Johnnie Cruise Mercer
Space Grant (2017/2018)
Artist in Residence (2019-2020)

Recently acknowledged as a 2021 Princess Grace Award Recipent in Choreography, Johnnie Cruise Mercer is a queer black thinker, maker, performer, educator and social entrepreneur born in Richmond, VA and based in New York City.  

 A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a BFA in Dance and Choreography, he has had the privilege of performing for and collaborating with Antonio Brown, Monstah Black (The Illustrious Blacks) , Andre Zachery, Yon Tande, Ishmael Houston-Jones (2018 remount of THEM), Netta Yerushalmy, Maria Bauman/MBDance, Edisa Weeks/Delirious Dances, and Antonio Ramos, and was a part of Ishmael Houston-Jones and Miguel Gutierrez’s Bessie Award-winning reconstruction/reimaging Variations on Themes from Lost and Found: Scenes from a Life and other works by John Bernd. 

An active educator, Mercer teaches in the New York public school system through The Leadership Program, a mentorship-based organization that uses art to engage restorative justice, and self empowerment. Mercer has also been on the teaching faculty at the Leigh Valley School of the Arts, Henrico Center for the Arts, Appomattox Regional Governor’s School, Harlem School of the Arts, American Dance Festival, Bates Dance Festival, Pratt Institute, NYU Tisch, Gibney, University of Massachusetts Amherst, DeSales University, Muhlenberg College, and the University of Texas at Austin (in residence as its 2016 Vanguard Choreographer). 

His most recent processes and artistic work have been hosted and presented by: The 92Y Harkness Dance Center, Gibney: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center,  TheShed,  Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD!), The Dixon Place, Danspace Project Inc, The Fusebox Festival, Mana Contemporary, The NADA Conference, Abrons Arts Center, and most recently at The Clarice Performing Arts Center’s The BlackLight Summit. Johnnie has had the honor of being in community with The 92Y Harkness Dance Center (2016-2017 AIR), Cuny Dance Initiative at York College (2017-2018 AIR), NYU Tisch Dance (2018 Summer Creative Residency), Bates Dance Festival (2018 AIR),  Abrons Arts Center (AIRSpace 2018), Stephen Petronio Center (2019 Partnership Residency Program), Brooklyn Arts Exchange (AIR 2019-2021), The New Dance Alliance (Black Artists Space to Create Inaugural AIR 2020-2021), and was a Creative Fellow with Ping Chong and Company working in Archival Storytelling and Creative Media for their 2020-2021 Season. 

Johnnie is the founder and Company Director of TheREDprojectNYC (TRPNYC), a multidisciplinary arts ensemble dedicated to the study of movement philosophy and its use toward building communal spaces for black/other process, documentation, and investigation. Together, himself, and TRPNYC, are in their fourth year of the company’s current six year project; “A Process Anthology: The Decade from Hell and the Decade that Followed Suite.”  Charted as ten individual memoir based happenings/events, the full project will soon come to a close with two DocuEpic Works set to launch Fall 2022 (commissioned by Gibney) and Spring 2024!

Find more info on this project and his other work on Instagram: @jcruisem, @jcm_redprojectnyc