Written & Directed by:  Nicholas Johnson School of Music and School of Performance Arts Dance Program presents Dante's Nightmares & Dreams
Music Director:    Timothy Shade
Choreographer:  Regina Klenjoski
Costume Design:         Renea Goforth
Set Design:    Jason Flandors
 Film Director:      Nicholas Johnson
Director of Photographer/Editor:  Curt Rierson
Film Producer:  Greg Matthias/ Media resource Center
 Raw Film Footage: Classic Images Stock Footage LLC
Art Photography:   Dr. Robert Baldwin

Project Description:

Dante’s Nightmares and Dreams is a multidisciplinary collaboration between the WSU Dance Program, the WSU Wind Ensemble and the WSU Media Resource Center. Dance, live music and film will weave a story about Dante’s descent into hell, an adaptation of The Inferno that takes place in Dante’s mind, a person tortured by dreams of man’s inhumanity to man, a historical look at some of history’s darkest moments. Dante, with the help of his muse, gathers the strength to dispel the darkness in his mind, overcome his fear and solitude, and ascend to a place that celebrates the human spirit defined by ingenuity, innovation and creative potential.

Artist Note:

The theme of this performance resonates deeply today. There is a large segment of the public that is experiencing fear and isolation as a response to present current events. The work is not intended to specifically reference any political position and chooses not to reference present day politics. The work instead first demonstrates the irrationality of man’s decisions to diminish the human condition, to obstruct freedoms, to destroy life itself. The work then reminds us that there are creative impulses that have moved us forward through invention, creative endeavor and the enhancement of the human condition. Dante is steered by his muse to acknowledge activities that bring light and hope rather than succumbing to a dark history that leaves a trail of sadness, futility and desperation. In a sense, the work is a warning to remember the past or be doomed to repeat it.

THANATOS/Dante’s Descent into Hell - Film portion of first half of Dante's Nightmares and Dreams. Film made with Wichita State University's Media Resource Center. Written and Directed by Nick Johnson and created by Director of Photography/Editor: Curt Rierson.

EROS/Dante’s Ascent to a State of Grace - Second film portion of Dante's Ascent from the production. Film made with Wichita State University's Media Resource Center. Written and Directed by Nick Johnson and created by Director of Photography/Editor: Curt Rierson.

An American Enigma - A documentary of the School for Mimes, 1990, referred to as a “Decade of Silence”

In 1980, driven by passion, courage, talent and the will to create a place for Mime Theatre in the performing arts arena, Gregg Goldston created the School for Mimes at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. This summer residency program would occur from 2-6 weeks as the school evolved, and continued for 25 years The school maintains a summer presence in Mt. Vernon, Ohio, working with young people even today. Founded by Gregg Goldston, Nick Johnson, and Deborah Wasserman, the school attracted a plethora of talented individuals who became faculty and working professionals in the field. The school, although not the only mime school in the United States, was credited with contributing to the creation of "the first generation of American mimes". This documentary was filmed in 1990 after a decade of teaching. During this era and following summers, numerous guest teacher residencies with Marcel Marceau and Stefan Niedzialkowski helped students develop their voice as American mimes by providing powerful professional training and a strong foundation in classical mime. The school became a creative process that would transform all the artists who participated in the experience, launching numerous careers, impacting performing artists from around the globe.
The school was "An American Enigma".

The Making of Brave New World - Wichita State University’s School of Performing Arts Dance Program is producing an original experimental dance theater event written and directed by Nicholas Johnson, director of dance.

"Brave New World," was inspired by the 1932 novel from English writer and philosopher Aldous Huxley, “Brave New World” examines what happens to a conformist society when it is confronted by the behavior of an outcast individualist. The performance is a collision of two worlds, pitting a highly structured, passionless society against a new vision brought by a visit from beings outside their social context. Wild, free and curious, these others immerse themselves in the new world, but discover they can never fit.

“Brave New World” is designed to break the conventional boundaries of theater-based performance. Locations for the event was staged at four venues around campus, starting at the Heskett Center pool, moving to outside Hubbard Hall, then inside the Rhatigan Student Center, near the food court, and then on to Shocker Courtyard, outside Shocker Hall.

Take a look at what went into making this multi-disciplinary event a reality.

School of Performing Arts Dance Program Promo:

Wichita State University dance class

Club Soda dance theatre and film work

Club Soda - A dance/theatre/film work created by Rachel Boyajian and Nicholas Johnson for Wichita State University Spring Dance Concert. This is the film element.

Brave New World (90 second spot) - "Brave New World is an original experimental dance theatre production written, directed and produced by Nicholas Johnson and the School of Performing Arts Dance Program. The audience will rotate in sequence through four locations, Heskett Pool, outside Hubbard Hall, Rhatigan Center, Shocker Courtyard and back to conclude in the pool. This experimental work of physical theatre will, similar to the book by Aldous Huxley, examine the the effects of a conformist society when confronted by the behavior of an outcast individualist. The work is conceived and directed by Nicholas Johnson, Director of Dance and includes choreography from Denise Celestin, Sabrina Vasquez and Cheyla Chandler. The event is not only designed to stretch the conventional theatrical boundaries of theater-based performance but also create an event that breaks these boundaries while including the WSU campus as an entire, single, social, organic entity. The event is multi-disciplinary to the extent that technology, videography, dance, theatre and physical theatre create an extended moment that shifts audience perception towards self-reflection and hopefully new concepts of external and internal space."

Brave New World – Alpha, opening film segment in pool

Brave New World – Omega, closing film segment in pool

Program credits:
an interpretation of the book by Aldous Huxley
CHOREOGRAPHY: Denise Celestin, Cheyla Chandler,
Sabrina Vasquez, Nick Johnson
Aleks Sternfeld-Dunn
Chris Reichmeier
“The Voices” - Samuel Ramey, Sabrina Vasquez
SET DESIGN: Daniel Williams
STAGE MANAGER: Maddie Nevins
VIDEOGRAPHY: Greg Matthias, Kurt Rierson,
Garrick Enright

Heskett Center Pool
Created by:
 Nick Johnson
Music Composition: Aleks Sternfeld-Dunn
Performers: Rita Aronstein, Kristen Bock, Venise Razu, Kristina
Richie, Sammy Sporleder, Liz Jarmer, Lauren Scmidt, Madi White,
Alyssandra Bevilacqua, Kaitlyn Moushey, Naaman Williams, Alex
Castenada, Kyle Dilley, Noah Montgomery, Jarod Lambert, Terren
Thompson, Aaron Craven, Heather Eilerts, Yee-Mei Wong, Angela
Johnsen, Devin Roberts, Patrick Dawson, Steven Chrapkowski

Shocker hall Courtyard
Created by: Denise Celestin
Music Composition: Cliff Martinez
Performers: Emily Schulze (Outlander), Makayla
Evans, Brooke Johnston, Kaitlyn Powers, Maddie Robison, Hannah
Wagner, Cara Wedeking, Donnie Chauncey, Gavin Myers,
Remmington Phillips

Rhatigan Student Center
Created by: Cheyla Chandler
Music Composition: Zoe Keating
Performers: Renee Huber (Outlander), Erika Black, Ashley Justice,
Hunter Jones, Kelsey Stoecklein
Haleigh Kierl, Alyssa Gaede, Max Mayerle, Deiondre Teagle,
Da’Merius Ford

Outside Hubbard Hall
Created by: Sabrina Vasquez
Music Composition: Chris Reichmeier, Cliff Martinez
Performers: Casey Bagnall (Outlander), Ashley Binder, Hattie-Joe
Cauwels, Gabriella Discher, Molly Flavin,
Angelica Griggs, Rachel Kimmich, Paige Kliewer - McClellan, Anne
Marie Lyall, Charlsie McElheny, Taylor Phipps, Makayla Williams,
Jabrea Strickland, Kylee Tucker, Hayli Vogelman

Heskett Center Pool
Created by:
 Nick Johnson
Music Composition: Aleks Sternfeld-Dunn
Guides: Zoe Johnson, Cameron Vance,
Independent Information Pods: Madeleine White, Zach Frazier,
Patrick Dawson, Sonya Burns
Additional Cast: Jeanne Saunders, Tiffany Roberts, Amy Pollard,
Phebie Locure, Shannon Grillot, Lanier Roberts

Seg way excerpts from stage performance (multi-disciplinary theatre performance combining film with mime, dance and original) music:
Conceived and directed by: Nicholas Johnson
Director of Photography: Michael Rae
Original Music Composition by: Gary Boggess
Produced by: Azanne Productions, Inc.

"i believe in as many as six impossible things before breakfast"- Seg way closing piece

"Dream Requiem"- Seg way closing piece

Chaos Theory- dance choreography by Nicholas Johnson commissioned and performed by the James Madison Dance Program performing company.

Feast - Working with Charlotte Boye-Christensen during her creation of Feast was innovation at its best. This multidisciplinary experience involved the percussion program, the entire dance program and her own, NOW company dancers. Billed as a 'banquet for the senses", Feast exemplified the meaning of contemporary performance. The process was organic, intelligent and exhilarating. The dancers performed their personal best, inspired by the work, the collaboration and the professionalism of sharing the stage with the NOW dancers, themselves extraordinary artists. Charlotte approaches choreography with a specific voice she has developed during her career. Invention, originality and current are the descriptions of her process that immediately come to mind. Collaboration was easy, patient and visionary. We all grew from this remarkable 'dinner date' and look forward to a repeat effort in our near future.

Created By:  Nicholas Johnson
Produced by:  Greg Matthias and the WSU Media Resource Center
Director of Photography: Lonnie Quattlebaum

When Don Met Shirley- Johnson was asked by Dr Ron Kopita, Vice-President of Student Affairs, to ‘roast’ Wichita State University President Don Beggs for a Diabetes Foundation Fundraiser. This is the film segment, performers entered and exited the film during the presentation, which explains the pauses in action on this video.

Freefall - before the snowboard there was the ‘snurfer’. Johnson and friends film themselves testing the limits of speed going downhill at Alta, Utah, 1975.

Buffalo Blue Jeans - Johnson was asked to be an actor in a French commercial in the Bahamas for Buffalo Blue Jeans. Accompanied by brother, Alexander Johnson, and actress Denise, the concept was inspired by the film, Cool Hand Luke with Paul Newman.

Alithea Mime Theatre – Company Performance Highlights.

Alithea Mime Theatre – The show is designed to highlight the Dance Program, the Wiyos, and the creative talents of Lonny Quattlebaum and Greg Mathias of the WSU Media Resource Center. The writing is a philosophical inquiry disguised as a traditional and familiar journey, an icon celebrated with a vague reference to the celebrated story of Oz.

The Wiyos of Oz is a story about the coming of age of Dorothy, from girl-child to woman. Her process of self-actualization is a journey into the Self (film/Oz). Her pursuit of passion is the discovery of her body. ‘Dance’ is this vehicle. There is a connection between sensuality/physical exploration, a careful line we tread here. Her discovery of her voice is the solo dance she learns during the show. Oz is her lover, mentor, father, teacher, guide.

All of Oz are aspects of her own mind, her ‘selves’. The journey is her discovering her-self.... that she is ‘home’....

The Wiyos of Oz was a multidisciplinary project with video, dance, and the original live music of the Wiyos loosely based on the original story.

View the Program