Johnnie Cruise Mercer
Artist in Residence (2019-2021)

Space Grant (2017/2018)

Upstart Program (2015/2016)

Johnnie Cruise Mercer (he/him), a 2022 Dance Magazine Harkness Promise Award Recipient, and a 2021 Princess Grace Award Recipient (Choreography), is a queer-black think-maker; a choreographer, an educator, and producer based in Brooklyn, New York. A native of Richmond, VA, Johnnie holds a BFA in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University.

“My work focuses on movement’s ability to take action communally through the acknowledgement and active use of history, memory, and space. My making practices are interdisciplinary in nature, working with the choreographic process as a “tool” to amply and offer structured ways to find freedom, and hidden subconscious truths. I believe in working with movement, from music, and into archival study. My work is theater; but not only for the sake of presentation. To me, theater-making is about embracing reality, listening, releasing, and preparing for a communal, meta-physical, revolution.”

Johnnie’s choreographic work has been seen and/or shared by 92Y Harkness Dance Center, The Dixon Place, Danspace Project Inc, The Fusebox Festival, BAAD!, Abrons Arts Center, La Mama Experimental Theater, The Clarice Performing Arts Center’s The BlackLight Summit, and at The American Dance Festival. Most recently, Johnnie has had the honor of being a 2019-2021 Artist in Residence at Brooklyn Arts Exchange, a 2020-2021 Ping Chong and Company Creative Fellow, a 2020-2021 AIR through New Dance Alliance’s Black Artists Space to Create Residency, and a 2022 Artist in Residence at Center for Performance Research. Johnnie is currently a NYSCA supported 2024-2026 AIR at Movement Research.

As an educator, Johnnie specializes in K-12 and pre-collegiate development focusing on history, movement’s uses in building collaborative work/community. Johnnie has facilitated/taught within the New York Public School system through The Leadership Program, Movement Research’s Dance Maker’s Program, and through Ping Chong and Company’s Secret Histories Educational Program. Mercer has also been on teaching faculty/a guest educator at The American Dance Festival, Bates Dance Festival, PRATT Institute, NYU Tisch, Gibney, University of Massachusetts Amherst, DeSales University, Muhlenberg College, The University of Texas at Austin, Goucher College, Sarah Lawrence College, The University of Maryland, Harlem School of the Arts, and The Dance Institute of Washington. Johnnie also write curriculum; being the Co-Creator/Curriculums for both Martha Graham’s Our Own American Document Curriculum, and Queen’s College’s Kupheburg Center for the Arts Jazz and Justice Curriculum. He is currently a professor at NYU Tisch (within their High School Dance Program), and a full time IB Theater instructor at Brooklyn Prospect High School.

Johnnie is the founding producer, and director of TheREDprojectNYC (TRPNYC), a multidisciplinary ensemble of artists dedicated to movement philosophy, and its use towards building communal spaces for black/other process, documentation, and investigation.

Learn more about upcoming projects Johnnie’s cooking up with his production company:
IG: @jcm_redprojectnyc & @johnniecruisemercer