximity, I want to know what motivated each piece. Additionally i wonder what together they reveal about what young female dance-makers want to ‘say’ about women, or womanhood or… All I know is that the ‘trouble’ My may be undergoing in her watchable work is on a quieter, intense yet more neutral level than Hanna’s sturm und drang. I valued both solos in different ways and for different reasons.’
Donald Hutera, 15 September 2014, Gowritereviews
’Very late addition to #GO Live prog was My Johansson’s floor-swimming solo entitled Negotiating space (slithering through multiple contacts)’
Graham Watts via twitter 15 September 2014
Negotiating space by My Johansson
Photo: Josh Tomalin
Sâl ô dâg
Sâl ô dâg by My Johansson
Photo: Anica Louw
'My silent flower girl My Johansson is stoic and methodical in her internal and deeply powerful performance, 'Sâl ô dâg'. Her ritual was refined and elegant. As her body and limbs circled like a whirlwind she maintained gravitas throughout. Her heavy elegance imbues her movement as she repeats twisting motifs of rotating hands glued at the wrists, whilst, rotating, curving and dropping the upper body and arms over and over again. Her feet or head are often rooted firmly creating a sense of security in this overcast state. She hugs herself in empty embraces with an endless repetition that transforms into flagellation evoking images in Pina Bausch’s work. Her unwavering focus, and use of stillness and slow methodical movement draw an audience into her world, as she completely absorbs herself in her private grief. This piece is mesmerising however the abrupt ending is at odds with the methodical approach to the movement. Why doesn’t Johansson collect her flowers in the painstakingly slow way that she laid them out at the start? Returning to her seat in the audience as if to begin her life’s toil all over again.'
Rebecca JS Nice, 15 June 2015
‘fREak choreographed by My Johansson featured two dancers who performed without a traditional soundtrack, creating an accompanying sound scape using their bodies and the room around them. In a performance that featured improvisation and an exploration of response through repetition, percussive beats of hands, arms, feet and other body parts created an alternative score. At times, the piece focused the audience's attention to miniscule detail in an almost filmic capacity, as if watching a close up camera shot.’
Motus Dance Blogpost, Motus work in progress platform 2.0, 6 October 2014
fREaK by My Johansson
Photo: Nicola Fortunati