Emily Johnson

Being Future Being

New York Live Arts Theater
October 20-23, 2022, 7:30
Special Offsite performance, Being Future Being: Land / Celestial Saturday, October 15th, at 3:00pm & 5:00PM
Stay Late discussion on Oct 21st with individuals from the Branch of Knowledge
Tickets start at $15/25, General Seating

New York Live Arts’ (Live Arts) Live Feed creative residency and commissioning program presents the New York Premiere of Emily Johnson/Catalyst’s new evening-length performance, Being Future Being. The multilayered presentation integrates movement, images, story, and sound in a kinetically rich social architecture that centers Indigenous thrivance. Created by choreographer and writer Emily Johnson, who belongs to the Yup’ik Nation, and featuring a commissioned score by Pulitzer Prize-winning Diné composer Raven ChaconBeing Future Being will be presented in two parts:

  • Being Future Being: Land / Celestial is an outdoor performance activation that will take place at an offsite location Saturday, October 15th, 3:00pm and 5:00pm. The location in Lower Manhattan will be shared with ticket holders directly on the day of the event.
  • Being Future Being: Inside / Outwards will be presented at New York Live Arts Theater (219 West 19th Street, New York, NY 10011) from Thursday, October 20th through Saturday, October 22nd at 7:30pm, with a October 21st Stay Late post-show conversation with individuals from the Branch of Knowledge, a collective of Lenape matriarchs who are building power by gathering together and collaborating with accomplices who live in their homelands.

Celebrated for a distinguished body of dance works, Emily Johnson unites audiences in a shared experience of movement, place, history, collective action, and the continuance of Indigenous cultural practices and perspectives. Her newest dance performance and process, Being Future Being, delves into the power of creation, with new stories that seek to sustain a world that must begin again. Co-commissioned by New York Live Arts and featuring an original score by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Raven Chacon, Being Future Being conjures present joy as it seeks to build a radically-just and Indigenized future, one we can live in now and foster for generations to come.

Artistic Direction, Choreography, Writing and Performance by
Emily Johnson, Yup’ik

Created in Collaboration with and Performed by
Ashley Pierre-Louis
Jasmine Shorty, Diné
Stacy Lynn Smith
Sugar Vendil

Composed by
Raven Chacon, Diné

Sound Design and Engineering by
Chloe Alexandra Thompson, Cree

Lighting Design by
Itohan Edoloyi

Scenic Design by
Emily Johnson, Yup’ik

Scenic Fabrication by
Joseph Silovsky / Silovsky Studios

Costume Design by
Raphael Regan, Sisseton-Wahpeton Eastern Band of Cherokee and Diné

Masks and Wearables Design by
IV Castellanos, mx and of Indige Quechua/Guaraní

Quilt Being Garment Design by
Korina Emmerich, Coast Salish Territory, Puyallup tribe

Quilt Design by
Maggie Thompson, Fond du Lac Ojibwe

Visual and Tattoo Artist by
Holly Mititquq Nordlum, Iñupiaq

Production Management by
IV Castellanos, mx and of Indige Quechua/Guaraní”

Branch of Knowledge, Organized and Stewarded by
River Whittle, Caddo Nation and Delaware Nation of Oklahoma (Lenni Lenape)

Branch of Scholarship, Organized and Stewarded by
Emily Johnson, Yup’ik choreographer and artistic director, finding futures with more than human kin.
Joseph M. Pierce, ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ Cherokee Nation citizen, writer, curator, lines on fingers, sun circles waiting, water slipping through.
Karyn Recollet, Urban Cree scholar of a pedagogy of care.
Dylan Robinson, xwélmexw (Stó:lō/Skwah) writer and curator, tl’épstexw tel sqwálewel (making deep or low my thought-feelings / trying to be patient).
Camille Usher, Coast Salish / Sahtu Dene writer, administrator, and artist using running to feel kinship of spatialities.

Administrative Stewardship by
Kevin Holden, Diné

Management support by
George Lugg

Additional contributors during the work’s creation process include Zachary Crumrine; Joelly Dundorf; Sara Lyons; Drew Michael, Yup’ik and Iñupiaq; and Tyler Rai.


Take a look at Emily Johnson’s developmental process for this piece during her residency at Jacob’s Pillow.

Emily Johnson / Catalyst is based on Mannahatta in Lenapehoking.  We work to pay respect to Lenape homeland, people and ancestors past, present, and future by organizing with communities from the Lenape diaspora to build pathways for Lenapeyok return. We have been taught to name Lenape Nations and say cama’i to our relatives from Delaware Tribe of Indians in Bartlesville, OK; Delaware Nation of Oklahoma in Anadarko, OK; Stockbridge-Munsee and Mohican Community in Wisconsin; Moravian Delaware of the Thames in Ontario, Canada; Munsee-Delaware Nation at Munceytown in Ontario, Canada; Delaware of Six Nations in Ontario, Canada.
We strive to be in good relations with our kin- human and more than human and in effort to support growing kinstillatory relations and sovereign, liberated futures we are anti-colonial and abolitionist in all capacities. We are committed to on-the-ground water and land protection, consistent decolonization work, and Land Back.
Quyanaqvaa-lli elpeni to all Sovereign Nations, Indigneous and First Nations people who live in relation to and from Lenapehoking and upon whose lands we work and tour.

Being Future Being is commissioned by Broad Stage at Santa Monica College, and is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation and Development Fund Project co-commissioned by Bunnell Street Arts Center (AK); New York Live Arts (NY); Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (OR) and NPN, with contributions from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Additional commissioning and development support is provided by Dance/NYC’s Dance Advancement Fund, made possible by The Howard Gilman Foundation and Ford Foundation; Abrons Arts Center; University of Massachusetts Amherst Fine Arts Center; Portland Ovations; Jacob’s Pillow’s Pillow Lab residency; a Movement Research Residency, funded by the Scherman Foundation’s Katharine S. and Axel G. Rosin Fund; and New York Live Arts’ Live Feed Residency with funding from Rockefeller Brothers Fund, National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, and The Partners for New Performance.

The creation of Being Future Being is made possible in part with support from Native Arts and Cultures Foundation SHIFT: Transformative Change and Indigenous Arts Award and New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.