POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—Virginia Johnson, the editor-in-chief of Pointe magazine, will speak about her life in the world of dance on Wednesday, September 17, at Vassar College, in the lecture “Ballerina to Editor.”
Johnson was a founding member and former principal dancer with Arthur Mitchell’s Dance Theater of Harlem (DTH) from its formation in 1969 until her retirement in 1997. This program is free and open to the public, and begins at 7:30 pm in the Frances Daly Fergusson Dance Theater of Kenyon Hall. Seating is limited and is on a first-come, first-served basis.
As founding editor of Pointe, the popular seven-year-old publication dedicated to the art of ballet, Johnson has turned her energies to helping dancers prepare for the professional ballet world developing educational seminars and lectures on health and wellness for dancers, auditions, and professional preparation.
Born in Washington, DC, Johnson graduated from the Academy of the Washington School of Ballet. She briefly attended the School of the Arts at New York University where she was a University Scholar before joining DTH in 1969. During her long association with that company, she performed most of the repertoire, with principal roles in Concerto Barocco, Allegro Brillante, Agon, A Streetcar Named Desire, Fall River Legend, Swan Lake, Giselle, Voluntaries, Les Biches and other ballets.
Many of her performances in principal roles were recorded for broadcast and include A Streetcar Named Desire for Dance in America on PBS, Creole Giselle, which was the first full-length ballet broadcast on NBC, and Fall River Legend, which won a cable ACE award from the Bravo Network. In addition, she was included in two acclaimed television dance series, Margot Fonteyn’s The Magic of Dance and Natalia Makarova’s Ballerina.
Johnson is also noted as a choreographer with credits including the television film, Ancient Voices of Children, which she choreographed and danced, and ballets created for Goucher College, Dancers Respond to AIDS, the Second Annual Harlem Festival of the Arts, Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center, and Marymount Manhattan College, where she was also an adjunct professor.
She continues to lecture and teach master classes across the country. Her honors include a Young Achiever Award from the National Council of Women, Outstanding Young Woman of America, and the Dance Magazine Award. While still performing, her interest in journalism led her to Fordham University where she continues to pursue a degree in communications. Her commitment to community service is maintained through volunteer assignments with New York Cares.
This lecture is presented by the Africana Studies Program, American Culture Program, Office of the Dean of the Faculty, Women’s Studies Program, and The Department of Dance, with support from The Jeanne Periolat Czula Endowment and The Jeanne Periolat Czula Fund.