Dance Off

Ailey II
Interview Magazine


Ailey II dancer Josh Johnson spends most of the year touring the United States, performing in Ailey's modern repertory virtually every night, rehearsing during the days, and subsisting on an unholy mix of backstage catering, Applebee's, and Outback Steakhouse. When Johnson is back in New York, you can find him cooking up a storm in his Harlem apartment. Reached by phone at home on a rare night off, the 21-year-old San Fernando, California, native is busy making Cornish hens and scalloped potatoes-enough to last the week. "I get home-cooked meals if I cook them," Johnson explains ruefully. Not that he regrets the move that brought him to New York in 2005 as a fellowship student at the Ailey School. Transitioning from student to apprentice to company member were big leaps. "I felt like I blossomed into a performer. It forces you to be on your game," he says. And his game is a serious one. The repertory is very eclectic and includes movements constructed by Alvin Ailey and other choreographers which incorporate everything from ballet to jazz. Johnson needs to reach a "meditative state" in order to perform. "I'd rather the audience come into what we're doing than make it like a circus," he says. "Dance is a lot more sacred than that."