Johnnie Cruise Mercer

BFA, Virginia Commonwealth University. Recently acknowledged as a 2021 Princess Grace Award Recipent in Choreography, Mercer is a queer Black thinker, maker, performer, educator, and social entrepreneur born in Richmond, Virginia, and based in New York City.  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; he was also a part of Ishmael Houston-Jones’s 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 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’s The BlackLight Summit. Mercer 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), and The New Dance Alliance (Black Artists Space to Create Inaugural AIR 2020-2021); he was a Creative Fellow with Ping Chong and Company, working in Archival Storytelling and Creative Media for their 2020-2021 season. He 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, Mercer 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 10 individual memoir-based happenings/events, the full project will soon come to a close with two DocuEpic Works set to launch in fall 2022 (commissioned by Gibney) and spring 2024. SLC, 2022–


Previous Courses


Choreographic Lab


This course is designed as an imaginative laboratory in choreographic practice. It is time and space for rigorous play, where we engage critically with our own respective creative processes. All class sessions are devoted to choreographic practice in a mentored laboratory setting. Students are charged with bringing in choreographic proposals or ideas on which to work with their peers during these sessions. Throughout the course, specific compositional and/or artistic concerns will be highlighted that will frame our investigations. Those concerns will be used to focus our critical analysis on an aspect of our choice rather than as a score that defines the choreographic proposal itself. Much of our work will focus on refining the process of choreographic practice in order to better understand how the processes with which we engage shapes what we make.