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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. 

Holly Evans, the LJD School’s Managing Director, teaches special workshops at the LJD School and has enjoyed a multi-faceted career in dance as a performer, choreographer, teacher and administrator. During her 10 years as a Radio City Rockette, she danced, served as Assistant Choreographer, and taught and choreographed for the Rockette Experiences and Summer Intensives in various U.S. cities. Holly has performed for several regional ballet, modern and musical theater companies, as well as significant trade and award shows. 

Currently an Adjunct Professor of Dance at Pace University in NYC, Holly served on the faculty of Wagner College, American Musical and Dramatic Academy NYC, Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Arts and was the Ballet Mistress for the esteemed St. Paul's School in New Hampshire. Holly served as the Company Manager for RIOULT, a major dance company in NYC. Holly is passionate about the creative dance education that the LJD School offers. 

Katie Lohiya is originally from Chicago, and has been a member of Lydia Johnson Dance’s professional company for 6 years. She is now a Principal dancer and a Rehearsal Director for the company. She serves as Assistant Director of the LJD Dance Camp and teaches both Introductory Ballet, as well as Contemporary classes. Teaching is major passion for Katie. In addition to the LJD School, Katie is on faculty at NYC's acclaimed The School at Steps on Broadway, as well as The Long Island City School of Ballet and Play Area Association. Katie is a passionate advocate for the creative curriculum she helps to develop at the LJD School and loves to share her knowledge with young dancers and always brings her positive attitude and passion for dancing to the classroom.

Laura Di Orio 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. 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. She is thrilled to be a part of the LJD School, developing creative classes and working with such creative students.

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.