About the Grant

$17,500 to support The Thank-You Bar (MAP 2009), a multi-disciplinary performance centered on dance, storytelling, visual image, and music, choreographed and performed by Emily Johnson with composers James Everest and Joel Pickard, and beadwork by Karen Beaver.

About the Project

The Thank-you Bar is a performance of dance, storytelling, visual image, and music. It asks the question “What is a true home?”

The Thank-you Bar connects displacement, longing, and language to elements of real history, preconceived notions, architecture and igloo-myth. It's a collaborative effort between choreographer/performer Emily Johnson, composers/performers James Everest and Joel Pickard, and visual artist/beadworker Karen Beaver. An accompanying exhibit entitled Our Place, featuring work by contemporary Alaska Native and Native American visual artists, is curated by Emily Johnson and Carolyn Anderson.

“I speak about the bottom of a river, but lie in a plastic kiddie pool. I talk about a fish that can swim to your belly and never truly die. I play my Yup'ik drum, but no one in the audience sees it. We hear deconstructed country music on guitar and pedal steel. We see story images, relayed through beading on my costume. And, while the audience sits in a semicircle around the musicians, they swivel on their chairs to see me walking toward them on stilts. They see a movement vocabulary that is part somersault, part hand gesture, part animal imagery. They hold illuminated boxes and become part of the image. They see a beaver lodge, they see an igloo-myth, they see the theater walls and I offer the question "What is a true home?”

Related Websites

Springboard for the Arts

Emily Johnson

Research Highlights of The Thank-You Bar at MANCC


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