This work was made while in residence at the 92Y Harkness Dance Center, DanceNow Silo, and The Denmarks Arts Center.

Choreographically and conceptually directed by Johnnie Cruise Mercer, Experience:Sanctuary! is a dance theater production that follows the creation (destruction) of a surrealistic (realistic) world with the purpose of micro-observing and testing the colonized mind of the adult human. The stage is destroyed, and a temple is built as the past, the human body/mind, innocence, memory, and self is mentioned, acknowledged, ignored, and then meditated upon. An experiment on instinct, and its relation to both inevitability and change, we (the audience, the artists, and the space) are emotionally dropped into moments of soliloquy, of dialogue, of deep subconscious whispers, of silent troubles, of accustomed sounds, of known events, of unforgettable sights, of stunning visual projections (designed by Visual Designer Torian Ugworji), of breath, of hope, and of what seems to be a familiar yet indefinite end (beginning).

This work will premiere on June 16th-17th at the Center for Performance Research. Ticket info here.


The indigo kid. 

A solo based on personal questioning and exploration of Johnnie Cruise Mercer. 
“As I begin to notice the audience, the people bickering at me, I begin to fall weaker, I begin to fall slowly. I feel like it’s the world against me. How can I fight what is set on paper? How can I set what is set in the dictionary- these definitions- the beginning of why I asked these questions. What was supposed to be an intellectual exploration became an emotional journey about self-awareness and finding my roots and sticking to them. I fall. Out of exhaustion, we all fall. My entire generation. We are pulled. Who are we? What do we do?”


Hell is my sanctuary. 
Work-in-process (created at Chez Bushwick, Inc. residency, to be further developed at 92Y Harkness Dance Center) 

An accumulation of many questions dealing with self, perspective, and the external forces at play. Can we find an escape away from the evils of society? How do we continue to produce idealism in a constant state of reality? Does euphoria actually exist, or is it an imaginary figment created to ignore truths? Where are we safe? Where can we go to truly let go? Do you find truth in darkness or light? 

Directed by Johnnie Cruise Mercer
Choreographed in Collaboration with Company Artists

Excerpted Draft Performance as of part of 2Night Show concluding Chez Bushwick Residency. Center for Performance Research. May 2016. 


[of color] (2015) 

[of color] is a part of a continuous investigation/collaboration with multiple black millennial artists exploring America’s relation to color and its connection to self-identification. Pulling from the constant presence of dual existence within America, the work explores the idea of twoness within the “colored” community and its relation to generational depletion of personal culture. Pushing the limits on what should be said aloud as a black artist, [of color] unapologetically speaks on racial unacceptance, systematic oppression, and what it feels like to realize you are young, trapped, and colored in America. 

Choreographed by Johnnie Cruise Mercer
Lighting Design: Daniel Barbee
Composer: Justin Johnson
Projection Design: Torian Ugworji

Premiered as a part of Center for Performance Research’s Fall Movement 2015.


[red]patient (2014) 

Bombarding the audience unforgivably with quick emotional shifts, and illogical patterns, [red]patient dives head first into the uncomfortable moment of facing the inevitable. Examining the tear between sanity and irrationality, the work follows four entities as they wait patiently for the expected.  

Choreographed by Johnnie Cruise Mercer
Lighting Design: Michael Jarett

This work was first constructed while in residence at Dogtown Dance Theatre for TheREDprojectNYC's first season in Richmond, VA
Premiered within Undoing the Silences: An Evening of Works Inspired by HIV Positive Stories/Experiences at Dogtown Dance Theatre



black (adj.) is an excerpted duet from the work, Pillow Talk: A Conversation Between Lovers. choreographed by Johnnie 'Cruise' Mercer. Pulling from the constant presence of dual existence within America, the work follows the young black voice as it attempts to speak and then confront whiteness. The concept of twoness and its relation to generational depletion of personal culture is thoroughly explored physically and emotionally, providing a glimpse into the schizophrenic state of questioning one’s self and where one belongs.

Choreographed by Johnnie Cruise Mercer
Lighting Design: Michael Jarett

This duet originally premiered as a part of Spoken Movement, presented by Annielille Gavino Kollman/MalayaWorks at Dogtown Dance Theatre.


TheMarathon. (2016) 
TheMarathon. is a movement study inspired by one of five traits of the Africanist Aesthetic- ephebism (a trait associated with the youthfulness and essence of the black body). Personifying the persistence and endurance of the “human” race, the study fully investigates the idea of exhaustion, its relation to human determination, and the physical manifestation of psychological stress (John Henryism). An investigation on emotional and somatic limits, the work drives each artist, and the audience to the brink of senselessness while quick-wittedly correlating the human physique to current political structures and subconscious vulnerability/weakness.

Choreographed by Johnnie Cruise Mercer
Lighting Design: Emma Rivera

Premiered as a part of  BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange’s Upstart Dance Festival 2016. 


Pillow Talk: A Conversation Between Lovers.  (2014) 

Pillow Talk: A Conversation Between Lovers. is a contemporary investigation exploring America’s inconsistent dialogue between the Africanist aesthetic and its Eurocentric counterpart. Comparing America’s racial tension to a pillow talk, the work ties the sensation of frustration to intimacy, relating current social issues to the love/hate relationship of two energies that are deemed inseparable.

Choreographed by Johnnie Cruise Mercer
Lighting Design: Michael Jarett
Projection Design: Torian Ugworji
Set Design: Mark Kollman

Premiered as a part of the Richmond Dance Festival 2015 at Dogtown Dance Theatre 


The Disappearing Act. (2014) 

A work that exposes the choreographer’s innermost subconscious, The Disappearing Act., creates a quick glimpse into Johnnie Cruise Mercer’s private space as he personally tackles the fear of being alone, and losing those dear to him. Jumping emotionally between grief and anxiety, while working towards the sensation of satisfaction, the piece embodies the rapid change in an imbalanced human psyche. The audience is guided into the deep corners of the human mind as the he debates with death, and pleads to an invisible force to regain stability.

Choreographed by Johnnie Cruise Mercer
Lighting Design: Michael Jarett

Premiered as a part of Richmond Dance Festival 2013 at Dogtown Dance Theatre.