20 Questions With Ballet Black’s Damien Johnson

Ballet Black's Damien Johnson. Photo: The Ballet Bag ©

Here is an extract of our latest guest post for Dance Pulp, an interview with Ballet Black’s Damien Johnson. In case you didn’t know, Dance Pulp has just kicked off its Season 2 and the site is now updated with new video interviews and other dance goodies. We recommend you drop by for a visit.

Damien Johnson is a dancer with Ballet Black in London. As the longest serving member of Ballet Black, Damien has been featured in many Company works by choreographers that include Irek Mukhamedov, Antonia Franceschi, Liam Scarlett, Richard Alston and Bawren Tavaziva.

1. What is your breakfast of choice?
“I pretty much have the same thing everyday, I have porridge and a banana, plus I drink an espresso.”

2. What is your pre-performance ritual?
“Usually I get my iPod – I use NY teacher Willie Berman’s ballet music CD – I give myself a barre again.. then just get in that corner, stretch, get everything together and warm up. I usually do another barre an hour before when all is ready… with the make up on and everything.”

3. Last passport stamp?

4. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Where do you see dance in 10 years?
“In 10 years I don’t know if I’ll still be dancing but hopefully I’ll be teaching. I teach once a week for Ballet Black’s associate program and I enjoy it a lot. As for dance, it just keeps evolving… I’m sure the younger generation will have higher legs and be doing more pirouettes.”

5. What gives you inspiration?
“A lot of the music that we dance to gives me inspiration. Classical music in general. Mozart is my absolute favorite.”

6. What are your biggest vices or indulgences?
“Red wine and a hot bath. Together!”

7. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?
“Trying to be constantly improving, staying fresh… not just hitting a rut. To keep going is always a challenge but doing things outside of the studio like Pilates and Gyrotonics help keep you in the studio for longer.”


Read the full interview at Dance Pulp.

We started The Ballet Bag in April 2009 with the mission to prove that ballet is not stuffy, old fashioned and inaccessible; that it is quite the opposite: relevant, fresh and topical. With the aim to Give Ballet a New Spin we try to show it under a different light. When writing our capsule biographies, ballet fact cards, review roundups and commentary on social media, we cross it over with other art forms and cultural references (pop culture, cinema, rock music – ie. other things we love!).