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LYDIA JOHNSON Artistic Director, Lydia Johnson Dance Company and School

Ms. Johnson’s work as an acclaimed choreographer led her to found a not-for-profit school designed to inspire dance students to create their own dances. At the LJD School, every child is a dance maker! Feeling that commercial dance education does not engage the creative energy of children drawn to dance, Ms. Johnson has developed a totally unique curriculum that allows young dancers to explore choreography in depth, at the same time that they are advancing technically. The School brings teaching artists from her professional company in NYC, and this link between the School and the Company dancers, who live and work in New York City, is an integral part of the LJD School experience. Ms. Johnson’s mission at the School is to create an atmosphere of warmth, non-competitive collaboration, thoughtfulness and creative enthusiasm.

Originally from Massachusetts, Ms. Johnson began her dance training in Boston, and continued in New York City on scholarship at The Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. She has received a Monticello Foundation award from The National Association of Regional Ballet, a Harkness Dance Center Space Grant and, in 2014, an Individual Artist Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Ms. Johnson’s choreography has been critically acclaimed in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Oberon’s Grove, Dance View Times and others. 

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Laura Di Orio ( here with her daughter Fiona) is originally from Pennsylvania, and has been a member of Lydia Johnson Dance's professional company for 10 years. She is now a Principal Dancer with the company and also serves as Company Manager and a Rehearsal Director. In addition she is the Managing Director of the LJD School. She teaches ballet to all ages, from Introductory Ballet to Ballet III. In addition to the LJD School, Laura has taught at the Alvin Ailey Extension, Peridance Capezio Center, Broadway Dance Center, Studio E and the School of the Staten Island Ballet.


Laura loves sharing her knowledge with young dancers, as well as the joy and passion that comes with dancing. Laura's classes are full of warmth , joy and the skill building. She is full of inventive ideas for her classes and deeply supportive. Laura is thrilled to be a part of the LJD School, developing creative classes and working with such creative students.

Emily Sarkissian teaches Ballet for Everyone and Dance for Fitness for The LJD School.  Emily is a  member of Lydia Johnson Dance where she has originated roles in pieces including the recently acclaimed "Clearing"  and "For Eli". Emily is an experienced dance teacher with a depth of knowledge that is unusual. Her warmth and humor make studying with her a true joy!  Emily's enthusiasm and love of dance are clear in every session! Her bio is coming soon. 

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Amanda Egan teaches our Modern/Contemporary 1,2 and 3 as well as working with Lydia with The Student Company on their choreography! A member of the LJD Professional company Amanda has been in the original casts of recent pieces such as "Clearing" and "For Eli". A vibrant and energetic teacher with a deep love for teaching children and teens Amanda's classes are outstanding in their clear curriculum as well as keeping the joy of dancing in the forefront at all times!

Amanda's full bio is coming soon. 


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Every class at the LJD School has an intern or assistant teacher as well as the main instructor. Our class assistants are often dance students from local high schools who are interning with LJD. We choose teens who love children and who are responsive and warm! Our young dancers come to love the assistants in their classes. 

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