Apology to Emily Johnson

The Editors

RealTime apologises unreservedly to Emily Johnson, Artistic Director of Catalyst, for stating incorrectly on 5 December that “currently her collaborators are rarely Indigenous.” Johnson has consistently collaborated with Indigenous artists and peoples alongside non-indigenous participants in a distinguished career.

In the article “Black dance, BlakDance, companies & culture,” the author, Jeremy Eccles, wrote of Johnson, “a Yup’ik woman from Alaska who runs the longstanding Catalyst company” that “What emerges from the [Catalyst] website, though, is that currently, her collaborators are rarely Indigenous, though her work is firmly based in her culture. Is this a model for Australia’s young Indigenous dancemakers?”

This has been corrected to: “What emerges from the [Catalyst] website is that her collaborators are principally but not exclusively Indigenous, and her work is firmly based in her culture. Is this a model for Australia’s young Indigenous dancemakers?”

In an email to RealTime, Emily Johnson had responded to the writer’s assertion that “her collaborators are rarely Indigenous,” stating “First, the statement is absolutely not true. Since The Thank-you Bar in 2009, every single one of my works have engaged collaborations with many Indigenous artists from many disciplines, globally. Second, I am not sure from where in my website he would glean that my collaborators are rarely Indigenous. Third, if he has a question, why not reach out to me? I am available on email and also here in Australia since October. Fourth, a fairly quick bit of research would lead him to a multitude of articles and works that define in different ways what I do — which is ALWAYS in relation and collaboration with Indigenous people.”

Noting that “While it is true that not all of my collaborators are Indigenous — so are not all of my family,” Emily Johnson detailed in her email to us her extensive collaborations with First Nations peoples in the US and around the world, including Australia. These can be found on the Catalyst website.

She concluded that her main concern is that to write my “working rarely with Indigenous collaborators” should be the model for younger Australian choreographers is violent, hurtful and plainly incorrect. It is detrimental to me and also to young choreographers and your readership who might possibly entertain the at the least incorrect and at possibly the most racist idea that working outside of community or in blatant disregard to Indigenous artists, collaborators and knowledge is somehow beneficial to one’s career. This is in fact what makes me most angry about what your writer wrote.”

RealTime’s Managing Editors — and a “totally apologetic” Jeremy Eccles — deeply regret the distress caused Emily Johnson by the inaccuracy of the article.


Keith Gallasch, Virginia Baxter

Managing Editors, RealTime

21 December 2018